Anti-government protesters are calling loudly for the military to stage a coup d'etat.
But that course would be to admit failure in the protesters’ attempts to give us the reforms we so badly need, would be a major defeat for democracy, and hence must not be carried out.
“The military as an institution must remain a neutral instrument of the state, no matter which party holds sway,” noted former US Chief of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen. So, as Army chief Prayuth says, people should not pressure the military to take sides. Rather, soldiers’ role is to protect national security and public safety. I suggest that the military should extricate victims of violence, regardless of what side they are on – but no more.
But soldiers cannot just blindly carry out orders – as Nazi officers learned at the Nuremburg trials – but must evaluate whether those orders are justifiable or not. And I suggest that this applies the prosecution of the emergency decree, should Yingluck use it.
The protesters should rally public support by working within the framework of democracy – which does not include a coup d’etat.