Martial Law in Thailand

Casual discussion amongst spiritual friends.

Re: Martial Law in Thailand

Postby mikenz66 » Fri May 23, 2014 10:54 am

What can I say about the crazy contradictions of Thailand?

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Re: Martial Law in Thailand

Postby mikenz66 » Fri May 23, 2014 11:19 am

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Re: Martial Law in Thailand

Postby mikenz66 » Fri May 23, 2014 11:20 am

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Re: Martial Law in Thailand

Postby Dan Rooney » Fri May 23, 2014 11:55 am

Why, oh why am I responding?...so many inaccurate, out of proportion, misguided inferences in the previous posts...suffice it to say that, unequivocally, what's transpired recently is for the better


If you've got something to say, say it; if you don't, don't. But your last sentence is unequivocally wrong and I'm horrified to see anyone supporting such a brazen assault on democracy. Shame on you. Really, really shameful. Anyone who has spent more than 5 minutes investigating Thai history will know that coups here solve nothing. After all, 2006 was supposed to reset the country but that has directly led to 3 judicial coups, 1 military coup, and the Ratchprasong slaughter of one hundred dead and several thousand wounded. There is every chance that this latest disaster will be worse.

...believe what you will...


You do at least seem to have taken your own advice to heart.
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Re: Martial Law in Thailand

Postby Dan Rooney » Fri May 23, 2014 11:57 am

What can I say about the crazy contradictions of Thailand?


Nothing unusual about Thailand. In every country, you can find people only too happy to polish the chains of their own oppression. On the other hand, of course, Thailand has been subject to a peculiarly long and intense propaganda offensive - the fruits of which we seeing right now.
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Re: Martial Law in Thailand

Postby appicchato » Fri May 23, 2014 12:17 pm

...I'm horrified to see anyone supporting such a brazen assault on democracy.


Horrified is to see anyone describing Thailand (now, or ever) as a democracy...

Be well...
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Re: Martial Law in Thailand

Postby appicchato » Fri May 23, 2014 12:20 pm

You mean a coup is for the better of Thailand and the Thai population?


Potentially, yes...
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Re: Martial Law in Thailand

Postby Mr Man » Fri May 23, 2014 12:49 pm

appicchato wrote:
You mean a coup is for the better of Thailand and the Thai population?


Potentially, yes...


So you support the coup?
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Re: Martial Law in Thailand

Postby Anagarika » Fri May 23, 2014 12:53 pm

I hate to generalize about politics, but the Buddha did teach renunciation, and the Eightfold Path. Thailand is a Buddhist country, and the most honorable King of Thailand spent time in robes. If ever Dhamma could be of benefit to Thailand, now is the time.

What have observed I that some of both the Yellow and Red political leaders have, when in power, enriched themselves with Thai taxpayer funds. As Thailand potentially enters a period of slow or no growth, it will be necessary for some intervention to occur to stem the tide of money outflow into political parties and cronies. Leadership on both sides needs to forsake street violence as a means of political influence. Thai political leaders should be enriching the country, and not themselves, no matter which segment of society they purport to represent. The poor should be supported, the middle class encouraged, and the oligarchs and money grubbers interrupted. All classes of Thai society should feel they have a voice in their government.

If the military can act as an intervenor, establish order and facilitate mediation between the political factions, then some good might come of this. However, the track record of military coups globally is not good, and I have deep concerns that the military placing itself in charge may lead to more dysfunction in Thailand, more capital outflow, and an interruption of the critical tourism industry. If this coup is to be of benefit the military must only act to intervene, establish peace instead of chaos, and then act to place right minded nonmilitary leaders in charge to set temporary national policy, calm the Thai business and capital markets, and establish a path toward constitutional elections.

That's my two baht. I have spent a lot of time in Thailand, and love the country and its people, and want only the best outcome from this process.
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Re: Martial Law in Thailand

Postby Dan Rooney » Fri May 23, 2014 12:58 pm

Horrified is to see anyone describing Thailand (now, or ever) as a democracy...


