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The Cambodian national election this Sunday will almost certainly propel the country’s sitting prime minister, the 61-year-old Hun Sen, into his fourth decade of rule. Washington's recent push to cast Hun Sen in the role of regional pariah is counterproductive, undermining both the wider aims of its pivot to Asia and any chance of nudging Cambodia in a more democratic direction.
Critics accused U.S. President Barack Obama of acting prematurely by traveling to Myanmar, a country whose democratic transition is still woefully incomplete. But the real reason for the rapid thaw in U.S.-Myanmar ties is geopolitical: both countries want to offset China’s influence in the region.