On Yingluck and floods

10 11 2011

Antonio L. Rappa is an Associate Professor and Head of Management and Security Studies at UniSIM Business School and an Adjunct Senior Fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University. PPT readers may find his Commentary on floods and security of interest (downloads as a small PDF). Some points from it are quoted below:

In times like these, it is political will that will secure the support of the people.

Strong political leadership can shift the impact of a crisis. Given the sea of security problems, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has surprised critics by displaying calm resolve. The first woman prime minister in Thailand has taken a strong stand in facing the disaster. She recently empowered herself with the Natural Disaster Law to control all operations. Despite the reticence of army commanders, the PM is doing a remarkable job for someone who has had no previous political experience.

What is clear is that Thailand needs a long-term strategy to combat all environmental disasters and not just the annual flooding. The question remains as to the strength of the political will of the leadership.

The Royal Thai Army was not prepared for the flood. Troops are scrambling to save their equipment and simultaneously save lives. But army commanders are uncomfortable with the prime minister’s emergency natural disaster powers.

The military will have to raise its annual budget for the millions of dollars lost in the wake of the floods.



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