Stepping Back From the Brink at Preah Vihear: Cambodia and Thailand’s Choice

Issue & Policy Briefs February 16, 2011, No. 55

Regarded as a “sideshow” to U.S. foreign policy interests during America’s Vietnam era, Cambodia has often been overshadowed in the region by its more economically influential Southeast Asian neighbors. Yet, its festering feud with Thailand over the Preah Vihear temple has once again flared up, claiming at least five lives. The ongoing standoff between the two ASEAN member states threatens a conflict that would be devastating to the UNESCO world heritage site and its surrounding communities. While the government of Cambodia has called on the UN to intervene, a sober assessment suggests that Cambodia and Thailand can take measures to deescalate tensions and prevent further erosion of the relations between the two countries.

Related Publications