Whatever anyone thinks about former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin, even his supporters must be wondering just what Cambodian PM Sen was thinking when he invited Khun Thaksin to take up the parallel posts of economic adviser and adviser to the PM.
The question is especially pertinent now, a time when Cambodia and Thailand have a serious, ongoing quarrel about the border.
Maybe the Cambodians have some legitimate concerns about the border issues (and maybe not), but surely the wily Hun Sen knows that appointing Thaksin is throwing gas on the fire, even if Thaksin is able to provide the guidance he wants.
And it is an insult to Thailand. The Thai government has bent in a whole lot of ways to try to accommodate Phnom Penh's wishes, yet this is their reward.
I know two people who personally know Hun Sen, including one who serves as an adviser to the Cambodian PM (and whose wife serves as an adviser to hun Sen's wife). They both say (my friends -- I don't know the wife) that Hun Sen comes across as a perfectly polite, likeable individual.
I could sort of see it were Hun Sen to offer Thaksin sanctuary, given their close personal relationship (though even that would understandbly and utterly justifiably upset the Thai government, no doubt).
Hun Sen is difficult to pin down. A former major figure in the Khmer Rouge, he has managed to continue a prosperous (in more ways than one) political life, despite his debatable orgins.
Anyway, now the Thai government's panties are all twisted, and I don't blame them one little bit. An honest dispute about the border is one thing; a completely unprovoked and unnecessary slap in the face -- and make no mistake, that's what this is -- is an entirely different matter.
Some damage has been done already. I hope no more occurs, and that one damage has been done can be repaired. After all, the two kingdoms are neighbors, and it's nice for neighbors to get along. . . .