The end of the Cold War marked a turning point in international politics — the collapse of socialism and the planned economy and the rise of democracy and a free market economy. Ideological conflict became a thing of the past. The absence of the East-West confrontation, however, did not necessarily constitute the absence of a power struggle.
The Cold War ended only to kick off a new round of competition for sphere of influence. The United States and China emerged as both partners and rivals shaking the world. Amid the rise of strategic, economic and security uncertainty, a small state like Cambodia became more vulnerable to being trapped in a power struggle amid these great powers. Cambodia claims a neutral diplomatic position, but history and geopolitics have proven that such a policy is impractical.