Martial Law in Thailand

Casual discussion amongst spiritual friends.

Re: Martial Law in Thailand

Postby Mkoll » Sat May 24, 2014 6:57 am

The following quote from the article below is especially worrying to me, given that the military has taken over the gov't.

"
The BBC's Jonathan Head in Bangkok says that, unlike in previous coups, there have been no promises of a quick return to civilian rule."


Source: BBC - Thailand army continues crackdown after coup

~~~

The longer the military stays in power, the more likely it is that conflict will arise.
Peace,
James
User avatar
Mkoll
 
Posts: 3311
Joined: Wed Dec 05, 2012 6:55 pm
Location: California, USA

Re: Martial Law in Thailand

Postby Dan Rooney » Sat May 24, 2014 7:34 am

It seems that the electoral process is the main democratic process you see here.


In a representative democracy, I would have thought that most people would think that the electoral process was the, or one of the, main components of a democracy.

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.


I don't think what Sarit or Thanom did has much bearing on whether Thailand should be considered a democracy now. And it seems clear to me that the trajectory of recent history has been towards greater, or at least a greater desire for, strengthening of democratic institutions - something which is consistently thwarted by, amongst others, the military. On top of that, I don't really understand the point of this whole Thailand-isn't-a-democracy argument. Even if it were true, the only reasonable response seems to be 'So what?' North Korea has never been a democracy but that doesn't mean that the continued rule of the Communist Party is something anyone should just accept - if you think democracy is better than dictatorship as a way to run a country then, well, democracy is better than dictatorship.

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.


Yes. They also said that if the new (now discarded) constitution were accepted, it would be possible to amend it at a later date but this has been prevented by the courts (for example the attempt to make the senate fully elected being ruled unconstitutional).

The following quote from the article below is especially worrying to me, given that the military has taken over the gov't.


The round ups continue. Earlier today, a large number of progressive academics were ordered to report to the junta. If they fail to do so, they will be punished by 2 years in prison.
Dan Rooney
 
Posts: 27
Joined: Thu Dec 12, 2013 4:26 am

Re: Martial Law in Thailand

Postby Mr Man » Sat May 24, 2014 7:37 am

User avatar
Mr Man
 
Posts: 1312
Joined: Tue Oct 04, 2011 8:42 am

Re: Martial Law in Thailand

Postby chownah » Sat May 24, 2014 12:59 pm

In a representative democracy, I would have thought that most people would think that the electoral process was the, or one of the, main components of a democracy.

I think that having a democratic election process is a necessary requirement but not a sufficient one. I want to point out that it was Suthep and the PDRC which thwarted the electoral process, not the military. The military watched what was going on to see if an election could be held through the processes inherent in the existing legal structure and I think it is clear that Suthep and the PDRC were willing and able to continue to frustrate the electoral process and the gov't was not able to stop Suthep and the PDRC and successfully carry out an election. It is a weakness or flaw in the existing system that a minority or special interest group who is well connected can block elections and the gov't has no sure way of overcoming this. This is another reason why it is difficult for me to consider Thailand to be a democracy. Consider what would have happened in the U.S. if a group like the PDRC had tried to block an election.....they would all be in jail and the vast majority of people of all political persuasions would agree with the incarceration. It is clear to me that Suthep and the PDRC broke the law but the legal system failed to hold them accountable. This is, I think an example of people not being treated equally under the law..... If the red shirts had done the same thing under a Democratic Party administration you can bet that it would be dealt with decisively (90 dead more or less) and jail time for the leader(what happened in 2010).

I do not, however, think that the coup was/is a good thing. I'm wanting to determine how the democratic processes(such as they are or aren't) failed to progress to an election.....maybe the military will fix this.....maybe pigs will fly......
chownah
chownah
 
Posts: 2735
Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2009 2:19 pm

Re: Martial Law in Thailand

Postby Anagarika » Sat May 24, 2014 2:36 pm

I live in the US, which claims to be a democracy (oligarchy, actually?) . We have had elections where the Supreme Court decided the winner (Bush) over the highest vote getter (Gore). We now have, due to the nearly 50/50 division in this country between Republican and Democrats, a nonfunctioning Congress, and a quagmire of stupidity.

Thailand could hold national elections tomorrow, but it seems to me that in and of itself won't solve the festering problems in Thailand's political structure. A vote could likely lead to another Thaksin supported candidate winning, and the country would be back to yellow shirted civil strife in the streets. Or, the Yellows might get their candidate in, which would lead to red shirted civil strife in the streets.

