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Political Transition in Cambodia, 1991-99: Power, Elitism and Democracy: Book by David. W Roberts

Political Transition in Cambodia, 1991-99: Power, Elitism and Democracy

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ISBN: 9780700714247    Publisher: Taylor & Francis Ltd Year of publishing: 2000     Format:  Paperback No of Pages: 259        Language: English
This book illustrates the limits to the 1990s UNTAC peacekeeping intervention in Cambodia and raises a critical challenge to the assumptions underpinning key tenets of the 'Liberal Project' as a mechanism...Read more
This book illustrates the limits to the 1990s UNTAC peacekeeping intervention in Cambodia and raises a critical challenge to the assumptions underpinning key tenets of the 'Liberal Project' as a mechanism for resolving complex, severe struggles for elite political power in developing countries. The book highlights the limitations of externally imposed power-sharing. In the case of Cambodia, the imagined effect was a coalition that would share power democratically. However, this approach was appropriate only for resolving the superpower conflict that had created Cambodia's war. Rather than bringing long-term peace to Cambodia, Roberts argues, it created the temporary illusion of a democratic system that in fact recreated the military conflict and housed it in a superficial coalition. Failure or unwillingness to address the core issues represents a failure in western approaches and an inability to think beyond the power-sharing paradigm. It assumes that all systems will conform to the democratisation system without addressing cultural institutions and traditions.
Because of the application of these assumptions to Cambodia, its political transition has been from a form of relatively benign authoritarianism to a superficial non-constitutional democracy. The book thus challenges assumptions regarding the inevitability of the globalization of liberalism as a means of ordering non-western societies. It explains the failure of democratic transition in terms of the impropriety and weakness of the plan which preceded it, and in terms of the elite's traditional reliance on absolutism and resistance to the concept of 'Opposition'.
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