When it comes to Thailand and the political rift, even non-Thais find themselves taking sides. Politics in Thailand has seemingly found it’s way to the international stage because of the effects on tourism and the border dispute with Cambodia.
At first glance to the untrained eye, Thailand is a wonderful southeast Asian country famous for it’s kind and loving people, some of the most splendid beaches anywhere in the world, and a variety of others things. Thailand is a wonderfully addictive country and once addicted the discussions often heard at the departure gate at the airport are about when they will return to Thailand and how they will endure when they are away.
After your first glance you can’t help but notice the political tension and the very clear divisions between the Thais both inside and outside of Thailand. Thailand’s politics has been thrust onto the international stage both accidently and deliberately. Now that it is there, it has become as amusing to watch as a good soap opera, because essentially that is what it has become to the rest of the world. There are very clear villains and good guys and taking sides becomes very easy as there is no grey area when it comes to that in Thailand these days.
The villain who now has been properly certified as a villain by Thailand’s high court and promptly sentenced to spend some quality time in jail is non other that Thaksin Shinawatra. He is also the person responsible for putting Thailand’s politics on the world stage. Thaksin used Manchester City football club as a platform to remain visible to his supporters, and as a result got the attention of football fans from around the world. Even football fans that did not care much if anything at all about Thailand’s politics got sucked in needing to take one side or another.
Adding to the list of villains are Thaksin cronies. At this point this soap opera starts to look a lot like a Batman movie where the main villain has a gang of under talented dimwits that follows him around. They blunder along only making things worse for themselves as they seemingly step into one pile of organic goo after another.
On the good guys side there is the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) who are a group of Thai citizens fed up with Thaksin and his raping of Thailand. They have a broad base of support that covers the entire spectrum in Thailand. All it takes is a simple understanding of morals and ethics and a reasonable level of education, and choosing to side with the PAD is a no brainer.
To further make another twist and turn in this soap opera, there is one or more third party groups protesting the protestors. So we have the primary villain and his cronies being protested by the PAD who in turn are being protested by a third group that supports the primary villain. If this all is starting to look like a dog chasing his tail going around and around, your observations would be about right. In fact a group lead by former deputy national police chief General Salang Bunnag may be the start of Thaksin’s own private army just getting into the game. If that is the case it just demonstrates another reason why there in no grey here. Clearly this would be uncalled for as it most certainly will spill some blood.
This in turn brings us to another player being the high Thai court. Excluding the lower courts that are still riddled with corruption, the high court has been amongst the best anyplace in the world. The King has personally seen to that with more than one meeting with the judges. As Thai politics is now on a global stage, rest assured that every country that has an embassy in Bangkok is watching the Thai court with great interest. With each ruling that is handed down, the embassies take the ruling and analyze it as compared to their own high court and how they would likely have ruled. The findings have been high marks across the board. This is especially important in Great Britain where Thaksin is hiding out. No doubt this will be considered with any asylum request by Thaksin.
The fact that Thaksin is trying to say that the court ruling and conviction was in a political court is Thaksin’s own spin, and that comment tends to once again insult the intelligence and wisdom of others. People that are familiar with Thaksin will note that when Thaksin makes public statements they are almost always opposite the truth, this time is no different. The courts in Great Britain will no doubt see this as a guilty man trying to justify his crime without any sign of remorse. Thaksin’s comment will also reflect on the court in London that will decide on his asylum, extradition and anything else that should come up and force the court to appear to have taken sides. Although most will see past this attempt, the lesser educated Thais that support Thaksin will be easily fooled by this spin.
So essentially Thaksin has placed the London court in the middle of Thai politics and any ruling that favors Thaksin will no doubt become a political tool for Thaksin to discredit the Thai courts and further widen the rift in Thailand. So once again even if you don’t want to take sides about things in Thailand, you are Being forced to choose.