Friday, July 30, 2010

Things Few People Know About

Did you know that the U.S. just completed its first-ever military exercise with Cambodia?
The recently completed US-Cambodia military drills, known as "Angkor Sentinel 10", involved 1,200 soldiers from 23 countries and were ostensibly part of Washington's Global Peace Operations Initiative, a program run jointly by the US Department of Defense and State Department to help train global peacekeepers against insurgency, terrorism, crime and ethnic conflict.
According to the article, although it had token multinational participation, it was primarily a U.S.-Cambodian affair. The U.S. has been providing funding and training for the Cambodian military since 2006. Along with military assistance, the U.S. is also providing economic aid.
Washington is currently one of Cambodia's largest donors with more than $72 million in assistance this year focused on health, education, economic development and government accountability. The US donated $65 million in 2009.
The whole article is interesting reading, and provides many more details, including the controversial nature of U.S. involvement with the Cambodian armed forces, which don't exactly have a sterling reputation. In the view of Clifford McCoy, the author, U.S. aid to Cambodia is part of a contest for influence with China. The quest to buy friends continues. 

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