More on the war (of words)

4 01 2010

Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban seems to agree with Chirmsak Pinthong account of the political future. In The Nation he said that red-shirt “street politics” in January or February would be “aimed at overthrowing the national leadership and plunging the Kingdom into ‘complete chaos’ in the process.” He is reported to have “insisted the red shirts’ plan went ‘beyond overthrowing the government.

He claims that his information is from red shirt sources and the strategy he predicts from the opposition matches very closely the Chirmsak account: “The deputy premier said pressure would be applied from both inside and outside Parliament, as well as inside and outside the Kingdom.

Suthep added that ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra wants to “change the national leadership, and he sees the threat of violence. But Suthep feels this won’t happen “because most Thais do not want it to happen.

Chuan Leekpai, a former prime minister and chairman of the Democrat Party’s advisory board, is reported to have “expressed similar views.He warned violence would be met with the law.” This latter phrase seems to be being used as a shorthand threat for the determined application of the state’s repressive capacity.

Meanwhile, Abhisit Vejjajiva is back on the “reconciliation” line that he seemed to lose for several months, but links this to threats of violence and chaos: “if we allow our country to become mired in violence, our society and politics will be in chaos.” Abhisit and the Democrat Party seem to have steeled themselves for their version of the “use of the law.”

Prime Minister’s Office Minister Sathit Wongnongtoey chimes in on the media, taking up another of Chirmsak’s points, promising to give the public more news and information ‘proactively’, in order to prevent ‘senseless red-shirt propaganda’ from triumphing.

Bhum Jai Thai Party spokesman Supachai Jaisamut pointed out that the growing number of military |personnel joining the Pheu Thai Party signalled the coming of a ‘people’s war’, but he expressed confidence in the government’s ability to handle it.” Again, this line seems to match Chirmsak’s, although Supachai appears to give more credence to the commitment of these military personnel than does Chirmsak.

Meanwhile, red shirt supporters seem to view the cascade of military personnel to their side as evidence that the military is split and that a crackdown as during the Songkhran Uprising will have less chance of success.

PPT thinks it possible that the government is simply parroting this stuff following Prem Tinsulanonda’s’s advice to read and understand Chirsak’s article. More likely, though, is that there is a generalized agreement amongst the government and its powerful backers on the current situation. Chirmsak, as a well-connected yellow-shirted intellectual, seems to have caught that mood.



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