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When politicians shelter behind uniforms


Lite Beer

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EDITORIAL
When politicians shelter behind uniforms
The Nation

BANGKOK: -- Military intervention becomes unnecessary if governments adhere to democracy

There have been times when every military reshuffle involving a colonel was closely watched and scrutinised inside and out, and there have been times when nobody really cared which Army general got what in a transfer season. Thai politics has seen the influences of the men in uniforms ebb and flow. Misguided ambition is partly to blame, but it takes two to tango.

The military’s political power is wielded through tanks and machine-guns, but it has to be aided by the weakening of conventional administrative power. Words like "opportunism" and "intervention" suggest things need to be wrong - or be perceived to be wrong - for high-ranking military officers to step in politically. Corruption is often cited, most often along with questionable loyalty to the monarchy.

Shortly after the 1992 "Black May" uprising, the military’s political standing hit its lowest point. The status became so low that some newspapers stopped publishing details of the annual Armed Forces reshuffles. The public did not really bother to know which man got to command which battalion or company, because their day-to-day lives were unlikely to be affected.

Then, slowly but surely, an old tradition returned. Politicians went back to assuming that political power - "democratic power" in the case of Thailand - had to be backed up by guns and tanks. Instead of strengthening the very foundations of democracy - checks and balances, transparency, honesty and accountability - politicians became more concerned with whether the men they could control could rise to important military posts. Instead of using integrity to shield democracy, they ironically presumed that the men in uniform could help them maintain their democratic power.

Such presumption led everyone down a slippery slope. Those holding political power resorted to nepotism and interfered with military reshuffles. Their enemies tried to do the same. High-ranking military personnel were made to feel politically important. And, all of a sudden, all major western embassies want to find out who controls an artillery force in the Northeast because that might dictate Thailand’s political future.

All eyes will be on military reshuffles this year for obvious reasons. Now everyone wants to know how interim Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha will consolidate his military power and whether there is a chance of a "counter-coup". The Armed Forces have been fully in the political spotlight for a while, but to blame that solely on them is refusing to acknowledge the root cause of the problem.

There is an argument that it doesn't matter how "honest" a government is because, if the military really wants to seize power, it will find a way. That argument is questionable at best. This is not a chicken-and-egg situation. The buck stops with the mainstream politicians. If they are honest and rule with integrity, all else should fall into place.

Political reform, therefore, should focus on giving politicians the right immunity. When it comes to corruption, parliamentary dominance or "solid backing" of the Armed Forces must be taken out of the equation. Politicians must not be allowed to think that as long as having the military on their side and unbeatable numbers in Parliament, they can do anything they like. For their own good, the politicians must be made to realise that the stronger they think they are - having relatives or friends in key military positions and all - the weaker they become democratically.

Democracy should be more about serving public interests than politicians barricading themselves against scrutiny or punishment. Only dictators do that. Democracy should be about allowing outsiders no pretext whatsoever to step in. Healthy democracy learns to protect itself, not blame others.

Source: http://www.nationmultimedia.com/opinion/When-politicians-shelter-behind-uniforms-30251594.html

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-- The Nation 2015-01-10

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One key phrase sticks out:

"The buck stops with the mainstream politicians. If they are honest and rule with integrity, all else should fall into place."

That's gonna be a very tall order here, and indeed in most other countries also.

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Until the military standing goes back to 1992 or until the military have just one goal the protection of the state not two, protection and rule Thailand will always remain an emerging country, a country that has now stagnated (since 1999) and now seems to be on track to become a backwater , laughed at and an irrelevant player in the region. coffee1.gif

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the very foundations of democracy - checks and balances, transparency, honesty and accountability

We dont have any of this now. As bad as it was before we did have checks and balances, the fact the amnesty bill failed proves so.

Absolutely, checks and balances that's why begin of last year we had the yearly Police Officer reshuffles approved by Thaksin. He checked and balanced.

The 'blanket amnesty bill' was pushed through parliament and if the anti-government protesters had listened to Ms. Yingluck to go home and wait the Senate might have OKed the bill as no one seemed to be against. As it was the bill was rejected by the Senate and dormant only.

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the very foundations of democracy - checks and balances, transparency, honesty and accountability

We dont have any of this now. As bad as it was before we did have checks and balances, the fact the amnesty bill failed proves so.

Absolutely, checks and balances that's why begin of last year we had the yearly Police Officer reshuffles approved by Thaksin. He checked and balanced.

The 'blanket amnesty bill' was pushed through parliament and if the anti-government protesters had listened to Ms. Yingluck to go home and wait the Senate might have OKed the bill as no one seemed to be against. As it was the bill was rejected by the Senate and dormant only.

there you go again...

there were plenty of people against the amnesty bill in it's final form. Including red shirts.

and not even the PDRC was protesting against the amnesty bill once it was killed.

