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Thailand has become too militarised, analysts say


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Country has become too militarised, analysts say

By Piyaporn Wongruang
The Nation

 

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BANGKOK: -- THREE YEARS ago today, the coup took place with the military claiming it had to divert the country from the brink of collapse, as political conflict had divided Thai people and there was no light at the end of the tunnel – just deadlock.

 

Since that day, the country has become “very militarised”, according to some analysts, who fear that military-style thinking and practices will hold Thailand back rather than allow it to move forward.

 

Associate Professor Thitinan Pongsudhirak, director of Chulalongkorn University’s Institute of Security and International Studies in the Political Science Faculty, said Thai politics had become very militarised over the past three years, given that army officers had taken key positions of political power and corporate interest, with roles as law-makers and becoming directors in state enterprises.

 

This level of militarisation and the ubiquitous role of the military, he said, had not been seen since the 1950s and 60s. The pendulum in civil-military relations had clearly swung in the generals’ favour.

 

“It is evident that Thailand has a military government, overseen by a junta,” Thitinan said. “It is astonishing that not long ago many people thought Thailand was in the process of democratic consolidation.”

 

The more the military became involved in politics, the more its role became more entrenched, he said. What can be clearly seen is the military has sought to ensure long-term “supervision” of Thai politics via the drafting of a new constitution.

 

This, he said, meant Thai society was likely to see more tension ahead that may end up being resolved through conflict and confrontation.

 

In this sorry state of affairs, civilian politicians are equal culprits, he said, partly because elected politicians were not able to build enough legitimacy and popular support to sustain their rule. If people had more faith in elected politicians, the last two coups would have been much harder to stage, but this does not mean military generals are any better, Thitinan said.

 

“After three years, it is clear once again that there is no such thing as a good coup. The initial intention of the coup-makers may have been noble but eventually the reality will be about their power and interests,” he said.

 

General Ekkachai Srivilas, director of the Office of Peace and Governance at King Prachadipok Institute, said General Prayut Chan-o-cha and his team were better off in mapping out strategies and goals, but the shortcoming of being military officers was that they had studied the same set of knowledge and thinking. Plus, military grooming meant that hardly anyone dared to argue with their seniors. As a result, hardly any innovation, political or social, was likely to occur, he said. 

 

But the world was complex, he said, so the old sets of military knowledge and thinking could not keep up. Military people, he said, focus mostly on security issues, while leaving other facets and considerations behind.

 

Thailand has a challenge in relation to its structures, regimes and more importantly, the quality of its people, he said. 

 

Without realising these facts and having the flexibility to adjust their way of thinking to embrace them, it was very likely that people would be led into a new “black hole”.

 

“You must realist that the military are not groomed or taught to work in politics,” Ekkachai said. “We are taught to fight and win over enemies, but the very fact at present is Thai people are not enemies that the military have to fight and win over. 

 

“This will not be made possible by exercising hard powers but hearts. Power may help you get things done, but that is just temporary.”

 

Ekkachai believed that the military plan to fade out of politics one day, but said they would stay because this is a transitional period. He suggested that they should open their minds more and listen to others.

 

“There is one fact that we have to accept – the military can never go along with democracy. They are contradictory to one another by nature. The military should learn more, of the world around them, and of people around them,” the retired general said.

Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva, meanwhile, said a general expectation was for the NCPO, when they step down, to leave Thai politics in better shape than before the coup they staged in May 2014. 

 

The NCPO would be assessed by the public, he said, on whether or not they left Thai politics in better shape. For the rest of their time, Abhisit said the NCPO had to think about how to make politics work better after the next election than prior to the coup. “In doing so, they have to stick to democratic principles,” Abhisit said, adding that the military should go back to the barracks and focus on taking care of security matters. That would be the best thing for them to do after Thailand sees an election and democracy returns, he said.

 

To mark the third anniversary of the coup staged by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) on May 22, 2014, The Nation this week is publishing a series of articles looking at the event that has brought Thailand to the point where it is today.

 

Source: http://www.nationmultimedia.com/news/national/30315885

 
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4 minutes ago, webfact said:

BANGKOK: -- THREE YEARS ago today, the coup took place with the military claiming it had to divert the country from the brink of collapse, as political conflict had divided Thai people and there was no light at the end of the tunnel – just deadlock.

 

Since that day, the country has become “very militarised”, according to some analysts

Well, duh...

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9 minutes ago, webfact said:

 

“You must realist that the military are not groomed or taught to work in politics,” Ekkachai said. “We are taught to fight and win over enemies, but the very fact at present is Thai people are not enemies that the military have to fight and win over. 

