Monday, January 7, 2008

Chiang Mai Mail: Is Ralph Boyce a National Disgrace to the US?

Former US Ambassador Ralph Boyce returns to Chiang Mai

On December 19th, the US Consul General in Chiang Mai invited representatives of the Northern mass media to meet with the recently retired US Ambassador, Mr. Ralph L. Boyce.

Mr. Boyce remarked that he had lived in Asia for more than 20 years, and that he had gained a great deal of experience during that time. He intended to stay in Thailand to enjoy his retirement, and would be acting as an advisor to a large company based in the USA.

I hate to admit to less than pure thoughts, but the notion that Ralph Boyce is going to stay in Thailand to "enjoy his retirement" brings dark and less than wholesome images to my mind.

Or maybe the he is just going to visit temples, shop and eat Thai food.

He thanked the Thai authorities for their efficient co-operation in suppressing narcotics, particularly heroin, and mentioned his admiration of the special democratic process inaugurated and supported by His Majesty the King.

WTF? I knew that Ralph Boyce was an apologist for the junta and a disgrace to the US of Bush-like proportions but this really is a mind blowing statement.

When he had first arrived in Asia, he had supposed that the economies of both Myanmar and the Philippines would develop more quickly than that of Thailand; however, he admitted that he had been wrong, as the Thai economy had grown much faster than that of the two other countries.

So what? He was wrong to be an apologist for the coup also.

In his opinion, the mass media within Thailand enjoys more freedom that its counterparts in many other S.E. Asian countries, although the previous government led by ex- Prime Minister Thaksin had interfered more with the media than had the current government.

It had, however, publicised more information than the present government, as the Council for National Security had not utilised the mass media to full advantage to disseminate information about its operations.

This last paragraph made me ill. Ralph Boyce is upset that the junta didn't use its control of the mass media to brainwash the masses to their full potential.

Re: Burma

As regards the situation in Myanmar, Mr. Boyce assured his listeners that the USA would continue to impose sanctions in the field of business, and also by refusing support to exporters of gemstones, teak and other materials.

Companies in the US would continue to be forbidden to undertake investments in Myanmar. These sanctions will, Mr. Boyce hopes, encourage the regime in Myanmar to move more swiftly towards a true democracy in its country, and will continue to be applied despite any opposition, which may arise from other countries.

Followed by a complete contradiction.

“What I think is that our policy is important for the people who are struggling inside Burma. We don’t follow policy necessarily to try to impact the generals; they are fairly impervious-impermeable even- to outside pressure, for good or bad, it seems.

“Even some of the countries that people call ‘enablers’ or their ‘closest protectors’ or whatever-it’s unclear, at the end of the day, just how much influence even they can have.”

Ralph Boyce is like a Mini-Me version of George Bush.

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