Military termites

8 07 2019

While it is right and appropriate that anti-junta activists should target the junta’s constitution for “reform” – it would be even better to trash it – two things need to be considered.

First, constitutional “reform” has been a flashpoint for royalists and other anti-democrats who oppose people’s representation and sovereignty. Those wanting to erase the junta’s rigging of the rules of the political landscape need to be aware that they will face considerable and (likely) vicious opposition from royalists and anti-democrats.

In addition, as reformers note:

changing the charter would be an uphill task as it was written in such a way that amending it is almost impossible by following the normal process…. The only way to successfully amend the charter is to raise awareness and gain people support to change it….

Second, constitutional reform is likely to be insufficient for eliminating the military termites. Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha’s junta has done far more than any recent military regime to embed the military at all levels of administration. These military administrators and its parallel administration have undermined and now dominate civil administration.

A story at the Bangkok Post emphasizes this:

Since the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) seized power in 2014, several military top-brass officers have been appointed to head several key ministries. And changes have also been observed in many agencies whose work deals with national security, particularly organisations under the Justice Ministry.

The story focuses on changes at the Justice Ministry that amount to a politicization of the Ministry that can be used to undermine political opponents. If the opposition in parliament gets too uppity, think of the damage that this Ministry could inflict on them, neutering them.


Actions

Information