Not everyone may agree with that. 

Edited by Bluespunk
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3 hours ago, webfact said:

“After three years, it is clear once again that there is no such thing as a good coup. The initial intention of the coup-makers may have been noble but eventually the reality will be about their power and interests,” he said.

Who's off to the military retraining camp then. Getting rid of these military megalomaniacs will be very diificult. Maybe this country needs a peoples' revolution. Could call it The Lotus Revolution.

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1 hour ago, Raymonddiaz said:

Maybe Thai people don't want democracy after all. Most of them don't fight for their rights......Well done Assistant Professor you know your subject! 

IMHO your partly right.. but that is like this guy says because of the politicians. You had a convicted criminal leading a government bent on having all h is crimes pardoned. Secret votes while the opposition was send away. 500 billion off books loss in a so called cost free program. Tablets that were in reality totally different then what the leader showed at first. The government themselves involved in corruption at the highest level with fake rice deals (to get their cut from the rice deals). I am sure I am forgetting many things that went wrong. But with leaders like that who are hell bent on staying in power and unleashed their own terrorists on anti government protesters who can say they have good choices to vote on. Because of leaders on both sides.. constant protests and blockades.

 

Too much money is to be made in Thai politics so crooks are attracted to it. The Thai people know this and why would they risk their security to get them in power (when paid they turn up to protests). There are genuine protesters I know them but there are a lot of them paid to protest. As long as the selection of politicians is bad and the politicians are crooks it does not really matter who leads the country military or politicians. 

 

If there were some politicians who were genuinely good then yes things could change... but I havent seen those.. only those that are there to make money for themselves.

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My wife sees the coup 3 years ago as an event that had to happen to quell the daily civil unrest. I agree. When civil authorities are clearly incapable of dealing with anarchy, then someone has to step up to the plate.

 

Could have been a lot worse .... there are some truly awful military regimes currently in power around the world.

 

I really don't know much about Thai economy, and the learned Professor probably has plenty of valid points, but let's be honest, most of us still enjoy the same lifestyle as pre coup, and Thailand is still being touted globally as the hub of Asia.

 

However badly manipulated, an election sometime soon would be a desirable small step for Thailand's future.

 

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3 hours ago, Raymonddiaz said:

Maybe Thai people don't want democracy after all. Most of them don't fight for their rights......Well done Assistant Professor you know your subject! 

It's not that most Thai people don't want democracy.

Being in the vanguard here, fighting for your rights, almost certainly leads to jail and possibly to death.

In the same situation would you be a willing martyr for the cause?

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3 minutes ago, Smarter Than You said:

It's not that most Thai people don't want democracy.

Being in the vanguard here, fighting for your rights, almost certainly leads to jail and possibly to death.

In the same situation would you be a willing martyr for the cause?

Yes if It was my country. I was born in a democratic country, freedom of speech and it's my first time living in a dictatorship.

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1 hour ago, electric said:

My wife sees the coup 3 years ago as an event that had to happen to quell the daily civil unrest. I agree. When civil authorities are clearly incapable of dealing with anarchy, then someone has to step up to the plate.

 

Could have been a lot worse .... there are some truly awful military regimes currently in power around the world.

 

I really don't know much about Thai economy, and the learned Professor probably has plenty of valid points, but let's be honest, most of us still enjoy the same lifestyle as pre coup, and Thailand is still being touted globally as the hub of Asia.

 

However badly manipulated, an election sometime soon would be a desirable small step for Thailand's future.

 

Let's be clear here, the military could have put a stop to the "unrest" at any time of their choosing without resorting to a coup.

The fact is the "unrest" was a military operation to create a pre-text for a coup.

That your life hasn't been inconvenienced is no proof that the coup was/is a good thing.

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1 minute ago, Raymonddiaz said:

Yes if It was my country. I was born in a democratic country, freedom of speech and it's my first time living in a dictatorship.

Easy to say yes to a hypothetical situation.

 

My guess is that you, like most people,  would like to imagine that you would be willing to risk your life (and perhaps your families life) but were you ever actually required to make that decision in the real world ...?

 

It's very easy to be brave and chest-thump about principles when you have nothing at risk

 

thai_massacre.jpg?itok=kbTBfQ-m

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Not that I support them but coups have a 'use by date' , only effective in the very short term. They go right off the rails when the perpetrators seek to be the permanent govt ( or at least seek to determine the make-up of any subsequent govt).

