TIME’s dictator of the year I

23 06 2018

TIME magazine has a long story on The Dictator and his politics. We won’t repeat it here as the story is widely available.

Also, we think it is a story that Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha will like as it promotes him as a strong leader, now and into the future. Sure it says some things that many will interpret as negatives, but The Dictator occupies a different headspace and will read one reader’s negatives as his positives.

That some claim he will appear on TIME’s cover will have him puffing his chest as well. We don’t know if this is true, and it may be that there are multiple TIME covers for different regions. CNN has been reporting that the next TIME cover features Donald Trump and a child, reflecting America’s immigration crisis.

TIME does say that “General Prayuth Chan-ocha appears at ease among the lavish trappings of politics…”. Well, that’s well-known.

It does say that Thais have been waiting for long-delayed elections. That’s also well known. And Prayuth has long said that only he can decide when his junta will allow and “election.”

It also says that “[m]any … fear that under Prayuth’s watch [Thailand]… is undergoing a permanent authoritarian regression.” We doubt that anything is permanent, but its hardly a secret that Prayuth’s junta has sought to wind back the political clock and intends this to be permanent or at least a total of 25 years.

And it cites some opponents. Their views are pretty well known.

But none of this is criticism that The Dictator hasn’t seen off for more than four years and some of it perversely builds Prayuth’s preferred “tough guy” image.

That image-building reshapes Prayuth’s military career as a tough guy rather than a polisher of royal posteriors. The article claims that there was no “opulence” in Prayuth’s military career. TIME seems to have neglected how the Thai Army actually operates, where commanders are treated like kings, have personal slaves by the dozen and live in rather nice houses, have chauffeured cars and nice little earners on boards of state enterprises. It also neglects how wealthy Thailand’s military leaders are.

It paints him as a man who sacrificed for the country: “When people are in trouble, we, the soldiers, are there for them…”. That will have Prayuth all puffed up and happy for it justifies corruption, coups and murderous attacks on the “people.”

It says he’s a hero, winning “the Ramathipodi medal, the country’s top honor for gallantry in the field.” We had never heard of this before, but we also don’t know about this stuff, but there’s a related discussion from a while ago at Thai Visa. That set of threads seems to suggest that this TIME information is either new, a story concocted by The Dictator’s PR or an error.

Not just a brave man, but a selfless servant of nation and monarchy: “I told myself that I had to dedicate my life for my homeland and the monarchy.” Prayuth’s PR staff must be over the moon.

It compares Prayuth with another strongman, Field Marshal Sarit Thanarat. Again, Prayuth will love this. For another comparison with Sarit, see this exchange.

We could go on. But the theme is clear. TIME has done the junta’s work. It often did the same during the Cold War, but that’s another sad tale.


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26 06 2018
TIME’s dictator of the year II | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] As we stated earlier, we felt it was a story that Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha will like because it promotes him as a strong leader, now and into the future. […]

26 06 2018
TIME’s dictator of the year II | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] As we stated earlier, we felt it was a story that Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha will like because it promotes him as a strong leader, now and into the future. […]