An unbelievably asinine comment. Just incredibly stupid. Democracy is not a binary condition - countries exist as democracies to greater or lesser degrees. Some countries are far enough along the continuum (North Korea for example) that they can safely be labelled as non-democracies. It should be absolutely clear to anyone in possession of a functioning brain that this is (or at least was until a few days ago) not the case for Thailand. Was, prior to the imposition of military rule, Thailand as democratic a state as the Scandinavian countries? Obviously not. Does this mean that Thailand was not a democracy? Obviously not. Does the action of the judiciary in usurping power the power of an elected government (elected in a process which is recognized as having met international standards) increase the strength of the democratic process? Obviously not. Does the seizure of power by the military, the suspension of most of the constitution (all those parts which relate to democracy and human rights but not those which relate to the entrenched power of the elite in state institutions) and the cancelling of elections increase the strength of the democratic process? Obviously not.
Last edited by Dan Rooney on Fri May 23, 2014 1:14 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Martial Law in Thailand

Postby Dan Rooney » Fri May 23, 2014 1:10 pm

then act to place right minded nonmilitary leaders in charge to set temporary national policy, calm the Thai business and capital markets, and establish a path toward constitutional elections.


The only reason that that appears even remotely like a sensible thing to say is because Thailand has experienced six months of an extreme reactionary/fascist insurrection which has been aided actively (see for example Navy Seals acting as hired guns for the PDRC) and passively (see for example the intimidation of police by the army at candidate registrations) by the very armed forces who are now expected to act in some improbably impartial way. We had perfectly good constitutional elections; they only problem is that the elites (including the army who now run the show) didn't agree with the people's choice. As for whether or not the army can pull off what you expect - they've never done it before and I'm pretty confident that they're not going to do it now. Do you really think that a man who sent out snipers to shoot down unarmed protesters by the dozen is, four years later, suddenly going to act in the best interests of those very same people?
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Re: Martial Law in Thailand

Postby Mr Man » Fri May 23, 2014 1:36 pm

I fear for Thailand right now.
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Re: Martial Law in Thailand

Postby Dan74 » Fri May 23, 2014 2:01 pm

Dan Rooney wrote:
Horrified is to see anyone describing Thailand (now, or ever) as a democracy...


An unbelievably asinine comment. Just incredibly stupid. Democracy is not a binary condition - countries exist as democracies to greater or lesser degrees. Some countries are far enough along the continuum (North Korea for example) that they can safely be labelled as non-democracies. It should be absolutely clear to anyone in possession of a functioning brain that this is (or at least was until a few days ago) not the case for Thailand. Was, prior to the imposition of military rule, Thailand as democratic a state as the Scandinavian countries? Obviously not. Does this mean that Thailand was not a democracy? Obviously not. Does the action of the judiciary in usurping power the power of an elected government (elected in a process which is recognized as having met international standards) increase the strength of the democratic process? Obviously not. Does the seizure of power by the military, the suspension of most of the constitution (all those parts which relate to democracy and human rights but not those which relate to the entrenched power of the elite in state institutions) and the cancelling of elections increase the strength of the democratic process? Obviously not.


An unbelievably rude comment, especially towards a Sangha member.

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Re: Martial Law in Thailand

Postby Dan Rooney » Fri May 23, 2014 2:16 pm

Perhaps but supporting the establishment of a military dictatorship is, likewise, a touch rude, wouldn't you say? Especially from a Sangha member. And of the two, I think the future of Thai democracy is rather more important than the hurt feelings of one man, even, yes, one in a robe. But if you find my pointing out the blindingly obvious unbearably offensive, you are, of course, free to ban me.
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Re: Martial Law in Thailand

Postby daverupa » Fri May 23, 2014 2:24 pm

There's no need for bans or any other adminstration at this point, but let us all remember two things:

1. Right Speech
2. Talk of kings, robbers, and ministers of state is low talk, animal talk; instead, let us each convey, with mindfulness, a patient and even-handed conversation about these important issues.

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    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Martial Law in Thailand

Postby chownah » Fri May 23, 2014 4:00 pm

Dan Rooney,
Since you emphasize the democratic qualities of Thai society, politics, and government I would be interested in hearing what elements of the democratic process you see as functioning in Thailand before the coup.
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Re: Martial Law in Thailand

Postby Dan Rooney » Sat May 24, 2014 2:48 am

^ Some areas are:

In 2011, there were free and fair elections. There was a high voter turnout and seats (and party lists) were contested by wide range of candidates. Evidence of vote-buying was low (I think 5 red cards were handed out) and the election was accepted as valid by essentially everyone. The electoral system, mixing FPP and party lists, does a reasonable job of producing governments which reflect national voting patterns.
There was (until recently) a (semi-) viable opposition.
There is a vibrant civil society, highly involved in political life (for example, The Assembly for the Defence of Democracy has just shy of a million supporters. Note the name: defence, not establishment).
There was (until very recently) an active and engaged media, representing a broad range of political opinions.
There is separation of powers, with judicial review of the government.

