Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Surayud's Speech in Japan: Analyzing the lies and distortions

Lie and Distortion 1

"Prior to the peaceful military intervention on 19 September last year, most independent political analysts would have said that Thailand was the most democratically developed country in ASEAN or Southeast Asia. Over the next few minutes I will explain why I believe that by the end of this year, following free and fair elections, Thailand will again emerge with enhanced democratic credentials and with stronger institutional foundations capable of delivering a better, more sustainable future for the majority of its citizens. But first a little historical perspective will be useful."

I think that it is disputable that Thailand was the most democratic country in Southeast Asia.
The neighborhood is not a good one, but I don't think Thailand was the best neighbor on the block. I seriously doubt that Thailand will be better off, at least constitutionally, than it was before the coup. So far, it looks like a lot of democratic rights will be stripped from the new charter.

Lie and Distortion 2

Such a rapid rate of change would test the cohesiveness of any society. But Thailand has been remarkably fortunate in that it has deep cultural roots, never violated by colonization. It has existed as a sovereign nation for some 800 years, and for the last 60 years it has had the same remarkable monarch, His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who is the world's current longest-reigning monarch.

Thailand was violated by colonization; it just wasn't directly colonized. Sovereign nation for 800 years? It was destroyed by the Burmese twice, and it was an unwilling ally of Japan during World War Two. Also, parts of the North and South were not always part of a Thai kingdom.

Lie and Distortion 3

"In terms of Thailand's modern democratic development, two watershed moments stand out - October, 1973 and May, 1992. Both times the Kingdom emerged with strengthened democratic credentials, although we did not follow traditional democratic norms."

Whatever democratic progress was made in '73, it was destroyed in '76. Whatever progress was made in 1992, it was destroyed in the recent coup.

Lie and Distortion 4

In a nutshell, the triggers for the military's intervention were the unprecedented consolidation of political and financial power by Mr. Thaksin during his five years as prime minister, his alleged abuse of state power, widespread corruption, curtailment of media freedom and a disastrous human rights record.

Everything that he accuses Thaksin of, he is guilty of. The coup was an abuse of state power. Corruption has gotten worse under his regime. He has censored websites, TV channels, and PTV. The jury is still out on human rights, but preventing people from peacefully protesting is a violation of human rights in my book.

Lie and Distortion 5

For the first nine months of last year Thailand was without an effective government. A general election was boycotted by the opposition, and later ruled invalid by the courts. Bangkok witnessed almost daily demonstrations against Mr. Thaksin. The system of checks and balances had been subverted and we seemed to have exhausted all constitutional means to end the political impasse.

This is a lie. Not all of the constitutional mechanisms were adopted. An election was scheduled right before the coup.

Lie and Distortion 6

But in addition, we are establishing institutions for on-going political reform and democratic development. They will better equip our citizens with an understanding of the rights and responsibilities of citizenship, and provide them with the information and analysis that they need to make more informed choices.

What institutions? More crony capitalism? More worthless committees? What kind of democratic education policies has this administration pursued? I haven't heard of one yet.

Lie and Distortion 7

The second theme - the restoration of national unity - relates to healing the political divide and bringing reconciliation and justice to our three deep South provinces which account for some 2.5 percent of Thailand's population

There is more violence in the South now than under Thaksin in the past.

Lie and Distortion 8

Our fourth major reform theme is strengthening the rule of law where we are making careful but solid progress.

In a recent interview in Time magazine, Mr. Thaksin told the world that "corruption in Thailand won't go away, it's in the system". If I thought that was true I wouldn't be here today. Without the rule of law nothing else matters. There can be no justice, no equality and certainly no democracy.

Rule of law? Yeah, right. In Thailand, there is no rule of law and corruption has gotten worse. The coup itself is a major breach of the rule of law, and being a military installed prime minister, he is not in the best position to make such pronouncements.

Lie and Distortion 9

My Interim Government has been criticized for the slow progress being made into the allegations of corruption and abuse of state power by members of the previous government. Some people have urged the use of executive power to short circuit the judicial process. But if we adopt that approach, how will the rule of law ever be strengthened?

Concrete results are being produced from the investigations and I will continue to place my confidence in the integrity of our judicial system. At the same time, we are working hard to overhaul this system as it relates to transparency and good governance in the public sector, and embarking on the most radical reform of the police for many decades.

What concrete results? Tax evasion from over ten years ago? The criminal justice system is just as corrupt and as worthless as during the Thaksin years. What police reform? Chasing young girls on motorbikes and chopping off their arms? More efficiency in collecting bribes? Catching and then letting go numerous suspects responsible for the New Year's bombings?

Lie and Distortion 10

But such concerns do not impact on the market mechanism, nor do they influence the openness of the Thai economy. In fact, the "sufficiency economy philosophy" is a Thai model for sustainability, the importance of which is only now becoming recognized around the world.

As an early adopter of a sustainable approach to development, Thailand should, I believe, be praised for it is a path down which every country will have to travel sooner rather than later.

Surayud and his worthless cabinet have bungled economic policy in every way imaginable the last six months. And, on top of that, they haven't instituted one policy that could be considered related to sufficiency economics or sustainable development.

Extracts from Surayud's speech came from a transcript at The Nation.


Anonymous said...

These Japanese businessmen and journalists were heard murmuring to each other after the speech "Ano ne, kore wa dame desu" (Translation: This guy should be ashamed of himself for criticizing his predecessor whom he overthrew with the help of tanks). Remember Japan has a constitution which is against militarism and was drafted by the Americans after the war.

Fonzi said...

Where did you get that information? I'd love to see that.

hobby said...

Post 1 above sounds like BS to me.
If it's not, then they should have been also criticising their own government for making a deal with the 'devil'.

BTW - I think Surayud made another great speech.