It seems that some new form of a power sharing structure needs to be in place, with a PM who can be trusted by both sides to set the tone and the agenda for the country. Is this possible? I have no idea. I have spent a lot of time in beloved Thailand, but don't pretend to understand all of the intricacies. What I do know (having spent time in Ireland as a grad student) is that bitterly opposed political entities cannot wield power alone; some form of power sharing (as evolved n Northern Ireland) must be in place. As we know from recent events, even that kind of middle path approach has its own problems.

Thailand may need less of democracy (a form of government in which all eligible citizens participate equally—either directly or indirectly through elected representatives—in the proposal, development, and creation of laws) and more of a power sharing arrangement with a neutral PM. My two baht.
User avatar
Anagarika
 
Posts: 612
Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2011 11:25 pm

Re: Martial Law in Thailand

Postby Mr Man » Sat May 24, 2014 3:18 pm

chownah, Do you not think there is a connection between the PDRC + other affiliated protest groups and the coup makers?
User avatar
Mr Man
 
Posts: 1312
Joined: Tue Oct 04, 2011 8:42 am

Re: Martial Law in Thailand

Postby robertk » Sat May 24, 2014 3:27 pm

I wonder on what basis you say the redshirts would protest if a yellow shirt candidate won an election fairly .
they never have in the past.
User avatar
robertk
 
Posts: 1270
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 2:08 am

Re: Martial Law in Thailand

Postby robertk » Sat May 24, 2014 3:31 pm

Chownah
the double standards of course run deeper than just political.
Remember the 16 year old girl who was recklessly speeding on the freeway with no license and ran the van off the overpass killing 8 of the passengers.
Imagine what the penalty woukd be if she was froma poor family. But her father is a general.
A friend said the most she would get is some social sigma and a trip overseas.
which was pretty accurate .
User avatar
robertk
 
Posts: 1270
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 2:08 am

Re: Martial Law in Thailand

Postby Mkoll » Sat May 24, 2014 6:55 pm

robertk wrote:Chownah
the double standards of course run deeper than just political.
Remember the 16 year old girl who was recklessly speeding on the freeway with no license and ran the van off the overpass killing 8 of the passengers.
Imagine what the penalty woukd be if she was froma poor family. But her father is a general.
A friend said the most she would get is some social sigma and a trip overseas.
which was pretty accurate .


Thailand was perceived as being more corrupt than most countries in the world in 2013: 102/177. A higher number means more corruption. For comparison, the US is 19, Finland is 5, and North Korea is 175.

http://cpi.transparency.org/cpi2013/results/
Peace,
James
User avatar
Mkoll
 
Posts: 3311
Joined: Wed Dec 05, 2012 6:55 pm
Location: California, USA

Re: Martial Law in Thailand

Postby lyndon taylor » Sun May 25, 2014 4:49 am

The US is one of the least corrupt countries in the world??? Who are you trying to fool, the whole country is run by corrupt corporations, Oh, I forgot, they did the survey, never mind......
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community that has so generously given me so much, sincerely former monk John
User avatar
lyndon taylor
 
Posts: 872
Joined: Mon May 02, 2011 11:41 pm
Location: Redlands, Southern California, USA

Re: Martial Law in Thailand

Postby chownah » Sun May 25, 2014 4:51 am

Mr Man wrote:chownah, Do you not think there is a connection between the PDRC + other affiliated protest groups and the coup makers?

I am not sure what you mean by "connection". I think that the coup makers and the PDRC are being run by people considered to be members of the "elite". "Elite" can be loosely taken to mean members of rich families who attained their wealth under the royal concession and patronage system before Thailand became a 'constitutional monarchy'. This group of elites has been dominating Thai society for hundreds of years and the coup is evidence that it still does even today.
chownah
chownah
 
Posts: 2735
Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2009 2:19 pm

Re: Martial Law in Thailand

Postby mikenz66 » Sun May 25, 2014 5:23 am

lyndon taylor wrote:The US is one of the least corrupt countries in the world??? Who are you trying to fool, the whole country is run by corrupt corporations, Oh, I forgot, they did the survey, never mind......

Note that it's perception of Public Service corruption...

Since New Zealand came in top equal (least corrupt) it is obviously extremely accurate... :woohoo:

Singapore 5, Australia 9, UK 14, Hong Kong 15, Japan 18, US 19...

