Wikileaks: Boyce and a “delusional” Thaksin

31 10 2011

In this Wikileaks cable dated 7 July 2006, Ambassador Ralph L. Boyce reports on a lunch meeting with Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

Boyce claims to have begun the meeting by “raising Thaksin’s inflammatory comments to civil servants last week, in which he described a ‘charismatic person’ trying to overthrow the government…”. He says that:

Thaksin freely admitted to me that he was referring to Privy Council President Prem [Tinsulanonda]. He said that he “wanted to flip on the lights and flush out the ghosts.” It was wrong, and undemocratic, for Prem to work against the PM behind the scenes. Thaksin alleged that Prem was trying to influence various judges involved in the key cases pending, including by “dangling the prospect” of a privy council position before one of them.

Boyce makes no comment on this, although evidence following the coup suggests that Thaksin was pretty well informed of palace machinations even if he was too arrogant to see that they would defeat him. Boyce’s comment is on Thaksin commenting on “Prem’s sexual orientation to criticize him in terms not fit for a family telegram.”

Thaksin was then reported as planning to step down following elections. Boyce immediately suggests Thaksin step down “soon” and “now.”

When Thaksin talks about democracy and Thai Rak Thai as democratic, in the cable Boyce explodes, claiming that Thaksin’s glowing descriptions of TRT’s democratic tradition are delusional – his party members don’t dare sneeze without Thaksin’s approval…”. Again Boyce seems to have lost track of his own cables where he has repeatedly talk about and with TRT “dissidents” and talked of different perspectives in cabinet.

When Boyce told “Thaksin that he had changed Thai politics forever…”,  he says Thaksin “launched into an attack on the King and his vaunted ‘sufficiency economy’ model. Thaksin said that he was proud of his origins as ‘a peasant’…”. The ambassador comments:

Thaksin neglects to mention that it helps to have prominent relatives, marry well, and get advantageous government concessions from your friends.

Boyce apparently forgets his earlier cable where it is stated that “the political ‘elite’ of the country think Thaksin is ‘a peasant’.” This comment that prompts Boyce’s rebuttal is obviously playing on that earlier statement. Further on sufficiency economy,

Thaksin claimed that the policies advocated by the King kept the people poor, while TRT’s policies had changed the countryside, making the people “smarter and richer” and less dependent on the King. This was part of the reason for the King’s opposition to Thaksin….

Again, Thaksin seems to be well aware of the conflicts between his political trajectory and that of the palace. He says it is “bad news is that Thaksin seems determined to keep picking a fight with the most respected institutions in the country.” Boyce’s palace bias is evident as is his view that it is Thaksin who is prompting the fight with the palace. All accounts seems to suggest that the palace chose this direction.

However, Boyce seems to know what he talking about when he states: “Thaksin is mistaken to think that he can win a showdown with the Palace.” And the reasons he gets this right are revealing:

In addition to the historical reverence for the King, the palace is widely viewed by civil society as providing the only counterweight to the excessive power that Thaksin has accrued, in part through the clever use of his enormous wealth to distort the political system. Thaksin’s actions will keep political tensions dangerously high over the coming months.

Like Prem, Sonthi Boonyaratglin and other royalists, for Boyce, Thaksin was, at the time, the problem.


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31 10 2011
Bookmarks for October 31st from 11:20 to 12:20 « Mark's life

[…] [toread] Wikileaks: Boyce and a “delusional” Thaksin « Political Prisoners in Thai… – […]

2 03 2012
Coup good for business « Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] U.S. Ambassador Ralph Boyce was happy enough to support the 2006 military coup that ousted Thaksin Shinawatra, a leader Boyce had earlier described as “delusional.” […]

2 03 2012
Coup good for business « Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] U.S. Ambassador Ralph Boyce was happy enough to support the 2006 military coup that ousted Thaksin Shinawatra, a leader Boyce had earlier described as “delusional.” […]

2 03 2012
Wikileaks: Coup good for business « Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] U.S. Ambassador Ralph Boyce was happy enough to support the 2006 military coup that ousted Thaksin Shinawatra, a leader Boyce had earlier described as “delusional.” […]

2 03 2012
Wikileaks: Coup good for business | Thai Alliance for Human Rights

[…] U.S. Ambassador Ralph Boyce was happy enough to support the 2006 military coup that ousted Thaksin Shinawatra, a leader Boyce had earlier described as “delusional.” […]




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