Huffing and puffing military types are never a solution to domestic problems. Reminiscent of Greece in the 60s, Argentina in the 70s ( right down to the uniforms).

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3 hours ago, Raymonddiaz said:

Maybe Thai people don't want democracy after all. Most of them don't fight for their rights......Well done Assistant Professor you know your subject! 

Coud not agree more they are to weak to protest for there  rights now , unhappy underdictatorship only talk the talk cant walk the walk , unlees there 3 or 4 guys beating up an old lady or security guard . Thai's get what they deserve 0 ! Dare to struggle dare to Win . Stand up for your  country subs are only for jaunta to escape with whats left of the country's money of any , l could not believe it would be worse than the shinawatra family era " if that was not bad enough , dictatorship thats what they get + dislike all farangs we not isis , l moved to Vietnam where im welcomed 3 entry tourist visas , actually more freedom and no problems with multiple entrys , buy a house or start a business + simple in your name working visas they want us " 5 years and u can get citizenship if u want " very excepting to have duel passports " they are a comminust country " hard to believe , more freedom than western country's and pay same prices as locals do not one for farang and one for the thais racists country now . Just pack up and leave no one there now ! Last one to leave just turn the lights off ! Amazing Thailand 5 5 5 

Edited by Mad mick
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49 minutes ago, Smarter Than You said:

Let's be clear here, the military could have put a stop to the "unrest" at any time of their choosing without resorting to a coup.

The fact is the "unrest" was a military operation to create a pre-text for a coup.

That your life hasn't been inconvenienced is no proof that the coup was/is a good thing.

You mean like the 2010 unrest where the military put a stop without resorting to a coup. The unrest in 2010 was more dire than the 2013 Bangkok shutdown. You made a good point Sir. 

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8 hours ago, webfact said:

Plus, military grooming meant that hardly anyone dared to argue with their seniors. As a result, hardly any innovation, political or social, was likely to occur, he said. 

 

The meat of the statement. Another green shoot of hope springs up. Second one in a couple weeks. The junta has flim flammed the poor and down trodden but this guy is a thinker educated another kettle of fish. Article 44 material.?

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It seems that both sides of politics need to sit down and talk to devise a plan for governance with which they both agree, while still maintaining their differences of opinion, that can be sold to the Thai public as a viable alternative to the military dictatorship.

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1 hour ago, Mad mick said:

Coud not agree more they are to weak to protest for there  rights now , unhappy underdictatorship only talk the talk cant walk the walk , unlees there 3 or 4 guys beating up an old lady or security guard . Thai's get what they deserve 0 ! Dare to struggle dare to Win . Stand up for your  country subs are only for jaunta to escape with whats left of the country's money of any , l could not believe it would be worse than the shinawatra family era " if that was not bad enough , dictatorship thats what they get + dislike all farangs we not isis , l moved to Vietnam where im welcomed 3 entry tourist visas , actually more freedom and no problems with multiple entrys , buy a house or start a business + simple in your name working visas they want us " 5 years and u can get citizenship if u want " very excepting to have duel passports " they are a comminust country " hard to believe , more freedom than western country's and pay same prices as locals do not one for farang and one for the thais racists country now . Just pack up and leave no one there now ! Last one to leave just turn the lights off ! Amazing Thailand 5 5 5 

Wow, there you go... irrefutable evidence to prove that the more tourist visas a country offers to non-citizens, the more democratic it must be.  :whistling:

 

Thailand must have something to appeal to you Mick; surely it is more than the Thai Visa Forum.  Seriously, how weird is it that you still feel compelled to visit this forum.

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4 hours ago, electric said:

My wife sees the coup 3 years ago as an event that had to happen to quell the daily civil unrest. I agree. When civil authorities are clearly incapable of dealing with anarchy, then someone has to step up to the plate.

 

Could have been a lot worse .... there are some truly awful military regimes currently in power around the world.

 

I really don't know much about Thai economy, and the learned Professor probably has plenty of valid points, but let's be honest, most of us still enjoy the same lifestyle as pre coup, and Thailand is still being touted globally as the hub of Asia.

 

However badly manipulated, an election sometime soon would be a desirable small step for Thailand's future.

 

Thailand is not being touted GLOBALLY as the hub of Asia but it is being touted as the hub of Asia by Thailand, which also considers itself as the centre of the Universe  as well as the hub of virtually everything else.

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44 minutes ago, elgordo38 said:

Not physically but the hearts and minds come to mind. 

The family and friends of the activist shot dead earlier this year may disagree. 

Edited by Bluespunk
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