There is no shock in learning that Suthep Thaugsuban, self-proclaimed leader of the People’s Democratic Reform Committee, generally likes the work of the military dictatorship.
It would be odd if he didn’t as he and his lieutenants from the Democrat Party that did so much over a long period to encourage the military to make their coup.
Yesterday The Nation interviewed the Suratthani godfather on television and now has an English verion in its pages. The journalist appears to have wanted to see how Suthep was feeling about the coup and the junta.
We were somewhat surprised by this as we had thought Suthep had been told to keep his political head low. Yet the junta’s Thailand does write Double Standards in very large letters.
We won’t repeat all of the anti-democrat’s drivel, but here’s some points of interest.
“Reform” remains important: “People camped out on the streets [during the protests in 2014] because they wanted to see reforms. With no reform, these people will feel that their devotion was wasted. Meechai [Ruchupan] and his team [Constitution Drafting Committee] must come up with a mechanism to ensure national reform succeeds.”
The junta has done well in several areas: “First, its work on getting rid of corrupt officials. I think this is an outstanding achievement of the NCPO. Second, its work on national security and the monarchy. I think people are satisfied with their performance in these areas. Third, the way they have dealt with problems in times of crisis.”
A translation from anti-democrat-speak is that Suthep appreciates Article 44 and the repression of the opponents of the royalist elite.
He claims that “[p]eople seem to feel they can rely on the NCPO.” We haven’t met them, except in the petrified middle class and in business circles, and they support repression as they believe it serves their interests.
He’s convinced his anti-democrat street politics was correct: “Certainly. It was about stopping an evil government that was destroying the country and our beloved institution.”
He fibs too: “The military could not cooperate with us [protesters], so they opted to seize government power. In fact, I didn’t like that option, but I am satisfied that an evil government lost its power and could no longer hurt the country and its people. There was no conspiracy, as alleged. If there were, I would now be part of this government.” This is gobbledygook. Suthep’s “committee” repeatedly called on the military to intervene and cheered when it did. In addition, the cooperation between the military and the street protesters is well-documented.
What about foreign governments feeling a coup in the 21st century is not up to snuff? “I think foreign countries have no right to interfere with our country’s internal affairs. I am dissatisfied with some foreign diplomats. When I met them, I told them frankly that it was not their business. We have never interfered with their countries. We have to tell them clearly or they will keep messing with us too much.”
When countries intervene to support authoritarian regimes in Thailand, that seems quite okay.