Thailand in the News Week Ending 12/19/09

Thailand Making Plans for War?

An opposition leader this week accused the government of Planning military actions against Cambodia due to the recent strain between the two countries. Apparently the plans are a worst case scenario in case Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen and Thaksin Shinawatra took any action deemed to violate Thai sovereignty. The main fear is that together Hun Sen and Thaksin will establish a government in exile for Thaksin on Cambodian soil.

Pheu Thai MP Jatuporn Prompan said the military option was suggested in a confidential paper Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya sent to Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva on November 16 as a guideline for handling the conflict with Cambodia in a worst case scenario.

“Preparation of a military option is equivalent to preparing for war against Cambodia,” Jatuporn said.

“The end game is the normalization of relations rather than regime change,” Jatuporn quoted Kasit as saying in the leaked paper.

The paper called Thaksin “a major threat to the government”. The fugitive expremier is using a twopronged strategy to topple the government: cooperation with Hun Sen and activity by the Democratic Alliance against Dictatorship.

Thailand has already employed several diplomatic measures against Cambodia since Hun Sen appointed Thaksin as his and the Cambodian government’s economic adviser. The two countries downgraded relations in late October, Thailand scrapped a maritime deal with Cambodia, and Phnom Penh rejected Bt1.4 billion in loans from Thailand.

Cambodia has also rejected Thai demands to remove Thaksin from his position and extradite him to Bangkok.

Jatuporn said the Pheu Thai Party obtained Kasit’s confidential paper from a Foreign Ministry official. He distributed it to reporters during a press conference at party headquarters.

The paper suggested the government to get rid of the “major threat” (Thaksin) and bring an end to cooperation between Thaksin and Hun Sen.

It listed three possible scenarios in the diplomatic row between the two countries. Thailand could prevent Thaksin and Hun Sen from worsening the situation simply by refusing to respond to them and trying to find an influential figure or country able to persuade Cambodia to back down.

Second, if the conflict does increase in intensity, the Thai government would step up retaliation while remaining sensitive to its effect on ordinary people and the national interest.

Third, in the worst case, such as a violation of Thai sovereignty or anything resembling the establishment of a government in exile for Thaksin, Thailand would cut diplomatic relations and resort to using military force.

Meanwhile, the Foreign Ministry yesterday would not deny the existence of the document and its content but said it would set up a committee to find whoever leaked the document to the opposition party.

The ministry will consult the Office of the AttorneyGeneral about taking legal action against Jatuporn under the Information Act of 1997, said ministry deputy spokesman Thani Thongpakdee.

While this doesn’t bode well for relations between the two countries one has to wonder why the Thai government keeps playing directly into Thaksin’s hands. By continuing to play Thaksin off as a threat to the Kingdom they are giving him the legitimacy he needs to look powerful to his constituents. If the government would ignore Thaksin he would disappear from the headlines. Thaksin needs this exposure to keep him in the forefront of the of the peoples minds and lend credence to his cause.

If Thaksin should take action in some form against the Thai government then they should speak to the matter with strong language but continually reacting to Thaksin makes them look weak and indecisive. Hopefully this will all blow over and Thailand will continue with a diplomatic tact but if more news like this comes to light then diplomacy may be harder to come by for these neighboring countries.

Thai Christmas Carols

Harrison George wrote a great post this week over at Prachatai entitled Thai Christmas Carols. In the article he laments the oriental capitalism surrounding Christmas and suggested some new words for the old standards that are over played this time of the year. I’ll leave you this week with some of his new Christmas Carols Thailand style.

(to the tune of ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem’)

Oh little town of Buriram,
How still we see thee lie.
Above thy bribed complicity
Newin Chidchob rides high.

Yet in his dark dreams shineth
The everlasting fear.
Despite his guiles and all his wiles,
He may not make Premier.

(to the tune of ‘O Come All Ye Faithful’)

O come all consumers,
Spend in exultation,
Spend till your credit cards
Are a-all maxed out.
Glory to Mammon, in the highest.
O come let us go shopping.
O come let us go shopping.
O come let us go sho-opping,
Ti-ill we drop.

