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Cambodia’s Opposition Concerned About a Possible Trump Presidency


Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally Saturday, March 19, 2016, in Tucson, Arizona.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally Saturday, March 19, 2016, in Tucson, Arizona.

Son Chhay told VOA Khmer that he believed a “boastful” and “aggressive” leader like Trump could lead the U.S. into disastrous foreign policy decisions.

After Prime Minister Hun Sen poked fun last week at the ongoing chaos of the U.S. elections, a senior opposition figure has said he is concerned about the possibility of Donald Trump winning the Republican nomination and becoming president.

Cambodia National Rescue Party chief whip Son Chhay told VOA Khmer that he believed a “boastful” and “aggressive” leader like Trump could lead the U.S. into disastrous foreign policy decisions.

Son Chhay drew a specific comparison between Trump and the late U.S. President Richard Nixon, also a member of the Republican party, who in the late 1960s ordered the secret bombing of Cambodia, as America’s war in neighboring Vietnam spilled over the border. The bombing campaign devastated parts of the country and helped precipitate the horrors of the Khmer Rouge era.

“The Republicans are those who do not want to talk much—they often use force,” said Son Chhay. “As we know and we’ve seen in Cambodia during the Vietnam and Indochina wars, when President Nixon from the Republican party used force and bombed [us].”

Cambodian National Rescue Party lawmaker Son Chhay accepts petition from some 300 demonstrators preventing the passage of a controversial draft NGO law in front of the National Assembly on June 23, 2015. (Neou Vannarin/VOA Khmer)

Cambodian National Rescue Party lawmaker Son Chhay accepts petition from some 300 demonstrators preventing the passage of a controversial draft NGO law in front of the National Assembly on June 23, 2015. (Neou Vannarin/VOA Khmer)

Trump is leading the field in the race for the Republican nomination. He has declared that he wants to build a large wall on the U.S.-Mexican border, and said he would bar Muslims from entering the country as a way of preventing terrorism.

The politically incorrect content of his speeches has concerned observers, including many Republicans, but appears to be popular among a constituency of voters.

“I’ve seen people like Trump. He is a boastful person and an aggressive person,” Son Chhay said. “This kind of boastful and aggressive person could bring harm to not only the U.S., but also to the world, since we know that the U.S is the most powerful country in the world.”

“Even China, which has a lot of money and a variety of modern military weapons, could not face the U.S,” he added. “If Trump is elected, he will cause chaos not only in his country but also in the world. [His] violence and threats to others could cause, as I said, insecurity in the world.”

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