The title of this entry can be a bit deceiving and easily seen as being pro-Junta. However the fact of the matter is the Government the Junta unseated was doing such a bad job, that most anyone who has a good level of competence and basic common sense could have done better than the pro-Thaksin Government they unseated.
The pro-Thaksin Pheu Thai Party (PTP) was very simply all about Thaksin and little if anything to do with the Thai people. Using damaging and corruption filled populist policies to secure votes, the PTP simply opened a wound and refused to tend to the bleeding. The bleeding was so intense, it eventually hurt the people it was meant to help with failed payments to farmers for pledged rice.
Then when the PTP was challenged by street protests, the focus of the PTP was to ignore common sense and to hold on to power at all costs. That simply amounted to neglect and perhaps paved the way for future legal proceedings to further dismantle the PTP once democracy is restored.
The interesting thing is foreigners living in Thailand who are from democratic countries including the United States are supportive of the Junta. They recognized Thailand was sick and broken and the Coup was seen as extreme medicine. Martial law is seen as a cast that limits movement so a broken bone can heal. The removal of pro-Thaksin politicians and appointees is no different than administering an antibiotic to kill off an infection. These metaphors are so simple yet so accurate, it becomes absurd to find a reason to not do what the Junta is doing.
With a 8.82 approval rating for the first month out of a possible 10.00, it more or less puts shame on the countries who punished Thailand for staging a Coup. Although it is just an approval rating, it does reflect the will of the Thai people and that translates to the understanding a stronger power was needed to end the damaging political impasse cause by Thaksin.
However as the easy stuff tends to come first, now the more critical work has found it’s way to the top of the To-Do list. There has been some open conversation about the Junta’s ability to deal with this challenge, but it also seems the people with the knowhow are also the same people who want to put Thaksin at the bottom or off the list of people who would benefit from their expertise.
The Junta is even making significant headway with stamping out various Mafias in Thailand starting with the ones that have negative effects on tourism like taxi Mafias. Mafias need to have some connection with corrupt local officials to prosper. So dealing with the military is a different story as they are likely to encounter the business end of a M16 rifle first.
Even the general feel in Thailand is that of reduced stress and anxiety. The political conflict is subdued, and the Junta clearly has the best interest of Thailand first. That alone is a welcome relief after years of helping Thaksin being top priority of the Government.