Readers will know of the recent crazy, silly and bizarre statements of various members of the military now in sweet government positions. Banding of foreign tourists, blaming murder victims for having been murdered, and more. When the rulers are served by sycophants, they believe they can do and say anything. The military brass is doubly convinced of its greatness because they have always enjoyed impunity.
The idea that these military “leaders” could be short of clothes simply never occurs to them. Because of this arrogance of fools and the arrogance of the powerful seems uniquely combined in the military dictatorship.
With all this background, then, no one should be at all surprised when it is reported at The Nation that the new Army boss General Udomdej Sitabutr “vowed … there would be no military coup to oust the Prayut Chan-o-cha administration.” Additional hyphens aside, did anyone think Udomdej would: (a) shaft his boss on the first day; (b) announce a plan for a coup; (c) be so ungrateful that he would abandon his elder brother-in-arms?
No one, right? Yet Udomdej had to babble like a fool stating: “There won’t be [a coup], be it by those [in power] now or in the future.”
Of course not. Udomdej explains why: “The commanders have a common understanding and everyone is moving in the same direction…”. Who would not have guessed this?
Udomdej, the master of nothing other than the obvious, said “the Army would continue to serve as a main base for maintaining peace and order and would defend the monarchy institution [sic.] and try to end the conflict in the deep South.” He continued to explain that the military is positioned to stay central to Thailand’s politics: “I am ready to continue the task and deal with threats of all forms that are becoming more complex and broad…”. Udomdej explained that the junta’s repression is about “winning the trust of the public” while using propaganda for “fostering national unity and stability.”
Again, this is simply obvious.
Entering deep into the realm of the very ridiculous, Udomdej offered the Thai Army to ASEAN when he said he was “preparing [the Army] into becoming a strong Army for Asean…”. ASEAN must love the idea of having to accommodate another not very smart military dictatorship.
Meanwhile The Dictator, General Prayuth Chan-ocha (the one hyphen version), expressed confidence in Udomdej. Was anyone expecting anything else from, in the words of The Nation, another “Eastern Tiger” (2nd Infantry Division) and one who “has made his way to the top of the Army, succeeding his elder ‘tiger’ General Prayut…”.
That story at The Nation says that “Udomdej is quiet, calm and subtle.” We assume the report means in the context of loudmouth, angry and crude army leaders.
More important than anything, and an obvious requirement for the military-monarchy regime, Udomdej “is known to be decisive with determination and loyalty to the monarchy.” More repression, more lese majeste repression, more lese majeste stupidity and more ultra-royalism can be expected.
Update 1: While all this rather stupid military backslapping is going on, the ever more ludicrous sycophants at the Ministry of Education and Junta Propaganda have decided that licking military boots requires “producing a ballad for schoolchildren based on the ‘Twelve Values’ bestowed by junta leader and Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha.” The spineless types at the Ministry stated, without a hint of irony:
We are producing a song for schools,” said Kamol Rodklai, sec-gen of the Office of Basic Education Commission (OBEC). “But if it becomes popular, members of the public can adopt it, too.”
Kamol also suggested that the song about Gen. Prayuth’s Twelve Values could be used during “aerobic exercise” classes and theatre performances.
PPT liked the use of the slithering, drooling term “Bestowed” in the Khaosod story as it carries an air of royalty about it, and Prayuth is certainly positioning himself to a king with dementia in the same way that Sarit positioned himself as a father figure for the young and inexperienced king in the late 1950s.
Update 2: A reader points out a Thai PBS report, illustrated with a picture of Udomdej, dyed hair and a comb over, described as a “new army strongman.” After we shook ourselves to ensure we weren’t reading a report from 1958, we find the “new army strongman” has “vowed to protect the Monarchy against attempts by any element to insult or defame the revered institution,” as expected from a military that owes its political centrality to its alliance with the palace.
The “new army strongman” then sounds ridiculous in the extreme when he is quoted as having “vowed to protect democratic rule and full support for the forthcoming reform process to bring about national reconciliation.” Hasn’t he noticed? His boss is running a military dictatorship. Either Udomdej is no smarter than a wooden post or he’s imbibing the Orwellian doublespeak more than the average Army boss. When you then read some woolly-headed academics saying that the military is hugely “popular” and comparing the authoritarianism of the Thaksin Shinawatra regime with that of a repressive military dictatorship, you begin to despair for Thailand’s future in the hands of the walking dead, puppets, sycophants, dunderheads and clowns.