This is a stark contrast to Thailand, China, etc, where there is obviously little confidence in the public sector. The fact that Hong Kong is so high is a tribute to extremely tough anti-corruption measures that were introduced in the 70s and continue to this day. The Singapore and Hong Kong results are an indication that low corruption and respect for the rule of law is possible in Asia societies, which give hope for the future.

I think corruption is a key issue. I have a number of friends in China, and they are definitely see interest in (less) corruption as much more important than democracy...

:anjali:
Mike
User avatar
mikenz66
 
Posts: 10414
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Martial Law in Thailand

Postby Mkoll » Sun May 25, 2014 5:52 am

lyndon taylor wrote:The US is one of the least corrupt countries in the world??? Who are you trying to fool, the whole country is run by corrupt corporations, Oh, I forgot, they did the survey, never mind......

That's not the point, Lyndon. Want to build a building in China? You have to bribe a public official more than everyone else to use the land. Get pulled over by the cops in Paraguay? Either pay them off with cash or they haul you to jail. Have a protected national park in Indonesia? Companies will come in, destroy the forest, and plant palm trees to harvest palm oil while the forest service does nothing. Send aid money to combat poverty Uganda? The bureaucrats steal it and buy themselves fleets of luxury cars while most areas don't even have a single automobile ambulance.

You'd be a fool to think that we don't have it very good in the US if you know about the crap that happens in much of the world. Don't take what we have for granted.

robertk gave an example of corruption in Thailand. I'm sure there are many more and with this coup, I doubt it will get better any time soon.
Peace,
James
User avatar
Mkoll
 
Posts: 3311
Joined: Wed Dec 05, 2012 6:55 pm
Location: California, USA

Re: Martial Law in Thailand

Postby David N. Snyder » Sun May 25, 2014 5:56 am

#19 for the U.S. is not a good ranking; for the so-called 'leader of the free world.' So I think the list is pretty accurate. Even Barbados beat the U.S. on that list. But the U.S. is still much higher (in less corruption) than the Third World nations and this is also accurate.

In many Third World countries, it is fairly easy to make a bribe. You don't insult them by directly offering a bribe. When one gets fined, you just say you don't have time to go to the government office to pay, so you ask if it is okay to pay the fine to the officer. In the U.S. and most other First World nations, this won't work and the law enforcement officers might even charge you with attempting to make a bribe.

In the U.S. the corruption is more at the larger macro-level with special interest groups and lobbyists controlling and buying the politicians, cronyism, nepotism, etc. at high levels of government.
User avatar
David N. Snyder
Site Admin
 
Posts: 8126
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:15 am
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada

Re: Martial Law in Thailand

Postby Mr Man » Sun May 25, 2014 6:17 am

chownah wrote:
Mr Man wrote:chownah, Do you not think there is a connection between the PDRC + other affiliated protest groups and the coup makers?

I am not sure what you mean by "connection". I think that the coup makers and the PDRC are being run by people considered to be members of the "elite". "Elite" can be loosely taken to mean members of rich families who attained their wealth under the royal concession and patronage system before Thailand became a 'constitutional monarchy'. This group of elites has been dominating Thai society for hundreds of years and the coup is evidence that it still does even today.
chownah


Hi Chownah, this was in response to:

chownah wrote:I want to point out that it was Suthep and the PDRC which thwarted the electoral process, not the military.
User avatar
Mr Man
 
Posts: 1312
Joined: Tue Oct 04, 2011 8:42 am

Re: Martial Law in Thailand

Postby lyndon taylor » Sun May 25, 2014 7:59 am

Nonsense, In america, the bribes are payed directly to the politicians by the corporations and big businessmen to get them elected, in the form of campaign contributions, just because bribery has different forms in third world countries doesn't make first and second world corruption any less egregious.
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community that has so generously given me so much, sincerely former monk John
User avatar
lyndon taylor
 
Posts: 872
Joined: Mon May 02, 2011 11:41 pm
Location: Redlands, Southern California, USA

Re: Martial Law in Thailand

Postby Dan Rooney » Sun May 25, 2014 8:28 am

I want to point out that it was Suthep and the PDRC which thwarted the electoral process, not the military.


I'm not sure it's very productive to think of those as two distinct entities - almost the first announcement of the junta was 'reform before election'. At the lower levels, the military provided muscle for the mob (it was, for example, widely reported that armed Navy personnel were working in the PDRC camp) and at the higher levels, well, there are fairly persistent rumours of other connections.

