Kasit, U.S. aid and truth

28 09 2009

The U.S. comedian and now Senator Al Franken once wrote a book on American politics titled Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them. Of course, no country is immune from the occasional “embellishment” of the truth for political purpose. Here’s an example from a minister in Thailand.

Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya (Bangkok Post, 28 September 2009: “Kasit: USAID funding is normal practice”) has apparently taken offence at suggestions that the United States is concerned about political conflict in Thailand.Kasit said that there was “nothing complicated in the funding provided to Thailand through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) other than the fact that the US would like to help Thailand develop as a democracy…”. That’s pretty much correct.

Then he added that it ” was normal practice for USAID, which serves as a centre in providing help in the region, to give support to other countries…”. That is also true , but USAID did close its Thailand operations many years ago, as reported in the TIME story we posted on a few days ago.

But then Kasit gets carried away, reportedly stating that the new fund “has nothing to do with political problems in Thailand…”. This is incorrect.

USAID’s public Request for Proposals (RFP) No. 486-09-028, Supporting Citizen Engagement and Peace Building in Thailand (issued 27 July 2009, and updated since then), in the Background states: “Thailand is in the midst of rapid and dramatic political change that is transforming its political landscape. Against the backdrop of 81-year old King Bhumibol Adulyadej–who has been the Kingdom of Thailand’s constitutional monarch for over 60 years–stands a political system that has undergone upheaval over the past 18 months, and non-democratic capture of political power for at least 8 years. The vulnerability of the Thai political system to illiberal, destabilizing concentration of power and peacefully resolving the southern conflict are the key democratic governance (DG) problems to be addressed by the proposed program.”

One would have thought that the Foreign Minister would know the basic details of the most significant U.S. aid package in several years, estimated to be worth US$15-20 million, mentions the aged king in the context of political troubles and to also involve operations in the troubled South (see p. 18 of the RFP).


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28 09 2009
28 06 2012
The Ombudsman reaks « Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] before PPT mentioned the American humorist Al Franken. Al is now a Senator for Minnesota as a member of […]

28 06 2012
The Ombudsman reaks « Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] before PPT mentioned the American humorist Al Franken. Al is now a Senator for Minnesota as a member of Minnesota’s […]




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