Mr. Stephen John MORRIS

The expert was born in 1949. He is an Australian researcher, writer and teacher in international politics and history. He has studied and written on the relations between Vietnam and Cambodia during this period. He tried to understand why these two former allies country came into a military conflict.

To him, it was different Communists who misunderstood the situation. He explained that the behavior of the Vietnamese was aimed at creating one space with one ethnicity, called Indochina Federation. He added that imperialism was deeply rooted in the Vietnamese elite. The Vietnamese always wanted to have control in Cambodia, but Pol Pot’s policies gave them an apparent license to intervene and eliminate Cambodia’s independence. The Vietnamese used Cambodians who retreated to Vietnam in 1954 to re-infiltrate in order to control Cambodian communism. He said that the concept of the “enemy” was very central to these movements. According to him as Stalin had created a construct in which his rivals were seen as agent of foreign powers, Pol Pot created a narrative in which the enemies from within were KTB or CIA agents. It was a period of paranoia and personality cults. He described DK as a conspiratorial organization. Morris recounted that in April 1977, DK attacked a Vietnamese village causing a substantial number of civilian casualties. He said it was irrational, because Cambodia was much weaker than Vietnam. Indeed there was a disparity of strength between both sides.

The purges and terror campaigns that took place after 1975 were directed against loyal members of the KR. This showed, he said, paranoia and weakness in relation to the conflict with Vietnam. KR were against the Soviet Union and sympathetic to China until 1976.

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  • Cases : Case 002Case 002/02
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