Thailand’s future politics III

7 11 2017

We noticed another effort to write of new reign and politics. In The Straits Times/Asia News Network, it begins badly with this headline: Thailand needs new unifying icon. The idea that Thailand needs an icon is demeaning.

When the story talks of the dead king and observes: “… things might not be the same again” suggests that the deceased one was pivotal to everything, and that is a gross exaggeration. The notion that everything has changed with “[n]ew King Maha Vajiralongkorn … on the throne, while the military calls the shots in government” is somehow different from how it has been since 2014.

The new king may be variously described in ways that have him a maniacal dipstick, but he was that a year ago, two years ago and three years ago. While the old man was incapacitated in hospital, he was in cahoots with the military junta and it was calling the shots.

The idea that the dead king’s reign was “benign” suggests the author hasn’t read much history of a reign marked by despotic military regimes, all fully supported by the now dead king.

Given all of this glib “reverence,” the story does get it right when it observes that Vajiralongkorn “seems to get along with the entrenched military junta.”

What we don’t get is why the author thinks a cruel king aligned with a murderous military “augurs well for Thailand…”. Seriously, that’s what it says.

In noting that this “relationship between the palace and those in power is bound to be tested in the years ahead,” we can only assume that the author reckons the military is going to be ruling for several more years. Unfortunately, that seems to be the way things are going.

And the story is right when it observes:

… the constitutional amendments choreographed by the military make it clear that no single party will be allowed to get a majority in the Lower House. In this way, the forces expect to keep control for at least the next five years.

Considerable power is seen to reside with Vajiralongkorn who has the capacity, it is claimed, to “decide” whether “Thailand deserves a truer democracy or an indefinite period under the rule of generals.”

We are betting he goes with rule by generals. That’s his upbringing and training.


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