Tag: thailand

Anti-populist coups: Thaksin, dictatorship and Thailand’s new constitution

The “Red Shirts” movement has caused large-scale political instability, but it has brought to the fore critical questions about the road to Thai democratization.

For some years now Thailand has been undergoing a colossal political crisis, resulting in the 2014 coup d’état, the second military coup in the past 8 years. This was triggered by the rise of populist Thaksin Shinawatra within Thai politics. Fear of his powers mobilized the middle-class, elites and military against Thaksin. Specifically, two military coups were aimed at putting an end to “Thaksin’s party”, but both failed to achieve their goal. Thai society continues to be divided, and the pro-Thaksin movement (Red Shirts) retains its strength.

Thailand’s dictatorial regime recently held a referendum on a new constitution, aimed at reasserting control over Thai politics. Thai people voted in favor of the new constitution believing that it might restore stability. However this seems far from likely while Thailand’s political processes continue to be controlled by the military. More likely, the junta’s voting system in the next elections will produce a weak coalition administration and a Senate appointed by the army.

Thailand: Break Silence on Day of the ‘Disappeared’

Thailand’s government has failed to abide by its pledge to make enforced disappearance a crime under Thai laws, Human Rights Watch said today. August 30 is the United Nations International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances.

After years of advocacy by human rights groups, the Thai government on May 24, 2016, announced it would submit a bill to the national assembly that would criminalize torture and enforced disappearances. The government also said it would ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. However, the government provided no timeframe for implementing these pledges.

“Another year has passed with the Thai government failing to address the grave problem of enforced disappearances in the country,” said Brad Adams, Asia director. “As a result abusive officials continue to evade the punishment they deserve because Thai laws still don’t criminalize these cruel practices.”

Asia: US “Pivot” Turns to Panic

US foreign policy in Asia Pacific has centered around the so-called “Pivot to Asia,” initially rolled out as an alleged means for the US to strengthen ties with Asia, but was incrementally revealed as the latest leg in a decades-long attempt to encircle and contain China by overrunning the socioeconomic and political sovereignty of its neighbors, thus maintaining what US policymakers themselves refer to as American “primacy over Asia.”

It is no surprise then that nations across Asia have responded negatively to the “Pivot.” What gains the US has made, have been made through coercion, political subversion, and even terrorism – and this is done in front of an increasingly geopolitically aware Asian population.

Yet despite this, the US appears to still be struggling against both Asia’s overall desire to cooperate among themselves, and their own “pivots” toward alternative centers of power, in Beijing, Moscow, and beyond.

US Meddling in Thailand Boosts Bangkok-Moscow Ties

The so-called “Pivot to Asia” serving as the current underpinning of American foreign policy in Asia has been repeatedly exposed as a continuation of a decades-old cynical region-wide US gambit to encircle and contain China while establishing military, sociopolitical, and economic hegemony over China’s neighbors, particularly those in East and Southeast Asia.

US proxies have long held power in the Philippines and Japan, while Myanmar has recently found itself under direct Western influence through US-British proxy Aung San Suu Kyi and her army of US-British funded political fronts and faux-nongovernmental organizations (NGOs).