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The Cambodian endgame has entered a new and critical stage. The regime installed in Phnom Penh by Vietnam eleven years ago-the People's Republic of Kampuchea-continues to hold sway over the major cities and most of the countryside. But with the withdrawal of Vietnamese combat forces in September 1989, its capacity to counter the Khmer Rouge remains in serious doubt, and it is entirely possible that Pol Pot could battle his way back to power in Phnom Penh.1
Continued fighting in Cambodia serves the interests of the Khmer Rouge. Sustained by a mixture of intimidation and indoctrination, as well as Chinese support and Thai sanctuary, the Khmer Rouge is once again a fanatical and formidable force. It has given up neither its goal of regaining power by whatever means necessary nor its xenophobic brand of communism. The best way to prevent the Khmer Rouge from returning to power is to shift the