Prior to the very recent uprising between Cambodia and Thailand over Thaksin Shinawatra, it was a bit of a toss about Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen. But now seeing that he appears to be ignoring his own Constitution to make political attacks in Thailand as well as ignoring international standards pertaining to extradition, it is now obvious he prefers the shadows to the light.
Call it part of the dance with the devil and you would be correct. Hun Sen has simply placed himself on the spot by his very open affection to a convicted fugitive. This will ultimately have a negative effect on his political future. There are already pro and anti Thaksin positions being taken in Cambodia not by Thais, but by Cambodians.
The Cambodians that will be the most effected make a living with border trade with Thailand. If the result is the border closing with Thailand, ultimately they will place the blame on Thaksin first and Hun Sen second as partners in crime. From there it will spread like cancer as second and third tier Cambodians feel the financial sting from the closed Thailand border.
It does not stop there, other countries have taken note when both Cambodia and Thailand withdrew Ambassadors from each others countries. This will have an negative effect on Asean and other bodies that Cambodia is part of. This has clearly gone past a border dispute and now involves trade with other countries. Before considering extending any new liabilities to Cambodia careful scrutiny will be observed particularly with displays of disregard to international standards (extradition).
Thaksin Shinawatra has single handedly downgraded Cambodia in the eyes of the rest of the world. As other mainstream media has reported, it is a high price to pay for friendship with Thaksin. As this is all going on with US President Obama visiting the region and rubbing shoulders with leaders of Asia, there is no doubt the US as well as the rest of the west is looking carefully at Hun Sen in a less favorable light. Thaksin has removed any benefit of the doubt where Hun Sen stands.
Unfortunately as it is, even if Thaksin was arrested and sent to jail to serve his time, the stain on Hun Sen would remain. The Cambodian people will not soon forget this nor other countries that may do trade with Cambodia.
The fallout Hun Sen will have is far from over, for that fact it has not even reached its peek. Depending on what happens over the next several weeks with Thailand and other countries will provide some timetable for that. However the permanent outcome is Hun Sem and Thaksin will be connected as long as both men remain politically active. Knowing Thaksin, that will be until he dies, and that will hinder Cambodia’s advancement in the west.
The end result is even when Hun Sen finally realizes that Thaksin has used him as a pawn at cost of his political carrier, it will be to late to und the damage unless he can produce gold from a toilet bowl.