Saturday, April 14, 2007

The Nation Editorial: We Back Liberal Values for Asean, but Support a Military Junta at Home


Getting ready for the Asean Charter

The Nation

Leaders need to prepare now to ensure that the binding legal document is approved by all members and citizens

Too few people are paying due attention to the drafting of the Asean Charter, which is the equivalent of a constitution for its ten member countries. The legally binding document, if adopted sometime in the future, will have a great, never before seen impact on the countries in Asean - not to mention the political, social and economic life of the citizens of each and every member country. Since the end of March, the charter's drafters have completed the preamble, purposes and principles. They will meet every month in various Asean capitals until they finalise the draft ahead of the summit meeting scheduled in Singapore in November. Nothing is fixed in stone as yet. The charter's content could be changed to reflect the concerns of civil society organisations (CSOs) in Asean. Of course, that will happen only if the Asean CSOs press their respective governments hard enough on some key issues to which Asean leaders have not yet given full attention, such as protection of environment, issues related to governance, transnational issues and the role of the media.

Thailand ignores each of these issues. In fact, it makes a mockery out of them. This is what Thai intellectuals do: They make a big deal about mutilateralism, constitionalism, and democracy just because they think it is the right thing to say. But it is all smoke, mirrors and empty words. In other words, they are bullshit artists. Look at the action and you tell me what exactly is Thailand committed to. It certainly has no commitment to protection of environment, good governance, transnational issues and a free media. So what exactly does the Thai government and its intellectuals stand for? They stand for looking like important big shots and meaningless bullshit.

What is sad for me is that Thailand could be a regional leader. But it has no integrity. And it only pays lip service to challenging issues. It doesn't realize leadership comes from honoring one's word and acting in concert with one's verbal and written commitments.

Asean prides itself on the fact that each member has one vote. There is no plan to follow the European community's complicated structure of financial contributions, but ways must be found to supplement the Secretariat's limited annual budget. Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei with their strong economies should contribute more to help other members. Asean is currently looking for a system to raise more money from its richer members and dialogue partners.

Thailand is one of the wealthier nations of Asean, yet The Nation wants to suck the blood of the more efficient and responsible economies. If the current Thai government hadn't pursued idiotic policies, the economy wouldn't have slowed down. But now The Nation wants the richer Asean countries to pay for its government's idiocy. I would bet even if Thailand's economy was roaring, The Nation wouldn't want to contribute any money to Asean. In foreign relations, Thailand has never been generous country to it friends and allies.

Kavi probably wrote this editorial. The Nation editors really are shameless bloodsuckers.


ss said...

I support this move of ASEAN for only one reason-- it may lead to ASEAN legislative pact. I wish there'll be an international court in Kuala Lumpur or Singapore or anywhere but not BKK. There, when all members of ASEAN are compelled to follow a common union of laws (like it's happening now in some legislations of EU), we may be able to find a way to trial the Thai coupmakers ABROAD.

Fonzi said...


Interesting point. But I am sure the politicians would find a way around it. Knowing Asean, prosecuting politicians will be their last priority.

I once heard Kavi give a lecture on Asean. He said the Asean ministers only care about golf and shopping when they go abroad, so I know he is full of shit about his support of the Asean enterprise.

But in a fantasy world, it would be cool to see Thai(Burmese, Lao, Vietnamese, Indonesian) politicians be prosecuted for their crimes in real courts, regardless if they are generals or from the political party system.