Democrat MP and former Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya, a former ambassador to the US (under Thaksin!!!), is quoted by The Nation:
Kasit, a party-list MP of the opposition Democrat Party, said the US always says that it is a world leader that respects the law and human rights under democratic principles. When the US asked Thailand to extradite alleged Russian weapons trader Viktor Bout to face trial in the US, the Thai government led by the Democrat Party adhered to the request, he said.
He wondered why the US granted a visa to a fugitive former leader who had fled a jail term at home.
“If the claim is true, it means the US does not respect Thailand’s justice system but insults the country’s law and integrity,” he said.
A former Thai ambassador to the US, Kasit refused to confirm the Democrat Party’s comment earlier that Thaksin had received a visa to enter the US under a deal that the US would get access to use U-tapao airport.
Kasit said the party had only made an observation and it was not sure what had actually happened, so the US must clarify the matter.
“We have always given the US our cooperation. If the US does not cooperate with us [and extradite Thaksin], we must condemn and all Thais must sever ties with the US,” he said.
BP: Well, if the visa was granted under a quid-pro-quo deal that NASA gets to use U-tapao then Kasit need not worry as the delay in the government in approving NASA’s use meant NASA cancelled the project. If no quid then there will be no quo and the US would thus cancel the visa.*
Kasit has form for “speaking his mind” on diplomatic matters,** but Thailand severing the ties with the US?. What about Germany, Japan, UK, and a number of other countries that Thaksin has visited without them extraditing Thaksin back to Thailand?*** Should Thailand sever ties with them as well? Yes, Thaksin visiting the US is a bigger deal because the US is a superpower, but because it is a superpower Thailand has even less ability to influence it. Hence, why even raise the idea of severing ties? Because it is a superpower and Kasit doesn’t have sufficient leverage threatening will not work either. Actually, by talking about Thaksin visiting the US, Kasit just makes any visit to Thaksin of the US an ever bigger event and creates more publicity. Not sure that this part of the plan….
*Of course, there was unlikely a quid-pro-quo and a more likely reason that the US would issue the visa is the fact that Thaksin’s sister is now PM and well he is the de-facto leader of Puea Thai. When Puea Thai were in opposition, it was a different story and Thaksin’s travel options were more limited. Foreign governments didn’t want to upset the then Abhisit-led government. The situation has changed and Thaksin’s ability to get a visa to visit countries has thus also changed. It is just realpolitik.
** Back in 2008, Kasit played a prominent role in opposing the Samak government in 2008 in TV interviews and, of course, joined the PAD in seizing the airport in 2008. When on TV back then, he insulted Hun Sen as blogged in 2009:
It is that he [Kasit] went on Thai TV and personally insulted Hun Sen. Video is here and here. He says Hun Sen is บ้า (crazy) บ้าๆบอๆ (dotty, mentally unbalanced) and a กุ๊ย (tramp, vagrant). He also says that Hun Sen doesn’t want good relations with Thailand and speculates that he is the ขี้ข้า (slave) of Thaksin or he has an evil mind (จิตใจชั่วร้าย). It should be noted he made these statements when he was the shadow Deputy PM.
*** After Thaksin’s Japanese visit, BP blogged:
We don’t know the real reason why Thaksin went to Japan, but Japan is not the only country that Thaksin has gone to recently. He also went to Germany. Germany and Japan were two of the countries that had banned Thaksin from travelling – see here and here respectively. BP doesn’t think it is surprising he has chosen those two countries to travel to now.* How better to spend your days abroad when you don’t have much to do than thumbing your nose at Abhisit and Kasit** and visit countries that you can now visit, particularly given visits to these countries carry implications (whether accurate or just perceived) on how outsiders view Thaksin/his conviction. BP sees it is more about this and it does follow because Thaksin went to Japan that he will be coming home to Thailand sooner then expected.