Liberal Cambodians have never had it easy, but this year has robbed many of hope.
Prime Minister Hun Sen, in power since the 1980s, has jailed an opposition leader, expelled nonprofit workers and shuttered an independent newspaper. “Descent Into Outright Dictatorship,” screamed a headline on its final front page.
For years, these Cambodians have looked to the U.S. both as an example of the virtues of democracy, and — as a major source of aid — a check on their own government’s authoritarian impulses. But they say President Trump’s tirades against the press and apparent fondness for strongmen have left them rudderless.
“Activists in autocratic regimes...