The danger of believing your own lies

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ONLY a highly-experienced psychoanalyst can tell us what goes on in the convoluted mind of Thaksin Shinawatra, who has been stepping up his verbal blitz, only to end up proposing: “Let’s treat all this as if nothing had happened at all.”

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva admitted the other day that he, too, was confused over what exactly the fugitive ex-premier wanted.

“I can’t respond to any of his demands – be it naming a ‘neutral prime minister’ or ‘amending the constitution’ or ‘dissolving the House.’ ”

Of course, Abhisit knows precisely what Thaksin’s ultimate goal is. But when Thaksin uses the “fight-for-democracy” camouflage to justify his every political move to regain his power and wealth, he not only baffles everybody else, he also gets himself tangled up in his own imbroglio.

First, he unleashed an unprecedented stream of vitriol against Gen Prem Tinsulanonda – the president of the Privy Council – and former interim premier Gen Surayud Chulanond, for together having plotted the September 2006 coup against him. Then he attacked the military leaders for ousting him. As if that wasn’t enough to prove that he had amassed an incredibly large list of enemies for any government leader, Thaksin used his satellite-link phone-in to confirm that some of the leading figures in the judicial system were also part of the plot against him.

If Thaksin’s wild accusations were even partially true, it would have raised a number of fascinating questions about his own record. It didn’t occur to him, apparently, that if he had been as good a premier as he has claimed all along, why some of those top intellects in the country hadn’t at least given him the benefit of the doubt.

Then, the ousted premier effectively called for a popular uprising throughout the country.

The goal of such a massive upheaval? To achieve genuine democracy.

Who would lead the country if such a revolt came to pass? Thaksin himself.

But in the next breath, Thaksin took on a new twist. He said he was calling upon Premier Abhisit to dissolve Parliament and call a new election. But he had once called for amendments to the constitution so that the next election could be free and “fairer.”

What comes first, then? An election or the charter amendment?

He obviously hadn’t worked it out before he embarked on his do-or-die diatribe. Why? Because his immediate goal was not to make any logical arguments or explain his demands. His immediate goal is to agitate the red-shirted protestors and make them angry enough to stay in front of the Government House for a few more days.

But inevitably, sooner or later, the real motives surfaced. Thaksin said a general amnesty should be declared and “we should go back to Square One – as if nothing had ever happened at all.”

He could have done away with all the bewildering embellishments and just come to the point by saying: “All I want is very simple. I want my money and power back. Anything else is negotiable.”

But then, that would have been too blunt and artless. If he had chosen to make it so simple and clear, it would have been difficult to achieve the high-sounding “fight-for-democracy-at-all-costs”, crowd-drawing rallying cry.

Ever the professional salesman, Thaksin knows how to talk his way into hawking his wares. Never confuse a captive crowd with facts and logic. Tell them how bad the other side is, day in day out, and they will assume that you are their only choice left.

The trouble is, the more desperate his position, the more likely he will believe his own hyperbole. And when things get worse, hyperbole can easily turn into outright lies.

By Suthichai Yoon
The Nation

Published on April 2, 2009

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