Friday, 11 July 2014

Timely Military Aid and Stars

“[China] donated 20 military trucks, 30,000 military uniforms and iron helmets and batons... The aid is timely as Cambodia is facing a shortage of military materials.”

Commander of Brigade 70 General Moeung Samphan, 7 February 2014

“China hopes that the aid will help ease the difficulties of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces.”

China Ambassador Bu Jianguo, 7 February 2014

“We have seen that the national budget given to the Ministry of Defense [$489 million] is small, so we have a lack of equipment in the military sector.”

CPP MP Cheam Yeap, 7 February 2014

It is certain the CPP government will put into productive use the Chinese military hardware the general says arrives in so timely fashion. It will send a clear message to protesters that they would need more than bare hands, rock, and stones, to have any chance of overthrowing the prime minister approved by the half-full National Assembly.

The military needs all donations it can get. The defence budget of $489 million (14% of the national budget) is so small that troops moonlight as mercenaries against the weak and vulnerable, and line themselves up for Chinese New Year handouts. The burden of this small military budget is getting worse with the 29 newly promoted to four-star generals. Presumably, the delivered Chinese uniforms come also with the stars in addition to the iron helmets and batons.

It seems the CPP may sooner, rather than later, have to deal with an annoying deficiency in the conventional military ranks that have nothing beyond field marshal general. Currently, there is only one field marshal general with five-stars in the Cambodian mercenaries, and he would not be too thrilled to share the limelight with anyone. This bottleneck will disappoint so many ostensibly capable generals who deserve a meteoric rise to the top for being loyal to the field marshal; they are ready, on command, to shoot down any unarmed protesters.

But one always can trust the Cambodian think-tank to come up with further glorified ranks and titles that will be most suitable to distinguish the chief from the Indians. There seems plenty of room around a general’s sleeves to plant a few more stars, should shoulder pads and collar become too crammed, unless the star is outshined by something else.

Ung Bun Ang


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