As we move closer to our time, Cambodia’s history is set in the context of its neighbours that we are more familiar with. Geographically, Cambodia can be found in the middle of your TV; Thailand on one side and Vietnam on the other. The relationship with both these countries is complex. There have been times of peace and cooperation between them and times of war. Both Thailand and Vietnam have sought to take advantage of Cambodia at different stages.
As you move further a field, more distant neighbours have also contributed to Cambodia’s history. China has had varying degrees of influence. This seems to be linked to Russia’s involvement in Cambodia. Of course there is also the colonial influence of France. The US, too, have played a part in the country’s history. All of these countries have had significant interactions with Cambodia, particularly in the modern era. We look forward to being in Cambodia and to delve into these influences as we get to know the culture.
Furthermore, most countries in the world have been affected by the Cold War period (communism vs capitalism or East vs West). Cambodia shares in this influence too. Prince Sihanouk’s rule of Cambodia in the 1950’s walked a fine line between capitalist and communist supporters in his own government. Communist parties formed in the country. Both sides of the Cold War would play their part in the events that led up to the Khmer Rouge.