With all the uproar of Cambodia deciding to dance with the Convicted fugitive Thaksin Shinawatra, the start of the fallout for Cambodia is just being realized. By signing on with Thaksin, they have now caused a distasteful gaze from every country that has rejected Thaksin an entry visa, and at last count that is most of them.
At the moment much of this ludicrous display by Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen is being driven by loss of face. It becomes nearly impossible to do anything else except impale himself deeper in this mess he has caused. His style of politics often invokes patriotism to flock the masses behind him come election day, and now he must do the same to try to save face. However that formula may prove to be toxic considering the fragile issues that involves The Preah Vihear Temple and the border dispute.
Many people still feel the Temple was given as a gift by Thaksin through his crony Noppadon Pattama who was Foreign Minister at the time. The fact that Noppadon was the spokesman for Thaksin and he came out and tried to say this is anger over nothing, had the psychological effect of strengthening that link that Thaksin gave Cambodia The Preah Vihear Temple. At the very least this was a bad tactical move By Thaksin to have Noppadon make the statement. The thinking now can quickly lead to Thaksin planning ahead to get this leverage in Cambodia.
Most of the fallout Cambodia will get will likely never make it to the media. They would be along the lines of various considerations, treaties and business ventures. Business men of the west have already learned to steer well clear of Thaksin as it only invites unwanted scrutiny of their business. As a result the sting for Cambodia will be felt behind closed doors. Any deal or agreement that is made most certainly will not be a sweet because of Thaksin’s involvement.
Another fallout that not only hurts Cambodia is how the ASEAN group is now seen. They most certainly want to court the west and US President Obama wants to explore possibilities. But with Cambodia teaming up with a convicted criminal fugitive, it places the ASEAN group in a much dimmer light and most certainly will hurt. The west prefers to have dealings with people and countries who respect western ethics and business practices. Thaksin is the complete opposite and now makes Cambodia look that way.
In the long run this will produce more negatives than positives for Cambodia. Thaksin will lecture Cambodia on how to get around laws and manipulate situations. None of that even gets off the ground when it comes to the west and completely trashes the level of respect Cambodia will get. If Cambodia wants to play in the big leagues of the west, they must play by their rules and not by Thaksin’s. It is the only way to show the type of face the west respects.