The Samovar

Thailand – not straightforward
September 25, 2006, 7:54 pm
Filed under: Politics | Tags:

I find the issue of the military coup in Thailand quite complicated and difficult. On the one hand, it is clear that Thaksin has been quite a corrupt and dangerous leader. On the other hand, his base of support (for whatever reason) seems to be the poor of Thailand, with the better off middle classes opposing him. Andre Vltchek argues this point of view in his article Old Elites Against New. So I don’t know – any points of view on this?



It shows us where the real power lies in Thailand, doesn’t it? Fine if the military are willing to restore democracy quickly. But the message is that they don’t have to.

Comment by Woodpigeon

The positive parts seem to me largely superficial – soldiers told to smile, elections in a year – the negative parts seem far more real – no demonstrations etc, but the orders there aren’t being enforced – there have been successful peaceful demonstrations.

Which, as you say, makes it bloody difficult to form an opinion.

Comment by Chris Rossdale

I think we have to be a little more bullish in defence of democracy. Thailand is a constitutional democracy. There are two valid ways in which Thaksin could have been removed. The opposition could have persuaded the people of the undesirability of his corruption and they could have voted him out. The king (preferably on the advice of an independent judiciary) could have removed him were he deemed to have acted unconstitutionally.

A bad government is not the same as an illegitimate government. Where did the army’s mandate come from?

Comment by Edward the Bonobo

I think on balance you must be right that the coup is wrong. Even if it is supported by a large majority of the people in Thailand (which is far from clear), a military intervention in the functioning of a democratic society is only justified in very extreme circumstances (cf. series 4 of Babylon 5 ;-)) and the circumstances were certainly not extreme enough to justify it.

Comment by Dan Goodman

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