William Shawcross is the author of several books on Cambodia. (December 1996)

The Cambodian Tragedy, Cont’d

During a visit to Phnom Penh after my article on Cambodia appeared in these pages,[^*] the country seemed more perplexing than ever. The press there expresses all sorts of opinions, and is usually free to criticize the government, but not without terrible risks—editors have been physically threatened for their dissenting …

Tragedy in Cambodia

As each year—and each day—passes Cambodia seems more perplexing. The King, Norodom Sihanouk, has twice been crowned but now has little power; still, he maintains the aura of kingship and most Cambodians would feel that something terrible had happened if he abdicated or died. The country has two prime ministers …

A Hero of Our Time

Fred Cuny set out from his hotel room in Ingushetia last April, leaving on the table by his bed a copy of John le Carré’s newest thriller, Our Game, whose main character, Larry Pettifer, has dedicated himself to defending the Ingush people against their Russian attackers; he then disappears. Cuny …

A New Cambodia

The subject of David Chandler’s excellent and absorbing biography is, one may suppose, even now, in his secret headquarters in western Cambodia or in the carefully guarded house provided him by the Thai military inside Thailand, contemplating how the Khmer Rouge should now react to its disastrous defeat in the …

The Boat People in Peril

The Vietnamese boat people in Hong Kong are living in appalling conditions. Some are locked in cages in vast hangars. Others have been dumped on islands with no facilities. Most have no hope of resettlement. They know this before they leave Vietnam. Yet they have still been coming in thousands, …

Shah’s Legacy

The Duke of Wellington observed, “Persia has been much exposed to authors.” During the nine years since the Iranian revolution, over one hundred new books on Iran have been published in English alone and there are hundreds more in French, Iranian, and other languages. Not all of them are reliable.

The Burial of Cambodia

When I was in Cambodia in 1980, I told my guide that I wanted to see Tuol Sleng. This was the former Phnom Penh high school that the Khmer Rouge had converted into a prison and interrogation center and the Vietnamese had now made into a museum. He told me …

In a Grim Country

Vietnam is one of the poorest countries in the world. Many of its people are badly nourished; some, particularly children, are starving to death. Vietnam is also one of the world’s largest military powers. It maintains an army of over one million troops, a quarter of them stationed abroad—200,000 in …

The Return of the Khmer Rouge

The pain of Cambodia is as intense as ever. Food sent from foreign countries to the authorities in Phnom Penh has not been reaching hungry Cambodians. They are threatened by another famine this summer. Food sent across the border from Thailand has been reaching Cambodians. But it has also been …

The End of Cambodia?

If what is left of Cambodia is to be saved, an international conference must take place soon. Like the Geneva Conference of 1954 it would have to agree on the neutralization of Cambodia as part of a regional settlement endorsed by the great powers, including Russia and China, for all …

Sihanouk’s Case

Just before he went into a New York hospital suffering from exhaustion, I spoke to Prince Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia about the last ten years in his country’s history. Talking about the 1960s, when he managed to keep the Vietnamese war from spilling far across Cambodia’s frontiers, Sihanouk said, In …

The Third Indochina War

Two years ago I suggested that it was possible to see Cambodia only through the prism of propaganda.[^1] Since then the volume of the propaganda has swelled. But so has the body of evidence on which it is based. Consider the following letter published in the Vietnamese paper Nhan Dan …

The Precarious Country

The Belgrade-Bar railway took one hundred years to plan and build. It now joins Serbia to the Adriatic, and clings to the mountains of Montenegro like a tendril. On the night train up from Bar, I was awakened early in the morning by a hand shaking my shoulder; when I …

How Tyranny Returned to Thailand

Dr. Puey Ungpakorn is one of Thailand’s most distinguished economists and, until the military coup of October 6, was rector of Thammasat University in Bangkok. He himself narrowly escaped death at the hands of a right-wing lynch mob and managed to get on a plane to London, where I talked …

Cambodia Under Its New Rulers

Now, perhaps more than ever, the lives of Cambodians are seen from a great distance or through the prism of propaganda: as a starving people policed by crazed and vengeful warders, or as a liberated peasantry happily rediscovering the land from which war had torn it. Henry Kissinger has announced …

A Whiter Wash

Mr. White’s book will probably have more influence on popular thinking about Watergate than any other to be published. Much of it has already appeared in the Reader’s Digest (US circulation: 17.8 million); it is a Book of the Month Club choice, 300,000 copies are “in print,” and such is …

Another CIA Plot?

Noel Field was an amiable and naïve fellow-traveler who, while working with the OSS during World War II, made friends with a number of communists who later became leaders in Eastern Europe. In 1949 he was lured to Prague by the Czechoslovak authorities and arrested. His wife Herta, his brother …

How Thieu Hangs On

Outside the home of Mrs. Ngo Ba Thanh, behind the now near-empty Hotel Continentale, half a dozen motorcycle policemen sprawl across their machines. Mrs. Thanh is an indomitable proponent of the “Third Force” solution to Vietnam’s problems and periodically one of those political prisoners of President Thieu whose existence the …