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Thursday, November 8, 2007

Bangkok Post: Has Thailand Gone Paki?

Which is worse: Thailand or Pakistan?

M.L. NATTAKORN DEVAKULA

Bangkok Post

With the continuing mess over there involving street protests as well as the combined recent explosions which killed over 130 people, the South Asian nation is facing the tough task of having to handle a president whose powers extend beyond the normal limitations of a head of state, a judiciary out of control sending lawyers to protest with alternative political agendas, fundamentalist Islamic terrorists plotting the next attack on Islamabad, growing Western ties via US-leaning politicians like former prime minister Benazir Bhutto...


Comparatively, however, the developing democracies of Pakistan and Thailand are similar in many aspects. Here's why:


Corruption is the ultimate claim in ushering in military rule and the consequent sweeping out of elected administrations.


This is the very rationale used by General Pervez Musharraf when he delivered the surprise ousting of popularly elected Nawaz Sharif.


As well, General Sonthi Boonyaratkalin opted for corruption as one of the four reasons behind the Sept 19, 2006 power grab.


To go even further back, the corruption card has been used in nearly every single coup d'etat in the history of the Thai kingdom. In this sense, Thailand may actually be worse.


If there is a contrast here, it is that most coup leaders in Thai history have also resorted to the accusation of lese-majeste, proven or unproven, against the elected government leaders, to lay additional legitimacy upon an extra-constitutional intervention.


I would like to think that Thailand is not as bad as Pakistan, because nobody wants to be compared to Pakistan, but maybe he has a point. The Thai military continues to prove that it is no friend of democracy and its main activity for the last 75 years has been to enrich greedy generals and hinder Thailand's political development with coup after coup after coup.

1 comment:

Colonel Jeru said...

Enriching generals is true . . . but there were many non-generals who got filthy rich during junta rules. During General Sunthorn/General Sunthorn brief rule, there was one Thaksin Shinawatra who was favored with telecom/sattelite monopoly that made him a billionaire almost overnight.