Prayuth has got a lot right, but big challenges remain
June 02, 2014 00:00
I can't be the only farang in Thailand who is truly flabbergasted by the early success of the coup.
Only two weeks ago we were being warned soberly that civil war would erupt if the government was sacked. Now, even hardened red shirts are lining up to withdraw from politics altogether. A tactical retreat? Of course, but astonishing all the same.
Gen Prayuth has got a lot of things right – pay off the rice farmers, seize arms caches, plan economic recovery including a possible cut in VAT to spur growth, keep military hands off Facebook by and large.
Admittedly, the much trickier tasks of national reconciliation and of improving a flawed democracy are yet to come.
As regards foreign criticism of the coup, it hardly amounts to a row of beans. If the US and the UK are so concerned about democracy, why do they both avidly support Saudi Arabia, which has never held a general election in its history?
And why does everybody conveniently forget that the ruling party in Cambodia came to power in the 1990s as the result of a putsch?