Update: Below we add a relevant post from Ji Ungpakorn.
A “senior Western diplomat” is quoted in the Bangkok Post, doing “his” best impression of the yellow-shirted, coup-promoting, pro-military U.S. Ambassador Ralph “Skip” Boyce, who enthusiastically supported the military coup in 2006.
This Boyce-like “pragmatist” believes that “[a]lthough the composition of the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) ‘does not look as good as we had hoped’ because of its heavy military membership, the medium and long term outlook is more important.”
Really? This diplomat, based in Bangkok, watching events of recent times, actually thought that the military wasn’t going to dominate the puppet assembly? Could this senior diplomat be so uninformed and so politically silly? Living in a bubble might take on a new meaning.
This “senior Western diplomat” said “we should look at ways to engage with the new Thai government in every way we can…”. Why would that be? Western diplomats just want to coy up with military dictatorships and military fascism? Well, yes, some of them do seem to like that.
The “senior Western diplomat” went on to observe that “[o]nce the composition of the NRC is revealed it would provide some indication as to whether Thailand can achieve its roadmap towards democracy.”
Really? This diplomat, based in Bangkok, watching events of recent times, actually thinks the military is about establishing something other than the anti-democratic “Thai-style democracy”? Too many nights out with the royalist elite?
It seems so, for this “senior Western diplomat” states:
Thailand is in the process of finding its way towards a broad democracy but also one that works. Both these bodies will try to shape a new system. The months of political turmoil and protests leading up to the coup are the latest attempt by Thailand to find a democratic system that works [for Thailand]. It may take Thailand another 10 to 20 years before it achieves its objectives….
There must be a reason why a “senior Western diplomat” would come up with such military and anti-democrat nonsense. Just an uniformed royalist? Perhaps it has to do with a hope for a nice post-retirement sinecure? Or maybe “he” is just about being a class-conscious royalist twit. Or perhaps “he” just believed the military dictatorship’s propaganda.
“Reform” turned on its head, 1984 style
Giles Ji Ungpakorn
Just as the dictatorship in George Orwell’s book “1984” claimed that “war is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength”, the Thai junta is claiming that a military dictatorship which destroyed democracy is “kicking off a process of political reform”.
Let us be clear about this. General Prayut Chan-ocha, the head of the junta, ordered the cold-blooded murder of 90 unarmed pro-democracy demonstrators in Bangkok in 2010. He and his military mates have taken part in two coup d’états against elected governments and they have threatened, imprisoned and tortured political prisoners. The military’s allies in the Democrat Party have staged violent street protests against the electoral process with total impunity, while the army sat back and watched with satisfaction. This reactionary shower have repeatedly stated that Thai citizens are “too uneducated” to have the right to vote. They hate all public spending which benefits the poor. These are people who support the use of the lèse-majesté law to jail activists for decades for merely criticising the status quo. Those who protest against the dictatorship are summonsed to “have their attitudes changed” in military camps.
The anti-democrats hated Taksin and his political machine because he won the hearts and mind of millions of ordinary people through real pro-poor policies. These reactionaries could never win mass support in society, so they resort to the use of force.
Taksin’s parties were not leading the struggle for democratisation, but that is not the point. The point is that most citizens used their brains to vote for these parties for very good reasons. This is what the anti-democrats hate about democracy.
If Prayut and his loathsome cronies are trying to reform the Thai political system to make it more democratic, the Earth must be flat, there must be fairies at the bottom of our gardens and aliens must be able to control our thoughts through the TV!!
Yet there is no shortage of lick-spittle, fawning, devious, reactionaries lining up to take part in the military’s anti-reforms. Among them are right-wing university academics, judges, the Electoral Commission, business people and civilian and military officials. They tell bare-faced lies that this will “reform” Thailand and put us on the road to freedom and peace.
There is also no shortage of gutter journalists at the Bangkok Post and the Nation newspapers who report this circus as though it was a real reform process.
Finally there are the pathetic NGO activists and the worst sections of the labour movement who are falling over themselves to get on the anti-reform train with suggestions for the junta. They are either cheap opportunists or political idiots. Maybe they are both.
But the creation of a “Burmese-style Guided Democracy”, where the military and their allies control power whatever the election results, will be unstable in Thailand. People have a long tradition of fighting for democracy and they will not tolerate for long the turning of the clock back to the old dictatorship days.
When the fight for democracy resumes in strength, we shall have to sweep the military and all their fawning toadies from power and deny them any role in building a future democratic system.