2. One part of ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra's inner circle (yes, he has several layers of them) has privately warned him that Hun Sen could in fact be - don't laugh - a double agent: He may be trying to snare Thaksin with his public statements to welcome him to Phnom Penh. But once there, Hun Sen may trap Thaksin and deliver him to Abhisit.
If I am naive enough to believe the first claim, I probably would have to lend some credence to the second - much wilder - story. On the other hand, if I somehow manage to come to the conclusion that the first statement is too comical to be true, I would have to dismiss the second one as an absurd conspiracy theory.
I must admit that Hun Sen's attempt to "personalise" his conflict with Thailand is a brilliant diplomatic stroke, except that it sounds too much like a hooligan challenging his neighbour to a fight after ganging up with another buddy who had split up with the latter. The guy also happens to be the target of a police manhunt.
But the ongoing flap between the two countries isn't a gangland war. It's a diplomatic tussle between two sovereign states - or that's what Hun Sen, prodded by his "good friend Thaksin" - has made it out to be.
The ties between Hun Sen and Thaksin may be "personal". And few people have any doubt that there are lots of "personal gains" to be made by the two. But when Hun Sen decided to make his Thai friend - the subject of an extradition request from the Thai government - an official economic adviser, the Cambodian premier inevitably raised the bar to the uncomfortable level of a diplomatic showdown.
Thaksin, likewise, has "personalised" his whole battle with his own country. For him, it's all about "my personal assets" and "my popularity" and "my political future". It has never been about the Thai Rak Thai Party, or Palang Prachachon, or even today the Pheu Thai Party. It's all about Thaksin.
Everything being equal, and if logic prevails, Hun Sen should be protecting Cambodia's benefits and Thaksin should be primarily concerned about Thailand's interests. How, then, do you explain the fact that Hun Sen and Thaksin are now on the same side in the battle against Thailand?
The only explanation, however implausible, is that these two remarkable politicians seem to think everything is "personal" in politics. In other words, for them, the line between national interests and personal benefit is always blurred - and with staggering political control, they might have somehow convinced themselves that the whole country's resources are, or should be, under their personal jurisdiction.
That's where Hun Sen's hubris lies. He probably thinks he could wage a "personal war" on behalf of Thaksin without placing his country's interests at risk. What's more, he might even think that if he could put Thaksin back into power in Thailand, the latter would be at his beck and call. Thaksin would become his personal running dog.
That brings me to the second big riddle: Some of Thaksin's lieutenants are beginning to wonder whether Hun Sen is playing a dangerous game. There must be something much more menacing than meets the eye. These aides simply can't believe the Khmer premier can do anything straight. Hun Sen's vigorous public stand to defend a neighbouring country's fugitive ex-premier is simply too good to be true.
Some of Thaksin's aides are asking: Is it possible that Hun Sen has in fact colluded with Abhisit to ensnare Thaksin into Cambodia so that he can detain the former Thai leader and then deliver him to the Thai government?
I must confess, I am not sure whether to believe the two theories - or to take the first seriously and dismiss the second out of hand.
But since I subscribe to the adage that "birds of a feather flock together", I am tempted to think perhaps both myths may be right. Or both could be wrong … which means that since both men are basically after personal benefits disguised as national interests, the possibility of mutual back-stabbing and betrayal at every turn can't be ruled out at all - not until Thaksin leaves Phnom Penh safely, that is.
But then, if you think the second story is preposterous, you would have to say the same about the first.
These are absurd times, after all.