1st Essay Sample on Cambodia
“The worst blow fell in 1975, when the Khmer Rouge (red Khmer) guerrillas under the leadership of Pol Pot overthrew the Khmer Republic and established Democratic Kampuchea.” The Khmer Rouge were, at least partially, a reaction to the loss of political power and the social disorder brought on by the regional wars of the 1960s and 1970s, as well as an extreme and localized response to the growing question of Khmer identity in a region dominated and fought over by world powers. Shortly after its independence in 1954, Cambodia felt the pull of the superpowers. The U.S., China, and Vietnam already had significant interests in the country, but Sihanouk, Cambodia’s king, maintained control and declared neutrality. China was one of thefirst countries to send military aid in 1963. China supported Sihanouk publicly throughout his reign as king and president, but radical parties in the government supported the inner circle of the Communist Party of Kampuchea.
From the 1950s to the mid 1960s, Cambodia prospered. Modernization, development, and substantial foreign aid flowed in under Sihanouk’s rule. As in the past, this success was dependent on the behavior of Cambodia’s neighbors and on the policies of more powerful nations. Cambodia was neutral for as long as it served the interests of other states. From the mid 1960s, Cambodia became more and more entangled in the regional war.
By the early 1970s, as the Khmer Rouge gained strength and control over vast areas of the countryside, the war absorbed Cambodia. Though global factors clearly transformed Cambodia against its will after the 1960s, internal conditions set the stage for the results that followed. These conditions include Khmer cultural factors, the history of nationalism and racism, peasant culture, and the effects of economic development in a global economy. Khmer culture tends toward respect and fear of authority.
2nd Essay Sample on Cambodia
The Impact of the Past on the Present Cambodia, then, like so many other nations in the developing world, is an agricultural country, and, in terms of the cash incomes of its people, desperately poor. In the past, Cambodia was able to earn foreign exchange to pay for imported goods by selling agricultural surpluses-of rice and corn, for example-or plant crops, such as pepper, rubber, and cotton.Its normal patterns of trade were broken up in the wars of the 1970’s.When the fighting died down, Cambodian trade became lively again, but more informal, which benefited many individual traders but deprived the government of money it needed to pay for essential services, like electricity, schools, water, and highways.There was some question at the end of the 1980’s if Cambodia would ever be able to trade its way back into the kind of prosperity that it had enjoyed in earlier times. Of course, the word “prosperity” is a relative one.Even in the peaceful 1960’s, Cambodia was one of the poorest countries in eastern Asia, at least in terms of individual income.It is hard for even a relatively poor Westerner to imagine just how poor-in terms of cash, choices about the future, and possessions-a Cambodian farmer or unskilled laborer has always been, or what an annual income of less than the equivalent of two hundred dollars means in terms of the everyday life of farmers and their families.In nearly all Cambodian families, everyone works hard to grow the food and earn the money needed to survive.Even so, by international standards most Cambodians are very poor. Being poor in Cambodia means eating less than a pound of meat a month, and a family’s earning less than six hundred dollars from a rice crop that has occupied most of its labor, intensively, for the equivalent of three months.For most Cambodians, there is a little question of new clothes, gadgets, or vacations.