There are, of course, also major failures with the system of governance in Thailand including, but not limited to:

Unelected bodies are able to wield power way beyond anything which could reasonably be justified - the judiciary in particular, but also the 'independent agencies' and the unelected portion of the senate, sit above the electoral process and are able to decide on matters far from their remit, overruling the democratic process, either in terms of policy (the high-speed train, for example) or elections themselves (the last 3 elected PMs).
The feudal system lives on in the extraordinarily large numbers of political families in parliament/government.
The civil service is deeply politicized and closely aligned with the Democrats/PDRC.
The main opposition party no longer believes in democracy and neither do large swathes of the middle classes.
Even at the best of times, civilian control of the military is non-existent.
Freedom of speech is non-existent in certain areas (112, most obviously).
State transparency and accountability is low to non-existent.

But none of these failures are going to be rectified by a military dictatorship, most of them having in fact been made worse as a direct consequence of the last spell of military rule and given the way that this coup is shaping up, it's now reasonable to expect the situation to deteriorate further, probably dramatically.
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Re: Martial Law in Thailand

Postby plwk » Sat May 24, 2014 3:00 am

On another note Kim, have I told you how much I worship Thai cuisine, never mind their politics and religion?
And it's just 2 hours away here from lunch... :mrgreen:
Bhikkhus, if you develop and make much this one thing,
it invariably leads to weariness, cessation, appeasement, realization and extinction.
What is it? It is recollecting the Enlightened One.
If this single thing is recollected and made much,
it invariably leads to weariness, cessation, appeasement, realization and extinction.

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Re: Martial Law in Thailand

Postby chownah » Sat May 24, 2014 4:16 am

Dan Rooney wrote:^ Some areas are:

In 2011, there were free and fair elections. There was a high voter turnout and seats (and party lists) were contested by wide range of candidates. Evidence of vote-buying was low (I think 5 red cards were handed out) and the election was accepted as valid by essentially everyone. The electoral system, mixing FPP and party lists, does a reasonable job of producing governments which reflect national voting patterns.
There was (until recently) a (semi-) viable opposition.
There is a vibrant civil society, highly involved in political life (for example, The Assembly for the Defence of Democracy has just shy of a million supporters. Note the name: defence, not establishment).
There was (until very recently) an active and engaged media, representing a broad range of political opinions.
There is separation of powers, with judicial review of the government.

There are, of course, also major failures with the system of governance in Thailand including, but not limited to:

Unelected bodies are able to wield power way beyond anything which could reasonably be justified - the judiciary in particular, but also the 'independent agencies' and the unelected portion of the senate, sit above the electoral process and are able to decide on matters far from their remit, overruling the democratic process, either in terms of policy (the high-speed train, for example) or elections themselves (the last 3 elected PMs).
The feudal system lives on in the extraordinarily large numbers of political families in parliament/government.
The civil service is deeply politicized and closely aligned with the Democrats/PDRC.
The main opposition party no longer believes in democracy and neither do large swathes of the middle classes.
Even at the best of times, civilian control of the military is non-existent.
Freedom of speech is non-existent in certain areas (112, most obviously).
State transparency and accountability is low to non-existent.

But none of these failures are going to be rectified by a military dictatorship, most of them having in fact been made worse as a direct consequence of the last spell of military rule and given the way that this coup is shaping up, it's now reasonable to expect the situation to deteriorate further, probably dramatically.

Thanks for the reply. It seems that the electoral process is the main democratic process you see here. The Assembly for the D of D was created specifically to defend the electoral process.

Can a country which has had a coup every 8 or so years over the last 80 or so years be truly considered a democracy.
The current constitution was (if I remember correctly) written by the last military junta (2007?) and was put to a vote with the warning that if it wasn't accepted then the military would stay in charge.......and most everyone agrees that the military was doing a really really bad job of running the country. Also, if I remember correctly at that time the military appointed a huge bunch of judges many of whom are still making the decisions today.
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Re: Martial Law in Thailand

Postby robertk » Sat May 24, 2014 4:47 am

Chownah
Yes the judges that are now on the constitution court were chosen based on their support for the old elite. Several had made public shows of disdain for Thaksin.
Since the 2007 coup and the implementation of the new constitution - one that rooted out many democratic elements - this court has expelled three prime ministers , all, coincidently of course, allied with parties favourable to Thaksin.
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