Cambodian dictator not happy with Michelle Obama

Soon after she returned from her Asian trip, Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen criticized the first lady's international "Let Girls Learn" initiative as a public relations ploy.  Sen has been in power for 30 years and, according to several human rights groups, "stifles those who pose a threat to his rule."  In a previous post I suggested that Mrs. Obama be careful not to rile the prickly dictator while she was visiting his country.  Now Sen has accused Michelle of "playing around" and giving false hopes to Cambodian girls who want to go to school.  Sen also implied that the first lady's meaningless talk has left him holding the bag, potentially damaging his public image.

From the Phnom Penh Post:

Prime Minister Hun Sen took aim at Michelle Obama yesterday, accusing the first lady of making false promises, while suggesting her visit last weekend was more about hopeful rhetoric rather than implementing concrete improvements in the country’s education sector.

During a speech at the National Institute of Education, Hun Sen told the US Embassy and USAID to make good on alleged scholarship promises and front some actual cash if they want to truly make an impact on education reform in Cambodia. The prime minister was referring to Obama’s visit to the country on Saturday, in which she met with 10 female students in Siem Reap to push the White House’s “Let Girls Learn” initiative.

“Her [Obama’s] mission is very good, but I suggest the United States should help completely and not play like this,” he said. “It is just playing around – it is not good. What if she chose 300 students? It would be death. I don’t have that money to give.”

“I am sorry … but this is just my opinion,” said Hun Sen. “It will become a political matter in the long term. The children will say in the future that the US assisted them in completing university, while Hun Sen will be known as a man who doesn’t work.”

According to one website, Sen's "unusually blunt" criticism of the first lady's disingenuous humanitarian mission was significant.

The state-run Phnom Penh Post published this column – which would never have seen the light of day without his office's approval – in which Sen says that Obama and the United States have suggested that financial help would be provided for selected Cambodian school girls, only to leave the Cambodian government to foot the bill.

On top of embarrassing bows and hugs, Mrs. Obama managed to forget that all dictators love money.  Given the first couple's penchant for taxpayer money and lavish living, how could she forget that?