The military watched what was going on to see if an election could be held through the processes inherent in the existing legal structure and I think it is clear that Suthep and the PDRC were willing and able to continue to frustrate the electoral process and the gov't was not able to stop Suthep and the PDRC and successfully carry out an election.


If the army had wanted the election to go ahead, it would have gone ahead. There can be no doubt about that. In fact, had the elites (including the army) allowed it, the police alone could quite easily have ensured the election was a success.

Certainly, the fact that Suthep, the Democrat Party, the independent agencies, the courts, the senate and the military have in turn conspired to overthrow a democracy and replace it with a military dictatorship means that right now, Thailand is not a democracy. Nobody is going to argue about that. But that doesn't mean that prior to the coup, Thailand was not a democracy. It was certainly at far from the best health imaginable, but as I've already said, that doesn't mean it wasn't a democracy.

An article published today on New Mandala concludes

A meaningful transition to political stability will require a re-appraisal of the central role of the monarchy, a new culture of respect for electoral and parliamentary institutions, and the development of a modern opposition party that can provide the Thai electorate with real policy alternatives.


That seems to me like a fair summary. How we get there from here, I don't know.
Dan Rooney
 
Posts: 27
Joined: Thu Dec 12, 2013 4:26 am

Re: Martial Law in Thailand

Postby Dan Rooney » Sun May 25, 2014 8:49 am

in the U.S. the corruption is more at the larger macro-level with special interest groups and lobbyists controlling and buying the politicians, cronyism, nepotism, etc. at high levels of government.


Yes. In Europe and the States, for example, we talk about 'regulatory capture', which means that state organizations which are meant to oversee industries become essentially clients of those same industries. What is that, if not corruption? But because it's 'us' who do it, we use a different language as a way of making ourselves blind to our own failures.
Dan Rooney
 
Posts: 27
Joined: Thu Dec 12, 2013 4:26 am

Re: Martial Law in Thailand

Postby chownah » Sun May 25, 2014 11:26 am

Mr Man wrote:
chownah wrote:
Mr Man wrote:chownah, Do you not think there is a connection between the PDRC + other affiliated protest groups and the coup makers?

I am not sure what you mean by "connection". I think that the coup makers and the PDRC are being run by people considered to be members of the "elite". "Elite" can be loosely taken to mean members of rich families who attained their wealth under the royal concession and patronage system before Thailand became a 'constitutional monarchy'. This group of elites has been dominating Thai society for hundreds of years and the coup is evidence that it still does even today.
chownah


Hi Chownah, this was in response to:

chownah wrote:I want to point out that it was Suthep and the PDRC which thwarted the electoral process, not the military.

Mr Man,
Thanks for the clarification. As I said at the end of my post you quote from here I am interested in seeing exactly why the gov't was not capable of bringing about an election. In my view if one wants to establish a democracy then it is essential that come hell or high water an election can be held and that the apparent inability of the Thai gov't to hold an election is a fatal flaw. In thinking about this deficiency I wanted to point out that the military did not jump in at the outset of the demonstrations but waited for several months while the machinery of state kept grinding away at its processes but not really getting anywhere. To blame the military for the failure to hold elections would be pointing in the wrong direction I think in that it was PDRC actions with assistance from primarily the judicial sector which stopped the election process. The militarized only influence in the first several months of the crisis was that many officials were afraid to act decisively perhaps fearing that it would precipitate a coup.....since it is well known that Gen.Prayuth is anti Thaksin. Sooooo....for me a problem which needs to be fixed is the gov't's lack of power to reliably carry out an election.....if you want to establish a democracy that is.

Do notice that the current constitution was written by the military....and the weakness of the gov't in regards to holding elections gives strength to the military...makes them the key player......and allows them to step in almost at will.
chownah
chownah
 
Posts: 2735
Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2009 2:19 pm

Re: Martial Law in Thailand

Postby appicchato » Mon May 26, 2014 12:18 am

.....if you want to establish a democracy that is.


That's the hitch...the patriarchal system of Asian culture, so firmly entrenched, is such that no one, (literally), even thinks of saying boo to anyone at, (or even affiliated with), the top...so, human nature, for the most part, being what it is, no top dog is going to want to share their pull, or the spoils to be gained excercising it...sometimes it's tough for those of the Occident to fathom the absolute, unequivocal, say-so of the big cheeses in the East...as mentioned earlier, democracy is just not (yet) a factor in the Orient...
User avatar
appicchato
 
Posts: 1600
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:47 am
Location: Bridge on the River Kwae

PreviousNext

Return to Lounge

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 13 guests