(to the tune of ‘Hark! the Herald Angels Sing’)

Hark! the exile Thaksin sing,
Phuea Thai is just the thing.
Keep the faith and win the polls.
Bring him back and save his gold.

Joyful will the nation rise
When he frees Cambodian spies.
With th’angelic voice proclaim
‘He will be PM again’

Lo! there’s Thaksin in the pink,
Glory to the video link.

(to the tune of ‘God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen’)

God rest ye merry PAD,
Let nothing you dismay.
Remember you can always mob
If things don’t go your way.
With party leader Sondhi Lim,
You’ll always win the day.
With a threat to shut down Suvarnabhumi,
With a threa-eat to shut down Suvarnabhumi.

(to the tune of ‘Deck the Halls’)

Deck the streets with reds and yellows,
Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la.
’Tis the time to club your fellows,
Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la.
Don we now our riot gear,
Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la.
And cause mayhem far and near,
Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la.

(to the tune of ‘O Tannenbaum’)

O Abhisit, O Abhisit
How do you get away with it?
With choir-boy grin and PR spin,
You somehow always seem to win.

Your Foreign Minister’s a joke
And Newin soon will go for broke.
Your party’s going to flop, I fear,
You’ll barely last another year.

(to the tune of ‘Once on Royal David’s City’)

Once in loyal Pa Prem’s city
Stood a house on Soi 32,
Where the Privy Council met in secret,
Making plans to have another coup.
Who was there, the state betraying?
No one knows. Pa Prem’s not saying.

(to the tune of ‘Santa Claus is Coming to Town’)

Oh you’d better not march,
You’d better not squat,
’Cause if you’re a Red,
You’re gonna get shot.
ISA is coming to town.

They’ve been making a list.
They know what you think.
And if you think wrong,
Then you’re in the clink.
ISA is coming to town.

They know who’s DAAD.
They know who’s UDD.
They know who’s wearing red or pink,
So wear pink and you’ll stay free.

Oh, you’d better not whinge,
You’d better not moan,
Keep your thoughts to yourself,
So they’ll leave you alone.
ISA is coming to town.

sig1 Thailand in the News Week Ending 12/19/09

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Comment by CatherineNo Gravatar Subscribed to comments via email
2009-12-21 09:25:27

It is totally frustrating to watch Thailand go down this path. Grrrrrrr…
Catherine´s last blog ..The SET Foundation: A Season for Giving Back My ComLuv Profile

Comment by TalenNo Gravatar
2009-12-21 14:49:17

So true Cat…hopefully it will all work out in some odd Thai way but I have a feeling this is the calm before the storm.

Comment by Thailand MusingsNo Gravatar Subscribed to comments via email
2009-12-21 13:35:57

No one can be sure what comes next Talen, but I certainly hope that war is not in the cards. There must be some cooler heads to prevail although I know that’s hard to believe considering the emotions that Thaksin seems to bring out in the normally non-confrontational Thai people. I honestly can’t see things going back to normal in Thailand until the issue of Thaksin is resolved. Hopefully that is sooner rather than later.
Thailand Musings´s last blog ..Mexico Photos My ComLuv Profile

Comment by TalenNo Gravatar
2009-12-21 14:51:43

Steve, None of us want to see war happen but it’s certainly possible with all the recent problems between the two countries. They were into minor gun battles last year over the Preah Vear site and that is another open wound for both countries.

Perhaps Cambodia is using Thaksin as a bargaining chip for the Preah Vear situation.

Comment by ChuckWowNo Gravatar
2009-12-22 07:15:15

I am not up on all of the political intrigue surrounding Thaksin Shinawatra but I believe the government’s position should be “out of sight, out of mind”.

If they want to flex their military muscle I think they should good down south and end that problem once and for all !

Comment by TalenNo Gravatar
2009-12-22 15:46:25

I have to agree with you Chuck…the problems in the South are never ending and they really need to exterminate the bugs they have down there.

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