World: The Royal Jugglers of Southeast Asia

I want to make Laos the Switzerland of Southeast Asia.

—Prince Souvanna Phouma, 1956

I have always dreamed of a Cambodia that is a kind of Switzerland.

—Prince Norodom Sihanouk, 1970

The two Southeast Asian princes have little in common, not even their particular brands of neutrality. Each is convinced, however, that his nation's survival depends on maintaining the greatest possible distance from the war that has convulsed their common neighbor, South Viet Nam. Last week, with Sihanouk deposed as Cambodia's chief of state and Souvanna facing a major Communist offensive in Laos, their Swiss reveries seemed more remote than ever.

Ironically, the ruler who...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!