Cambodia: Birth of a Republic

To a mixed chorus of reverberating Buddhist gongs and an authoritative 101-gun artillery salute, one of the oldest monarchies on earth was pronounced dead last week. In ceremonies before a joint session of the Cambodian Parliament, the President of Cambodia's National Assembly declared: "I, In Tam, officially proclaim the Khmer republic. Our country is indivisible." The fabled Khmer empire—begun in 802, conqueror of much of Southeast Asia a millennium ago, creator of the glories of Angkor Wat—was no more. In the newly named Place de la République near the former Royal Palace, Premier Lon Nol raised the banner of the...