The editorial is short and to the point. After genuflecting on succession as an issue, the editorial argues that Cobra Gold military exercises with Thailand and the United States as the major partners appears to constitute a violation of US law.
The background is:
The U.S. military is scheduled to co-host with Thailand 11 days of joint exercises called Cobra Gold beginning Feb. 9. Although five other countries will participate and 21 will send observers, Thai forces will be the largest group. The United States will provide 3,288 troops, including air, ground and sea forces. This 35th version of Cobra Gold is expected to be the largest military drill held in Asia in 2016.
… It accompanies a summit of leaders in the 10-member Association of South East Asian Nations that Mr. Obama will host in Sunnylands, Calif., Feb. 15-16.
The editorial notes that a “federal law that requires a cutoff of U.S. military aid to governments installed by coups d’etat…”. However, its says:
So far, the Obama administration has chosen to disregard Section 508 of the Foreign Assistance Act in regard to Thailand, just as it has with the Egyptian government of President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, the former field marshal who was installed through a military coup.
Why? The editorial opines: “The Obama administration sees Cobra Gold as a demonstration of U.S. military power and allies in the region dominated by China.”