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The political situation in Thailand will never change while the military retains so much power and influential backing.

As soon as an opposition appears that may be gaining traction then they resort to a coup to oust them.

Change will only occur after the power of the military is removed and they act as protection for the people and the country, not the oppressors.

It's not as if there are any military threats to Thailand that they would be able to deal with effectively, too top heavy.

True, true. The Military back into their barracks and with Thaksin controlling the Police Force (he OK-ed the yearly reshuffle last year) we move from Military junta to a simple 'Police State'. Big improvement rolleyes.gif

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the very foundations of democracy - checks and balances, transparency, honesty and accountability

We dont have any of this now. As bad as it was before we did have checks and balances, the fact the amnesty bill failed proves so.

Absolutely, checks and balances that's why begin of last year we had the yearly Police Officer reshuffles approved by Thaksin. He checked and balanced.

The 'blanket amnesty bill' was pushed through parliament and if the anti-government protesters had listened to Ms. Yingluck to go home and wait the Senate might have OKed the bill as no one seemed to be against. As it was the bill was rejected by the Senate and dormant only.

there you go again...

there were plenty of people against the amnesty bill in it's final form. Including red shirts.

and not even the PDRC was protesting against the amnesty bill once it was killed.

If you insist to go further away from the topic than tully already tried ...

The blanket amnesty bill was sent back tp parliament by the Senate. It was dormant only. The anti-government protesters kept protesting with the handling of the blanket amnesty bill as an example why they protested. The government attitude hadn't changed.

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We dont have any of this now. As bad as it was before we did have checks and balances, the fact the amnesty bill failed proves so.

Absolutely, checks and balances that's why begin of last year we had the yearly Police Officer reshuffles approved by Thaksin. He checked and balanced.

The 'blanket amnesty bill' was pushed through parliament and if the anti-government protesters had listened to Ms. Yingluck to go home and wait the Senate might have OKed the bill as no one seemed to be against. As it was the bill was rejected by the Senate and dormant only.

there you go again...

there were plenty of people against the amnesty bill in it's final form. Including red shirts.

and not even the PDRC was protesting against the amnesty bill once it was killed.

If you insist to go further away from the topic than tully already tried ...

The blanket amnesty bill was sent back tp parliament by the Senate. It was dormant only. The anti-government protesters kept protesting with the handling of the blanket amnesty bill as an example why they protested. The government attitude hadn't changed.

denying the events as they occurred doesn't make them go away Rubl.

I understand that you have no intention of recognizing what really happened to the amnesty bill.

The previous poster directly quoted and replied to the text from the article. That hardly seems off topic.

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If you insist to go further away from the topic than tully already tried ...

The blanket amnesty bill was sent back tp parliament by the Senate. It was dormant only. The anti-government protesters kept protesting with the handling of the blanket amnesty bill as an example why they protested. The government attitude hadn't changed.

denying the events as they occurred doesn't make them go away Rubl.

I understand that you have no intention of recognizing what really happened to the amnesty bill.

The previous poster directly quoted and replied to the text from the article. That hardly seems off topic.

The previous poster refer to the 'failing of the amnesty bill' as example that checks and balances worked.

The 'blanket amnesty bill' would not be rejected by the Senate and sent back to parliament if the anti-government protesters had listened to Ms. Yingluck. Now the 'blanket amnesty bill' wasn't passed, but laid dormant in parliament.

Furthermore tully is implicitly suggesting that the anti-government protests were an example of how well 'checks and balances' worked in Thailand. That seems somewhat strange.

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You can even hide and cower in monks robes and this makes you bulletproof if your a yellow dem!

When the history of these turbulent times in Thailand is written sometime in the future, Suthep will go down as one of Thailands all time Heros, the Shinewatras will go down as the Biggest bunch of corrupt and immoral people to ever hold positions of power in Thai government. whistling.gif

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This article does point out 'the bl33ding obvious' - Basil Fawlty - Don't give the military any excuse to come in with their tanks to justify yet another coup and you'll be okay. Admittedly very difficult here though ... coffee1.gif

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If you insist to go further away from the topic than tully already tried ...

The blanket amnesty bill was sent back tp parliament by the Senate. It was dormant only. The anti-government protesters kept protesting with the handling of the blanket amnesty bill as an example why they protested. The government attitude hadn't changed.

denying the events as they occurred doesn't make them go away Rubl.

I understand that you have no intention of recognizing what really happened to the amnesty bill.

The previous poster directly quoted and replied to the text from the article. That hardly seems off topic.

The previous poster refer to the 'failing of the amnesty bill' as example that checks and balances worked.

The 'blanket amnesty bill' would not be rejected by the Senate and sent back to parliament if the anti-government protesters had listened to Ms. Yingluck. Now the 'blanket amnesty bill' wasn't passed, but laid dormant in parliament.

