It took a while to see enough dots on this, but finally they came into view. As you read on, you will see how this all makes sense and all decisions from the Thai government are all designed to insure Thaksin remains the man that can.
Because we were not on top of this from the beginning, some of the dots may not exactly be in chronological order, but once enough came into view, it was like discovering the arrival of a skunk with your nose.
The first and most important thing to understand, this is all about maintaining Thaksin’s voter base. Because they are mostly undereducated, appearance of action and effectiveness is key to getting through to them.
Once it was established that there would be no way to keep the mass of water out of Bangkok simply because it was the classic David vs Goliath, Thaksin made at least one announcement saying his little sister the Prime Minister was capable of doing the job without his help. So in classic Thaksin behavior, Thaksin distanced himself from where unpleasant things were going to happen. So any mess ups and loss of face that were sure to come, Thaksin would be free and clear of any criticism.
The next thing that happened, the government formed the Flood Relief Operation Center known as (FROC). Within a matter of days survey polls simply said that 90% of the people felt it was useless as the information they were giving was not truthful, and all designed to save face. Everyone got into the act urging them to tell the truth including Governments and the local chamber of commerce. However if you recall Thaksin never listened to anyone and only did what served him best.
Because of that useless information, others stepped forward and single handedly put FROC to shame. Local TV had their own experts and were being fed information from the public that was near real time. Also the local media and journalists with a Twitter account were doing their thing and reporting what they saw. Inside a week, cartoons were better viewing and provided a better public service than FROC.
Taking note, what information was coming out of FROC saying things were under control as dyke after dyke failed, and only calling for an evacuation when it was already obvious that standing in waste deep water was indication of a problem, clearly this is all about saving face.
Also recalling this behavior from seeing it in the past was most disturbing. Every disaster movie you can ever think of, there is always someone with some sort of authority who says not to worry and things are fine, and that is exactly what FROC is doing. If things follow through as they do in the movies, FROC and the Thai government will eventually be consumed by the floods and perish in one form or another.
The next thing was the Thai government turned down assistance from the US government, and that resulted in two different accounts of why. The US said they never had a formal request to help, and the Thai government said something else. That was followed up the next day with a damage control media release saying the Thai US relationship was fine. The general gut feeling was Thaksin could not be seen as asking for help. The US offered help with manpower and equipment, while others offered basic supplies like food, water but no boots on the ground. That way it could be later spun as Thaksin alone helping the Thai people. That is also supporting why a state of emergency was not called as it would mean the Thai military would be calling the shots and not Thaksin.
Meanwhile as the problem grew in magnitude and scope, saving Thaksin’s face became top priority. Even reports that Thaksin supporting Red Shirts were being given preferential treatment also matched a Thaksin behavior of the past. When Thaksin was Prime Minister he ignored areas of Thailand who did not vote for him. There are accusations that food and supplies were being given to Thaksin supporters first and that choices by FROC were favoring the well being of Thaksin supporters. Mental note this is the behavior of a dictator only rewarding his supporters.
As this is an ongoing event, it becomes a bit difficult to say where it will go, but in our prediction, every effort and decision will be made to save Thaksin’s face. Even throwing his younger sister to the political wolves is not beyond Thaksin. After all, she is just being used by him. So to say what will happen, the disaster and suffering will be much worse than it needs to be simply because the decisions of the Thai government are for one man and not for the people of Thailand.