When the military is on top XX

28 04 2018

As political activists say they are about to “step up their activities against the junta … ahead of the fourth anniversary of the May 22 putsch,” the military is threatening them and declaring its love and support for The Dictator and his regime.

Supreme Commander, Gen Thanchaiyan Srisuwan, said “security authorities are preparing to deal with demonstrators,” while pledging “to support the government [the junta], saying the military is part and parcel of national administration and its duty is to ensure that the government’s work can continue uninterrupted.”

Of course, that is not quite the role of a professional and apolitical military. Readers can get a better view of how a proper military views its role here and here.

Gen Thanchaiyan did not say much “when asked if armed forces leaders would join a military-backed party.”

Army commander Gen Chalermchai Sitthisart told “the media not to magnify the importance of the protests as it could hurt the investment climate, adding that nothing significant might actually happen.”

The Nation reports all of this a little differently. Its says Thanchaiyan hinted that “military leaders also joining pro junta parties.”

Gen Thanchaiyan’s words are quoted a little differently too, saying he “admitted that the military remained a tool of the government even though Prayut had shown signs of political ambition.” The Nation reports this move “came after a series of political moves from junta chief Prayut to consolidate power in preparation for the election…”. It adds: “Thanchaiyan did not rule out the possibility of military leaders also joining the pro-junta party that could be set up to back Prayut.”

When asked “if the military would become a tool in Prayut’s political campaign, the supreme commander said the military did what it did regardless of people’s perceptions…”. Its record is abysmal. It is corrupt, murderous and self-serving.

Wanwichit Boonprong, described as a military and security affairs expert from Rangsit University,explained:

The military network now has close ties with key junta leaders like Prayut and his deputy Prawit Wongsuwan…. They would continue to help secure the junta, overseeing dissent On the other hand, the junta will also reward them with a liberal budget and smooth and continuous implementation of policies…. They trust generals-turned-politicians better than they do ordinary politicians….

“Reform” is a long way off. Eight decades of military political interference suggests that change requires something akin to a revolution that uproots these armed politicians.