Furthermore tully is implicitly suggesting that the anti-government protests were an example of how well 'checks and balances' worked in Thailand. That seems somewhat strange.

The 'blanket amnesty bill' would not be rejected by the Senate and sent back to parliament if ...

you have no idea if that would have happened. Given the half-appointed nature of the Senate with a conservative, yellow majority, and given the fact that the UDD also opposed the bill, it is probably more likely that the bill would have been killed in the Senate even without a protest.

And his example shows how things can function in an open society where people can speak their mind. Quite different from today.

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When the history of these turbulent times in Thailand is written sometime in the future, Suthep will go down as one of Thailands all time Heros, the Shinewatras will go down as the Biggest bunch of corrupt and immoral people to ever hold positions of power in Thai government. whistling.gif

Attempt at humour?

actually I think he's quoting from the current school books. laugh.png

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You can even hide and cower in monks robes and this makes you bulletproof if your a yellow dem!

When the history of these turbulent times in Thailand is written sometime in the future, Suthep will go down as one of Thailands all time Heros, the Shinewatras will go down as the Biggest bunch of corrupt and immoral people to ever hold positions of power in Thai government. whistling.gif

Unless, of course, the history is being written by one of the descendants of the baby-eating Shin-devils because, "as any fule kno":

"History is written by the victors" (Winston Churchill.)

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When the history of these turbulent times in Thailand is written sometime in the future, Suthep will go down as one of Thailands all time Heros, the Shinewatras will go down as the Biggest bunch of corrupt and immoral people to ever hold positions of power in Thai government. whistling.gif

Attempt at humour?

actually I think he's quoting from the current school books. laugh.png

Can't be, reference to the Shinawatras was supposed to be removed, allegedly that is rolleyes.gif

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If you insist to go further away from the topic than tully already tried ...

The blanket amnesty bill was sent back tp parliament by the Senate. It was dormant only. The anti-government protesters kept protesting with the handling of the blanket amnesty bill as an example why they protested. The government attitude hadn't changed.

denying the events as they occurred doesn't make them go away Rubl.

I understand that you have no intention of recognizing what really happened to the amnesty bill.

The previous poster directly quoted and replied to the text from the article. That hardly seems off topic.

The previous poster refer to the 'failing of the amnesty bill' as example that checks and balances worked.

The 'blanket amnesty bill' would not be rejected by the Senate and sent back to parliament if the anti-government protesters had listened to Ms. Yingluck. Now the 'blanket amnesty bill' wasn't passed, but laid dormant in parliament.

Furthermore tully is implicitly suggesting that the anti-government protests were an example of how well 'checks and balances' worked in Thailand. That seems somewhat strange.

The 'blanket amnesty bill' would not be rejected by the Senate and sent back to parliament if ...

you have no idea if that would have happened. Given the half-appointed nature of the Senate with a conservative, yellow majority, and given the fact that the UDD also opposed the bill, it is probably more likely that the bill would have been killed in the Senate even without a protest.

And his example shows how things can function in an open society where people can speak their mind. Quite different from today.

Complete rubbish.

First the so-called 'yellow majority' was not a majority. There was group of mostly appointed senators who were in a minority and did oppose the Shin mob in power.

SEcond, the fact that the UDD pretended to oppose the amnesty bill (see the difference between abstaining and opposing) was irrelevant.

Third, according to PTP spokesmen at the time, they did have a majority in the senate to pass the amnesty bill.

Fourth, Rubl is quite correct in questioning how a, admittedly large scale, protest is supposed to be a 'check and balance'.

Fifth, until there is real democracy here in Thailand, the military option will always be there. Thaksin knew this very well as he tried to gain control by shoe horning his cousin into the top position. It didn't work so he was left with virtually total control over the RTP, another failure of checks and balances here.

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When the history of these turbulent times in Thailand is written sometime in the future, Suthep will go down as one of Thailands all time Heros, the Shinewatras will go down as the Biggest bunch of corrupt and immoral people to ever hold positions of power in Thai government. whistling.gif

Attempt at humour?

actually I think he's quoting from the current school books. laugh.png

Can't be, reference to the Shinawatras was supposed to be removed, allegedly that is rolleyes.gif

Actually, I think a number of posters here may suffer serious disappointment in the long run. I recently came across this comment:-

"Mr Prem’s likely successor as a linchpin of Thai politics, Prawit Wongsuwan, is a mentor to Mr Prayuth who is now serving as defence minister. But Mr Prawit also served as army chief under Mr Thaksin. One of Mr Thaksin’s foot soldiers says the two sides are in “constant conversation”. Could Mr Prawit be a go-between between Mr Thaksin’s side and the generals?" (Economist, 6 December 2014)

Well I wouldn't put money on it but I suspect that the whole business may turn out very differently from what we currently anticipate. To re-phrase an old Yorkshire saying, "Where there's money, there's compromise".

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