A detailed, scholarly reassessment of developments in Cambodia since December 25, 1978, when Vietnamese combat soldiers expelled the ruthless Pol Pot regime. Genocide by Proxy is an account of a country at war and of a people consigned to the role of pawn in world politics. Michael Haas contends that Cambodia became an arena for superpower conflict and thus could only find peace when the superpowers extricated themselves from the country. In providing perhaps the best explanation of the causes of the Cambodian tragedy, Haas exposes the narcissism that reigns when one state forces another to be its pawn. Haas' analysis entails a study in comparative foreign policies, an exercise that has theoretical merit for political scientists in search of paradigms of political behavior. Challenging the conventional view of Vietnam as the aggressor, this volume vindicates Vietnam's role in the Cambodian conflict, while at the same time revealing the treachery of U.S. foreign policy toward Cambodia. Much of the information in the book is based on Haas' own interviews with more than 100 key international figures and on primary documents.
In an introductory chapter devoted to the basic facts of how genocide by proxy began, Haas sets forth the history of Pol Pot's rise and fall. The first three parts of the book, which deal with proxy war, proxy peace, and deproxification, are related in the style of the film Rashomon and detail how each country perceived events and framed policies to use the conflict for its own ends. The final chapter suggests an alternative to this world of superpower chess games. The two appendices contain records of voting in the United Nations on Cambodia. Genocide by Proxy provides a truly fresh assessment of Cambodia that will prove invaluable in courses in Asian studies, international relations, and peace research.