When the Thai military staged a Coup in 2014, they enjoyed nearly 70% support from Thais because they were doing something that was seen as positive for Thailand. But now it seems they may be expanding their agenda and based on what that agenda is, they risk having the entire population turning on them as well as giving Thaksin ammunition to stage a comeback.
When the coup was staged in 2014, Thailand was in political deadlock. Stubborn self-serving pro Thaksin politicians refused to yield for the benefit of the country. For the most part it looked like Thailand had a busted drive shaft and the Junta was the guy in the tow truck ready to bring Thailand to the garage for some major drivetrain work.
The plan was simple on paper, provide the necessary medicine to move Thailand forward again under its own power. That included poisoning corruption so it would not flourish with ease, close the divide in Thailand that was one of Thaksin’s tools to regain power, and establish a new Constitution to tie it all together so the bad guys could not bypass the law. That was a good plan, and the Junta and the plan enjoyed significant majority support from the Thai people.
But as human nature is what it is, the longer things take, the more voices of opposition are heard. The people that are the most impatient and the people with an agenda are the first to speak up. However the Junta put a stop gap measure in place to silence those voices of discontent. For the most part that strategy works fine unless there is a flood of discontent. If that happens it is like a dam being topped in a flood, and it becomes and unstoppable torrent. If the Junta tries to stop a popular movement, they will just end up alienating themselves and the dam will not only be topped, it will fail.
For the most part, if the Junta stays the path and not expand its agenda, there is a fair chance of success. But if they expand their agenda and it starts to step on the toes of the good guys who support the original agenda, human nature will make them fight back. If that happens all will be lost and Thaksin will swoop in and pick up the pieces. All Thaksin would need to do is campaign against the unpopular expanded agenda, and things go right back to square one.
The expanded agenda item that looks to breach the dam is the single Internet Gateway plan. For the most part there seems to be unanimous condemnation of building a copy of China’s Great Firewall in Thailand. The only people that support it are the people who conceived the idea. For the most part it is like handing Thaksin a nuke to use against the junta.
Already Thailand has had a bad taste in their mouths with the habit of blocking websites and specific web pages. Trying to do research and discovering that one or more of the pages you need to access is blocked is just one example. It seems certain key words no matter the context cause pages to be blocked. Every single day more pages are blocked. The Junta’s excuse is stopping people who may cause a disturbance and disrupt the growing unity between Thais. There are other reasons for blocking including some alleged moral issues that suggest the Thai people of all ages are children and not adults. But that all comes back to human nature and the longer it takes to get things done on the original agenda, the more voices of discontent will be heard. When you add the blocking of websites because somebody decided they were immoral or whatever, it just hastens the flow of discontent.
So the answer is not a bigger firewall, the answer is stick to the original agenda that was announced days after the Coup. The closest metaphor would be like stitching closed a person’s anus, shortly after that the person will simply die. The Chinese Government is an example of this. They are simply on borrowed time as that mass builds behind those stitches.
Ironically people in the Thai military know about this. Their psychological warfare team is very likely to concur with everything in this entry. Their task will be to convince the Generals that in this case the carrot is far better than the stick, and that means to end their one Internet gateway plans.