Re: "Disarming the warring parties", Editorial, June 12.
The many thousands of weapons – guns, grenades, etc – seized by the military in recent weeks illustrate just how near to civil war Thailand had become. These secret arms caches had been ignored by the police in the months leading up to the coup. Anyone who naively believes the politicians in power knew nothing of the build-up clearly needs a strong dose of common sense.
When the history books are written, it’s likely that the prospect of Bangkok and other cities going up in flames will be seen as the key justification of this military putsch. In the days leading up to the declaration of martial law, we indeed heard street leaders predicting civil insurrection in defence of “democracy”, armed attacks on banks to steal their money to fund revolt, and the establishment of a separatist state and a refugee government centred in Chiang Mai.
If any of that had happened, one can imagine the effect on the entire economy, the tourist industry, hotel occupancy rates and the rest. General Prayuth has shown extraordinary vision and shrewdness in his actions to date. Nobody underrates the enormity of the problems ahead, but he is surely the country’s best bet to extinguish the national collapse which had been beckoning. As Syria and other dire countries well illustrate, one-man-one-vote means nothing if the voting booths are being shelled.