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Letter: Who casts first stone

Dear Editor,

Brad Adams' airy subordination of Cambodian sovereignty to "human rights"

concerns (Post, March 17-30) would be considerably more convincing if it were not

so selective.

Western governments, Adams writes, "occasionally use this rhetoric" - a

lawyerly admission if ever there was one. Western governments insist on the reality

of their sovereignty, and allow no interference with it for human rights or any other

reasons.

Let Adams and the United Nations mount a sustained campaign to force the United States

to recognize the World Court judgment on its aggression against Nicaragua, or to

require the Australian government to repeal its racist "native title" legislation.

Until that happens, their attempts to override the sovereignty of Cambodia or other

Third World countries reek of 19th century Westerners' campaigns to carry "civilized

values" to "benighted" Asia and Africa. In both cases, the target

countries were and are right to be sceptical about the real interests served by the

"civilizers".

That Adams really regards the nations of the world as divided into the morally pure

and impure is indicated by his appeal to "diplomats, particularly those representing

countries with an abiding interest in international justice".

Please, Mr Adams, may we have a list of precisely which countries those are?

Allen Myers, Phnom Penh

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