Friday, May 2, 2008

Deconstructing Thanong Khanthong: Hysteria, Idiocy and Coup Talk

Will there be a coup? A silent one is already under way

Thanong Khanthong

The Nation

Here we go again. The endless lies and spin of The Nation in full-throated shamelessness.

Had the confrontation continued along its natural course, it could have only led to a physical clash between the PAD and government forces, if not Thaksin supporters. Only bloodshed would have brought political change. Thaksin was also keen to declare a state of emergency. This would have permitted the military to come out of its barracks and put the situation under control. It would also have allowed Thaksin to round up all his political enemies. It was a dangerous end game for both sides.

I love how The Nation columnists regurgitate the military's old talking points. There was no way that violence could have been predicted. I have been following these columnists for years. None of their hysterical predictions have ever come true.

Taking advantage of Thaksin's official trip to deliver a speech at United Nations headquarters in New York, the military, led by General Sonthi Boonyaratglin, staged a bloodless coup. In a way, the coup prevented bloodshed. You have to understand that the Thai establishment, or the phuyai in our country, would never want or allow Thais to kill each other on the streets.

More idiotic spin: The coup was bloodless and it prevented bloodshed. These idiots at The Nation always justify the coup because no blood was shed. They seem to fail to understand that sending tanks through the streets of Bangkok, suspending civil liberties, capriciously disenfranchising 65 million people and incarcerating and detaining political opponents are acts of violence, not politics. Hey, why don't we all commit crimes whenever we feel like it just because the crimes was bloodless? These generals committed treason and got off scot- free, as well as making billions of baht out of it.

Now almost two years have passed since the coup, but we are back to almost the same situation. Thaksin's nominees are back to power under the guise of the People Power Party. The military was badly outwitted in the political field. The Surayud government was good at doing nothing. Thaksin's nominees won the December 2007 election by controlling almost half the House of Representatives.

Thanong really has some balls. Thaksin's nominees won because his nominees controlled the military appointed legislature? The election was managed by the military. They controlled the propaganda. They had control of the executive, the election commission, and the state apparatuses. Right, Thanong, Thaksin was out of the country, but he somehow got the military appointed legislature to call the election for Samak and PPP.

Thaksin's nominees are responsible for creating the political tension this time.

Everything is Thaksin's fault. The editors will sing this tune until they orThaksin dies.

They would like to amend the 2007 Constitution, passed by the country's first-ever national referendum, because they consider it undemocratic or inspired by the military.

The Constitution was written by the military's cronies. That is a fact.

But there are two underlying objectives for the proposed amendment. First, it is aimed at helping the 111 former executives of the defunct Thai Rak Thai return to political power. They have been banned from politics for five years after the Constitution Tribunal found that the executives committed electoral fraud. The Thai Rak Thai was also dissolved. The 111 executives are still the real power movers and shakers in Thai politics.

They ran on amending the constitution. They even ran on pardoning the TRT executives. There is no conspiracy.

Second, the Constitution rewrite is also aimed at nullifying all the agencies or legal bindings created under the previous government.

They were illegal and illegitimate.

This is most critical. For it would help Thaksin escape all of the corruption cases against him. Thaksin must have realised that he would have a slim chance of prevailing in all of these cases. A single court ruling would finish him forever.

This is what The Nation cares about. Getting Thaksin. This is their obsession that supercedes everything else, including the constitution and democratic politics.. Maybe if they are so intent on getting Thaksin, they should have published investigative reports on all his crimes. They have had two years to do it. In all this time, they have no published on report, one article, one opinion proving Thaksin or his cronies guilt regarding any charge pending or unpending.

These two issues are the main focus of Thaksin's nominees at the moment. This represents a "silent coup" through parliamentary means. They will play hardball politics to get the Constitution amended at any cost. This would hasten the dissolution of the House to pave the way for a fresh election and the return of the banned 111 to political power.

This paragraph shows just how stupid and uneducated Thanong is. It is impossible to have a "silent coup" through parliamentary means. There is nothing wrong with amending the constitution. It never ceases to amaze me how much contempt the hypocritical Nation has for parliamentary politics. They love the ad-hoc committees and the Thaksin hating judges, but hate the democratic institutions. In the same column he justifies the military tearing up the constitution while lambasting the PPP for amending it.

The stakes are high for both sides, causing fear that there might be physical clashes along the way. The military has realised that they stepped out too soon in the September 2006 coup to pre-empt the bloodshed. The military has learned its lesson. They will not come out easily this time.

More fear mongering. The military stepped out too soon?

So will the coup happen again? It depends on your definition of a coup. Thaksin's nominees are already trying to stage a silent coup in Parliament by rewriting the whole Constitution to whitewash their past. If this were to happen, it would lead to street demonstrations. And if there were bloodshed on the streets, the military would have no choice but to return to the fore - this time under the pretext of a state of emergency.

The Nation has been spouting this fear mongering line for years. Their predictions have never come true.

Sometimes I wonder about this self-deluded bubble that The Nation's editors live in. They remind me of America's neo-conservatives, who predict that the sky is always falling, yet are always wrong.


tumbler_p said...

I'm amazed at how so many people seem to think that all the problems in this country were caused by Thaksin and fail to see the reality beyond that. It's like they truly believe that the problems will magically disappear when Thaksin gets removed. People like Thanong are too obsessed with Thaksin and will use any means available to get rid of him, including another coup, no matter how disastrous it will turn out to be. The last time they thought they had succeeded but then we ended up with Samak and Chalerm. If Thanong thinks that the coup has made Thailand better then he's having a laugh.

But TJTS, I'll have to disagree with you here. It's obvious the PPP is going to amend the constitution for their own political gains and to save Thaksin from the hands of law. Though I believe the PAD is wrong too to say that the constitution is 'unamendable', we can't turn a blind eye to the real motives of Thaksin and co in pushing for this.

Fonzi said...


The thing about amending the constitution was that it was central plank of the PPP platform during the election.

There was no secret. It is not a nefarious conspiracy that everybody is making it out to be. It is not a coup.

As far as Thaksin's "crimes" go, I wish there was a legal way he could he held accountable, but the process has been politicized by his enemies.

It is a mess, really.

Samak promised that Thaksin should be accountable to the law, so he does have a responsibility also, but at this point, who knows?

Thailand's criminal justice system is really fracked up at this point.

Bangkok Pundit said...

Fonzi: I decided I needed a drink after reading his op-ed on Friday. It is just maddening. Much easier to link to you than to fisk/deconstruct it myself.