There is no doubt that Thaksin Shinawatra has made some serious mistakes over the years. There are several reasons for this that all are coming together to work against him. Ironically he is the source of the problem, but he would never admit to it, and that simply turns out to be one of the reasons.
There are several well documented personality disorders that people have (links below). Some of them can be very nasty while others can be very manipulative. Others feed egos of self grandeur, and still others simply enjoy bringing harm to others for self pleasure. If this description seems to describe personalities of past and present dictators, your perception is correct. How they got to be in such a position of power is simply because they are unable to turn this behavior off. When everyone else who is doing battle with them concludes they must have learned their lesson and should give up, that mistake is what leads guards to be dropped and the too late discovery that they did not learn their lesson and did not give up.
So to start to understand Thaksin’s mistakes you need to consider a few more things. First and significantly important is Thaksin has been on the run for many years. What Thailand was like when he left is the last snapshot he has of Thailand. But like everything that does not want to become extinct, Thailand has evolved.
Thailand has evolved on a political level where people who did not care a lot about politics are paying much closer attention. That is a direct result of Thaksin himself looking to divide society for his own personal gain. Also Social media has taken off thanks to smart phones and other devices people carry with them every place they go. So the speed of information now is seconds and minutes and no longer waiting for the daily paper to arrive.
As for some of Thaksin’s best known personal traits, he is extremely arrogant and only listens to himself. He is also a prolific liar often telling the exact opposite of his desires and intentions to the public. The bait and switch of the recent blanket amnesty bill is just one of the more recent examples.
Thaksin only cares about himself and as soon as he is done using people, he tosses them away just like used toilet paper. He also lacks empathy or has yet to display any. In a recent example that is also tied to the recent blanket amnesty bill, families of Red shirts who lost their lives in the 2010 political riots would not get justice and only Thaksin would benefit under the blanket amnesty bill. It was those that gave their lives for Thaksin who are the most deserving, but Thaksin did not care about them because he never did. They were only his pawns to be used and sacrificed if needed.
Thaksin also sees money as a measure of intellect in that only smart people have money. Unfortunately for Thaksin there is no sub-classification for ill-gotten money through corruption. In fact Thaksin sees corruption as just normal business practice because he wants the money the courts took from him back. He still sees it as his money and others were foolish enough to give it to him. If he acknowledged it was ill-gotten money, it would damage his ego.
There is a saying that goes “Use it or lose it.” It can be best understood in software upgrades. If the last version of software you used was released in 2008, you missed all the 5 increments between 2008 and 2013. Each change built on the last and as computers became more powerful, more features and options were added. So if some new function was added in 2009 and build on in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013, you likely would not have a clue how to use it and need to be re-taught the same software you were familiar with. This is what happened to Thaksin.
With Thaksin being on the run for so many years, he has to rely on people to tell him what is going on. When you add Thaksin does not listen to anyone but himself and bases his decisions on 2008 Thailand, you can start to see the roots of his mistakes. Add to that he is very impatient and all past attempts have failed, his level of frustration is understandably through the roof. That in turn causes him to push harder thus taking more risks. Then when you couple that with the people who are giving him the information don’t want to offend him and are trying to stay on his good side, they more than likely will tell him what he wants to hear and not the truth of the situation because he won’t listen anyway.
In this case Thaksin would be better off listening to a counselor or therapist because unlike a friend who will tell him what he wants to hear because preserving the friendship is top priority, a counselor or therapist will say it like it is without any condiments to give it added flavor. But even then Thaksin would just ignore that professional advise because it is not what he wants to hear, thus leading to the next mistake.
So when you start to add all of this together you can start to see Thaksin as an obsolete engine that frequently overheats. It resists tuneups in that all the parts that need to be swapped out are locked under the bonnet and Thaksin will not let anyone have the key.