Most of the Thai people, the military, the elite, the Bangkok middle class, the business and financial sectors have a shared interest in the political stability. They all love democracy. But their understanding of the definition of democracy is different from that of the rural Thais, who also cherish democracy in their own views and rights.
All the sources of instability incur from the politicians. The street demonstrations, rightly or wrongly assembled, are simply an anti-thesis to money politics.
Thailand might have a deep-seated political problem at this juncture but it will continue to embrace open society and open economy. The country now depends on tourism and foreign trade to improve the income distribution.
I don’t see Thailand backtrack against the democratic process because Thailand is part of the international community and the global economy. It is a joke to believe that the rural voters love or have better understanding of democracy than the Bangkok middle class.
We just need to sort out our internal political system first. The foreign media and foreign experts must stop distorting Thai politics with their convenient definition of “democracy”. The Monarchy has been around in Thailand for 700 years. It is an institution of great reverence. It is the strength of Thailand, not an obstacle to progress.
The politicians are the liabilities of our democratic system. If the politicians are clean and really work for the progress of the country, there won’t be any street demonstrations. They can’t be brought to jail easily because Thailand’s rule of law is slow.
A former bank executive has recently been sent to prison after going through the court process of more than 12 years.
Justice delayed is justice denied.
So far the debate about Thailand is dualistic–democracy or no democracy. That’s too easy.
The US, who is the champion of global capitalism, is now doing everything that goes against capitalism or free market by nationalising banks and financial institutions and bailing out the big businesses. We can’t say that the US has abandoned capitalism for socialism. The problem has to do with greed and mistakes in the financial system that is not regulated appropriately.
Temporary US government intervention is necessary to prevent a total collapse of the financial system. But the US is not being attacked in the narrow capitalism/socialism dichotomy, like what Thailand has gone through the “democratic/undemocratic ” condemnation after the 2006 military coup.
Thailand’s coup in 2006 should be seen in this similar US context. It was a temporary intervention to restore democracy. It only turned out with poor and tragic result. But the price Thailand has to pay is very high in their international eyes and “democratic lovers”.
The US is now trapped in a financial black hole. Thailand is also trapped in a political black hole. Let’s allow the US to sort its way out and also allow Thailand to find its way out too, democratic or undemocratic if you like.