Forces in Bangkok need a deal with people in Isaan
May 12, 2014 00:00
While spending altogether six years at the US Embassy in Bangkok as a diplomat, I came to love the country. So it is painful for me to see Thailand now tearing itself apart.
The courts have been partisan and have launched three coups in recent years. They are no longer a generally respected anchor of law. The King is elderly and ailing and can no longer play the healing role.
What does that leave? The Army? The Army will take over if it must, but I doubt it wishes to do so and in any case it would only provide a temporary solution. So I hope Thais will do their best to save their own country through compromise.
Bangkok simply must accept that Isaan is going to have a greater voice than ever before in the governance of the country, whether through the current populist regime or others besides the Shinawatra family.
If it cannot accept that, then Thailand may be headed towards civil war. Are you one country or are you two, or three? It would be better to make the necessary compromises – Thai style – to avoid ever having to face that question.