Thanong on the political crisis in Thailand
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Thanong on the political crisis in Thailand

BP’s long-time favorite op-ed columnist in The Nation opines on the current political situation:

The weeks leading up to New Year saw rumours of a military coup. In Thailand, rumours are almost always proved true. It was planned to help the government, not the Suthep-led uprising. The stakes are high. If the Yingluck government were to be toppled, it would not only wipe out the political and business interests of the Shinawatras but would also upset the geopolitical interests of the US. It is an open secret that the US has already “handcuffed” the Thai government into allowing it to revive the U-tapao military base. Thailand is an important Asian ally in Washington’s campaign to contain China. Oil deals in the Gulf of Thailand are also on the table, not to mention security arrangements in the South China Sea, and the Trans Pacific Partnership free-trade area. That is why the US has openly intervened in Thai affairs by calling on the people to honour the February 2 election. The international media have also been parroting this line of pseudo-democracy, which would extend the tenure of the corrupt Shinawatra regime.

After the people invoke their sovereign power as per Article 3 of the Constitution, they will resort to the extraordinary measures afforded by Article 7 to seek royal endorsement for the appointment of an interim prime minister and government. A people’s council will then be formed to lay down foundations for comprehensive reform to end corruption and set Thailand back on the path of genuine democracy.

BP: First, are all rumours in Thailand almost always proven true? Like when Thanong posted rumours of Thaksin dying of cancer and that he had died back in 2010? There are so many rumours going around, like that Thaksin had $4 billion seized by the UK authorities, but not all of them are true.

Second, this interpretation that it is about US geopolitical interests is just ludicrous. The US supports an election. Yes, democracy is not just about elections, but you need an election to be a democracy. It is not just the US. Multiple western countries and Japan have expressed similar positions.

Third, psuedo-democracy? Yes, there are problems with democracy in Thailand, but Thanong’s solution is to overthrow the government, install an unelected body to run the country and then mysteriously, after some unstated reforms, we will later have a democracy. The military has already tried this. They installed the “good people” to run the country after the coup, they rewrote the rules, funnelled billions to former Thaksin allies to try to defeat the pro-Thaksin PPP and still lost. Now, Suthep and his supporters will seemingly go even further. When Thanong talks about genuine democracy, he means rules that would prevent a pro-Thaksin party from winning.

btw, do doubt Chinese diplomats are taking notes from Thanong and others of the rhetoric they can use in the future of the Politburo if it’s necessary to wipe out corruption and to prepare China for a genuine democracy. The Burmese military could have been helped with this rhetoric…