Bleating about the military

4 08 2014

When we recall the constant efforts to bring down the elected government and to denigrate electoral representation, does it now seem odd that some of the most vociferous anti-democrats now complain that the military dictatorship is being just a little too dictatorial?

No, for the two positions are exactly the same. PPT has two examples, both from the Bangkok Post, where the apparent schizophrenia regarding politics is often on display. The management might say this represents healthy competition on views about Thailand’s politics. In fact, though, it is representative of much that is wrong with the royalist elite and its middle class supporters.

Veera Prateepchaikul is a former editor of the Bangkok Post and was a great supporter for and propagandist of the anti-democrat demonstrators. When he bleats that the “colour of the day and for many more days to come over the next 18 months is, I guess we all know, green,” he is not really complaining, for this is exactly what he wanted and urged, for months.

He complains that there is insufficient “representation” for occupational groups other than the men with guns. What did he expect? You ask for a coup and you get the military. In any case, it is important to note that occupational “representation” is not about elections or democracy.

So when he quotes other anti-democrats complaining that the puppet assembly should “be a forum for debate and not an army club,” this is errant nonsense. These dopes simply want to talk amongst themselves, exclude others, and know that, in the end, they want the military there to protect them. The parliament they want is a Starbucks parliament. No representation, no elections, just chatter amongst those who think they should rule.

Veera advises that the military dictatorship needs to get its job done, and admits that the puppet parliament will just be a quiet rubber stamp. Exactly what the anti-democrats wanted. The media, if they support the junta, should be permitted to be a little critical: “the NCPO should be more open-minded and receptive to criticism and even opposing views which are rational and honest.”

He worries about the lack of an “independent” think-tank and says: “During the era of Field Marshal Pibulsongkram, there was a popular saying: ‘Believe in the leader, the nation will prosper.’ Now, we seem to be going along that path of following the leader. Of course, the performance of our leader, the NCPO, for the past two months has been OK. But it is just the beginning. There are at least 18 months to go.” Yes, Veera wants to “participate” by keeping the junta on track!

Pichai Chuensuksawadi is editor-in-chief of Post Publishing and has been a propagandist for military intervention and anti-democratic positions. When he bleats that the “composition of the National Legislative Assembly, unveiled this week with a heavy tint of green,” he is not complaining but explaining that it is necessary. He says: “With the military at the helm one cannot expect varied representation.” Of course not!

He knows that you get what you protest for: “Amid the street protests and political turmoil prior to the coup, many sides [he means one side, the anti-democrats] called for and made proposals for reform, greater transparency and the end of corruption.” He says the military’s “goals set are laudable but the challenges are immense.” As he observes, “in the end, the NCPO will make the final selection and can influence not only the composition of the NRC, but the direction it takes on reform and whether genuine, fundamental changes will be made.”

That change is “eradicating not just the influence of Thaksin but also preventing the possibility of any other political party becoming dominant and pushing ‘populist policies’.” That’s exaqctly what the anti-democrats wanted, so Pichai urges sticking with the military dictatorship, even if he urges more functional representation.

The argument that “for reform to take place, there must be vigorous debate,” is bleeding heart nonsense. There can be no vigorous debate when the anti-democrats just want to listen to themselves and ignore the majority. Criticizing the military for acting as it does is closing the gate after the horse has bolted and the barn has burned. Speaking to the military bosses is nothing to do with representation, elections or democracy; it is elite and middle-class political bleating.

When Thailand has electoral politics, these groups complain and campaign to bring it down. When this happens, almost always by the military in alliance with the palace, they get squeamish about the results. Some of this is simply pretending to be upset. Some of it is about telling the military that it owes something to those whocreated the ground for the coup. All of it is anti-democratic.



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