Blogging the Coup In Thailand

Jim Moore’s free world politics and policy carries a local account of the coup in Thailand:

I know that “coup d’etat” sounds dramatic and makes Thailand appear a banana republic (or, as my political scientist friend calls Thailand, a banana monarchy), but in fact Bangkok is a very firt-world city, and this coup seemingly a very white-collar maneuver. Sure, it’s no surprise that a lot of the politicians are corrupt, and that there’s dissent in the ranks, but the issues have been playing out more on the stock exchange and Op-Ed page than the streets — that the military has taken control seems a bizarre response to the situation. It would be as if Enron middle-management had staged a coup.

The wild card, of course, is the king. The general who’s taken over doesn’t really want to retain power for himself and has declared his allegience to the king; even the tanks circling Government House are wearing yellow ribbons, the symbol of the monarchy.

But, the king isn’t a substitute for a prime minister, and he isn’t a replacement for Thaksin. A few months ago, when the dubiously-called elections were found to be dubiously-monitored and Thaksin the dubious winner, some of the opposition asked the king to intervene and appoint a prime minister. The king went on national television and scolded them: this is a democracy, he said, and a democracy holds elections. (To that point, Thaksin has been legitimately elected twice by an overwhelming majority.)

It seems to me with this coup that the general is now forcing the king’s hand, making him intervene and perhaps appoint someone else. Or, declare his support for Thaksin, which may be in the best interest of democracy but does not seem to be in keeping with the king’s personal taste.

It’s a curious kind of coup that a) declares allegience to someone else; b) puts that someone else in an impossible position; c) justifies itself by saying the country is too divided under the current leader, and a coup is therefore required to restore harmony; d) apologizes to the citizens for the inconvenience.

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2 Responses to Blogging the Coup In Thailand

  1. Abdurahman says:

    Thanks for the update on situation in Thailand. The king has endorsed the coup and that changes the whole equation.

  2. Phanu says:

    The coup in thailand has been very smooth with grateful reponse of most Thai people. If you have ever been to Thailand during last 2-3 years and had a chance to get to know political problems in our country. Then you should know the reason why we are so happy with this grateful military action.
    Most westerners always criticize Thailand from their own opinion without comprehension about all chaotic problems created by Mr. Thaksin- who earned almost 2 billion dollars during his PM’s period.
    If you look into the details why most of Thai people have been reluctant to Thaksin’s cabinet during last 2-3 years (except the grassroot poeple who were spoiled by his delicate policy) , you would realize that the military action seems to be the only hope for us to stop Thaksin’s aspiration to possess Thailand by his tricky democratic process.
    When we were facing the most difficult situation to find the fruitful result of democracy, you called our country as a banana monarchy. Let me ask ” Where were you?”
    When we need to solve our problems after we have swollowed your democratic theory without concerning the real fundamental of the republic commonwealth. Let me declare ” This is the way we are. You may criticize what ever you want about us, but let the Thais handle our banana republic in our own way because this place is our motherland…not yours.

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