Some in western quarters have voiced concerns over the possible dynastic succession in Cambodia, but they should know two things, firstly it will almost certainly happen and secondly it is not necessarily a bad thing.
Who is Hun Manet and will he be the next leader of Cambodia?
Hun Manet is the eldest son of Hun Sen, as well as the commander of Royal Cambodian Army since 2018 and head of the Premier’s personal safety. Rumors of him ascending to throne go back a long way, but in the last few years have all but been confirmed by not only his father, but also other senior politicians.
What are the west so against dynastic succession in Cambodia?
Quite simply because Cambodia is seen as too close to China, not compliant enough with the United States and thus dynastic succession and democracy are easy sticks to bash noncompliant countries with.
To read if Cambodia is a one party state click here (link to https://www.democratickampuchea.com/is-cambodia-a-one-party-state/).
Most of this criticism is born from the wrong assumption that Cambodia is a one party state, but has also drifted into the frankly absurd. Rumors have lounge persisted that Hun Sen has claimed some kind of Kimjongilesque miraculous brith for his son, but in actuality the story is rather tame and barely worth mentioning.
These two sticks are also used by the opposition, who largely consist of US backed Anti-Vietnamese zealots who use it so sow discord.
Why we should not fear dynastic succession in Cambodia
Cambodia whilst flawed in some ways is a functioning open democracy with a robust growing economy. This success has been largely attributed to Hun Sen and the CPP. It has also led to the longest period of peace in the country for quite literally centuries.
Cambodian’s appreciate stability above all else and a ruling party who serve the people, as well as planned succession are very much parts of this.
Not everyone is looking for western style democracy
And this is the salient point many in the west do not understand. Many nations of the east do not look to the United States as their benchmark, but other countries within Asia.
Singapore is probably the best example of this, a string government which of course had dynastic succession. Singapore is not a democracy by westerns standards, but bloody hell does it work.
And on the note the stability of countries such as China, Vietnam and Laos are also not ignored. String governments whilst not always as open as many would like do provide the stability to build a country, something the developing peoples of the world value far more than a popularity contest every four years.
The west should also be careful to avoid hypocrisy here. America went Bush-Clinton-Clinton-Bush-Bush-Obama-OBama, before almost voting in either another Clinton, or another Bush. And in Britain of course where going to a particular school directly raises your chances for getting the top job.
These hypocrisies have even spread to Asia, where US ally and son of a a dictator Bongbong Marcos is now leading the Philippines.
So, yes dynastic succession will take place in Cambodia and we fully expect Hun Manet to get the job. We can but only hope that his is as successful as his father in bringing the Kingdom back onto the world stage, on their terms.
To read about Eastern Angle click here.