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Death of Noradom Sihanouk

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  • Death of Noradom Sihanouk

    Interesting to note the passing of one of the influential characters in the Indochina conflict. He is an interesting character, set up by the French as a puppet however he certainly had ideas of becoming a major player in the area. It is hard to put a final judgement on him, it seems like a case of the best of intentions getting the worst of results.

    He certainly believed in his own destiny as an autocratic leader of his little country, trying to set a middle course through the conflict. I am not sure if the Kmher Rouge would have risen without him, but he did open the door to them in an effort to try and topple Lon Nol. He certainly used any means necessary and took on anyone (North Korea and Red China, and later on he even had some support from the Reagan white House) as an ally to help further his cause of maintaining personal power in his country.

    Neil Davis, the accomplished Asustralian War cinematographer, certainly backs up the general view that he was a master charmer, full of charisma and political manouverings.

    http://www.economist.com/news/obitua...r-15th-aged-89


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norodom_Sihanouk
    One accurate measurement is worth a thousand expert opinions - Admiral Grace Hopper

    "The eunuch should not take pride in his chastity."
    Wu Cheng'en Monkey

  • #2
    He was a political opportunist and maneuverer. I am not so sure he always looked to take a middle road. I think he always took the road that was best for him. He would make a pact with the devil if he thought it would keep him in power, and he did. For what was the khmer Rouge if not the devil incarnate?

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    • #3
      Too true, he must have thought that he could keep them in a box, use them to destabilise the Lon Nol regieme, and then destroy them. A fatal underestimation of the brutality and ruthlessness of the Kmher Rouge.

      To me the question is would the Kmher Rouge have risen without his support? If so then if there was any justice he should have died in the killing fields rather than lived out a life drifting from one protector to another.

      In the end he was a typical Royal autocrat, putting himeself first any everyone and everything second. Hardly deserving of a place in the Pantheon of gthe great and the good.
      One accurate measurement is worth a thousand expert opinions - Admiral Grace Hopper

      "The eunuch should not take pride in his chastity."
      Wu Cheng'en Monkey

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      • #4
        To say that the French "set him up in power" misses an important point. The French would have preferred Crown Prince Sisowath Monireth, who instead became Sihanouk's Minister of Defense in 1946. Cambodia was a Protectorate, not a colony, and apparently that gave the Cambodian royal family some room for Machiavellian maneuvering. Contrary to the graphic novel vision of French colonialism, Cambodian politicians were not powerless. Lon Nol was long a leader within the coalition that kept Sihanouk in power. There are various theories for their split, but have no doubt that all Cambodian factions were 100% anti-Vietnamese. And to keep their country from being swallowed up by Vietnam, they would have allied themselves with anyone, to include Vietnamese factions that appeared willing to respect Cambodia's independence.

        He wasn't an opportunist as much as a log driver, jumping from log to log to keep the log jam moving down river. One slip, and "squish" burble burble.
        dit: Lirelou

        Phong trần mài một lưỡi gươm, Những loài giá áo túi cơm sá ǵ!

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