Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

A Thai Coup

One night in Bangkok
The PM was in New York
He should have stayed home.

Bell-ringer 0015 23 Sep: My old shipmate Paul, whose thoughts on Thailand I trust, has this to say in the comments:
Apparently Taksin knew or strongly suspected this, because his whole family was out of the country. The Thai general in charge has close ties to the royal family, and is widely respected by the people. Very quickly, the Thai king endorsed the military takeover as necessary.

11 Comments:

Blogger Skippy-san said...

Thaksin has been asking for this for about 6 months. I very suprised the US news media has not picked up on that. They had an election 6 months ago and Thaksin did not like the results. So he stayed. This should suprise no one.

So long as the bars in Pattaya stay open......I'm OK with it.

9/20/2006 5:29 AM

 
Blogger PigBoatSailor said...

Brilliant Post ;-)

9/20/2006 9:37 AM

 
Anonymous another_bubblehead said...

That's funny, skippy-san - as Americans, I thought we were all about principles like "Democracy" and "Civilian Control of the Military". In fact, some people claim we're right now fighting for those things in places like "Iraq". But, perhaps I missed a memo. I'll check. In the meantime, I'm sure our President and Secretary of State, being always congruent with their highest ideals, will be denouncing the coup anytime now...

9/20/2006 1:06 PM

 
Blogger PigBoatSailor said...

a_b, you might want to check your facts before spouting off. Democracy, you say? How about:

Thaksin [The deposed PM] has been using Thailand as a front for his family telecommunications business, Shin, according to his critics. In January he made around $1.9 billion by selling his family's controlling stake to Singapore's state investment company, paying no tax on the sale. Opponents claimed the deal involved insider trading and the sale of national assets to a foreign government

So, abuse of power for personal profit. But wait, that could have been handled democratically, right?

In April, Thaksin staged and won a snap election in an attempt to defuse the crisis, only for the result to be ruled unconstitutional by the national court.

From here, not too hard to find.

So, they tried democracy, his elections were ruled dirty, and yet he stayed in power. So, is a coup democratic? Certainly not. Justified? Can't say. However, I can see why they might resort to it. But flame away.

Oh, and yes, Virginia, "The Bush administration expressed disapproval Wednesday over the military coup in Thailand and called for a swift restoration of democracy." Again, not hard to find.

9/20/2006 2:45 PM

 
Anonymous another_bubblehead said...

a_b, you might want to check your facts before spouting off.

Is that a new rule here or something? Must have missed that memo too...

Anyway, the key phrase,for me, in your first quotation:
Thaksin [The deposed PM] has been using Thailand as a front for his family telecommunications business, Shin, according to his critics.

I did, contrary to your assertion, "check my facts". What I see is a complex political and legal situation and an embattled Prime Minister who has both his critics who accuse him of corruption and other vile things, as well as his defenders. Kind of like the situation in a lot of democratic countries. Even, to some extent, our own during both this administration and the last one (with the sides switched around, of course).

Why do you think it's appropriate for Thailand to "solve" this problem with a military coup? You wouldn't advocate that here, would you?

So, they tried democracy, his elections were ruled dirty, and yet he stayed in power.

The Thai equivalent of our Supreme Court ruled that the elections were not constitutional. We have constitutional battles in this country too. Doesn't mean I want the generals to step in and "fix" them. Or perhaps you think that's how we should have handled Watergate?

Furthermore, if the special elections were ruled invalid, it makes sense that he would still be in power, given that his term hasn't expired yet...

Then there's the CNN article which you quote:

The Bush administration expressed disapproval Wednesday over the military coup in Thailand and called for a swift restoration of democracy.

"We're disappointed in the coup," White House press secretary Tony Snow told reporters on Air Force One as Bush returned to Washington from New York after meetings with world leaders and an address to the U.N. General Assembly.

"We hope those who mounted it make good and make good swiftly on their (promise) to restore democracy," Snow said.


Thank you for pointing this out. I had looked through three or four other news articles with no indication of an official response. However, this is so weak that it amounts to a green light. Issued by his press secretary, no less ... not important enough for the President or Ms Rice to say something in person. Compare that with the response some time ago to the disputed elections in Ukraine (not hard to find).

9/20/2006 3:57 PM

 
Blogger Skippy-san said...

I suscribe to a Thai newsletter that as late as 2 weeks ago said that there were rumors in the air of a coup and that folks there were suprised that Thaksin went to the conference.

My point was, that the Thai's will have to find there own way home. Same in Iraq. Democracy, effective democracy, cannot be forcibly midwifed. That has been proven true in Iraq and in Thailand as well as Turkey.

We kept Turkey as a NATO ally during the cold war even though the military overthrew the PM on several occasions. The Thai military like the Turks see themselves as the guardians of the state and the King. The opposition has been raising hell in Thailand for about 8 months now Thaksin gambled on an election that was contested and lost.

Point is Thailand needs the US and the US needs Thailand. Together they will find a way to muddle through. And if the Thai military is true to form they will turn over power to civilians in about a year or so.........

9/20/2006 7:35 PM

 
Blogger reddog said...

Oh My God! A corrupt Thai Politican! Who's ever heard of such a thing.

The amazing thing is that the Thai Generals were able to stop stealing from the people long enough to carry out the coup.

It is interesting though that the junta, when proscribing public gatherings of more than 5 people, specifically warned farmers, laborers and students to mind their own business. These are not groups usually associated with political graft and corruption.

I'm sure GW will reprimand them harshly and then send them another $100 million in military aid.

9/20/2006 9:51 PM

 
Anonymous another_bubblehead said...

I don't really have a problem with your second post, skippy-san - I mostly agree with you. I'll admit that after having studied and reflected on this a bit that I see more shades of gray here than I did this morning.

Still, I have a problem with endorsing the concept of a military takeover in a functional, or even a somewhat disfunctional, democracy ... except perhaps in the most dire of circumstances. I still doubt this qualified as such. Not that I can do anything about what happens in Thailand ... my biggest concern is the effect such thinking could eventually have on civil-military relations in my own country. Cheers.

9/20/2006 11:23 PM

 
Blogger ninme said...

Side-stepping the above melee, your post got a good chuckle out of Peter, Bubbles.

9/20/2006 11:33 PM

 
Blogger Bubblehead said...

Thanks, Ninme (and Peter) -- I think this may have been the first ever "Thai Coup Haiku".

9/21/2006 12:05 AM

 
Anonymous Paul said...

I've been keeping close tabs on this, mostly through my Thai wife.

reddog - the reason the farmers and laborers were requested to keep cool is they were Taksin's power base. He's had many superficial inconclusive investigations of his TRT party buying votes in the provinces.

Apparently Taksin knew or strongly suspected this, because his whole family was out of the country. The Thai general in charge has close ties to the royal family, and is widely respected by the people. Very quickly, the Thai king endorsed the military takeover as necessary.

9/21/2006 6:34 AM

 

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