Thursday, November 6, 2008

US Election and Thailand: The Triumph of Liberal Democracy

Normally, I don't like to drag the politics of other countries into this blog. But I think Thailand-- notably the PAD, the Democrats, and The Nation-- can learn something from this election.

Let me say first off that I think George Bush was a horrible president, far worst than Thaksin on every level. Comparatively, Thaksin was small potatoes compared to the harm that George Bush caused to the US and many parts of the world. I don't know if people will agree with that, but that is my opinion.

So, what does that have to with anything?

Well, my point is that even with George Bush causing destruction to the US, there was no coup or military takeover, there was no kangaroo court to get him out of office, there was no attempt by the media to smear him with unsubstantiated lies and innuendo(like every supporter of his was bought with $10 bills), and you didn't have fascist thugs occupying the White House lawn trying to get him to resign and bring the government to its knees. There was no attempt by the opposition party to legally silence him with attacks against his patriotism(the equivalent of lese majeste) and get him thrown off the evening news for talking to his supporters. There was no attempt by agitators to take over the capitol and shut down Congress in order to get the police to shoot them and cause a major riot in the streets. There was no attempt to disenfranchise 3/4 of the electorate in order to get the governing party ousted in the name of "hope" and "change."

Nope, even though 80% of the country detested Bush and thought the country was going down the wrong track, the American people put their faith in their constitution, the rule of law, and democratic politics. And they don't have a parliamentary system. They have to wait 4 years. In Bush's case, wait 8 long bloody years.

So what can Thailand learn from this?

Patience, for one.

Good sportsmanship, for two.

In other words, if you are on the losing side of politics, maybe you should accept your lost and regroup for the next election rather than agitating for a coup, kangaroo courts, and supporting fascist thugs to oust the government so your side can come to power through means other than elections.

What can The Nation learn from this?

Perhaps instead of regurgitating the same columns and editorials personally attacking Thaksin for 7 years, hurling every ridiculous smear and unsubstantiated innuendo against him that you can think of, maybe it is time to actually live in the present and report on things that are relevant to Thai people today. Quite frankly, there are many problems facing Thais that have little to nothing to with Thaksin which are consistently ignored. If Thaksin dropped off the face of the planet, those problems would still exist, though The Nation is deluded in thinking otherwise.

Sure, there was a lot of superficial media BS in the US election, as there always is, but when it came right down to it, Obama won because he had a message of hope, change and gave the voters a stark choice between more of the same or a new vision for America.

What does The Nation gives its readership? If you don't agree with our boneheaded editorials and columns, you must be paid by Thaksin or you must be a stupid farmer who doesn't know any better.

So, here is my advice to the PAD, the Democrats and The Nation.

Stop being sore losers. Give your fidelity to the constitution and the rule of law. Give up your self-destructing Chinese vendettas against Thaksin.

The irony of the PAD and Democrats campaign against Thaksin is that if they put that time, money and energy into a legitimate electoral campaign, they would have a viable shot at winning and running the country-- and without relying on coups, royal interventions and fascist thuggery to do it.


Jason Smith said...

I, too, was glad to see a pivotal but straightforward election come and go without any problems.

One observation that you didn't quite touch on is that it is becoming increasingly apparent that entrenched institutions are the source of the PAD movement—socially and financially.

Perhaps the ubiquitous utter lack of respect for the law and due process in Thailand is because everybody takes their cues on ethics from the same source.

David said...

for a long time I was puzzled who are the main beneficiaries are of the PAD protests, the coup and more PAD protests going on and on

I could see the Bangkok elites might have hated to lose their power in favour of a government drawing a large part of its power from rural people... so they would want to get rid of the democratic government quickly and get on with their wealth creation

the coup temporarily sorted the problem and quite a few people got rich quick.... but it didnt seem to work very well so they tried to entrench a longer term solution

they failed and the democratic government came back

so the process started again but this time it just doesnt seem to be getting anywhere much... just keeps going in a stalemate

as the protests continue the only person really making money seems to be Sondhi and his media businesses... so he doesnt want to stop

I assume Sondhi keeps telling his backers it wont be much longer but I suspect everyone except him would have packed up before now....

now I think Chamlong is worried that sooner or later their backers will give up and the courts will throw them in gaol so he wants to negotiate an amnesty and bail out

David said...

sorry Fonzi and Jason

should have acknowledged and thanked you for a great post and thoughtful comment

I am hoping I am right in thinking the PAD is about to be allowed by its backers (the entrenched institutions) to collapse and leave us relatively in peace

Anonymous said...

Fonzi you try much too hard to portray Thaksin a victim and save your hero.

Jiggle your one-directional brain for a moment Fonzi and question just a little the Thaksin charisma. Maybe you will appreciate how much damage Thaksin had inflicted to the democratic aspirations of Thailand.

Thaksin's wife convicted for tax fraud, Thaksin himself convicted twice: first for electoral fraud and second for blatant conflict of interest around a government land auction with huge profits to his wife speaks volume about the type of corrupted democracy Thaksin was promoting . . . and certainly NOT the liberal democracy USA espouses.

Fonzi - Extrajudicial killings by police death squads directed by Thaksin himself resulting in thousands of innocents slaughtered without due process violated the basic precepts of rule of law underlining any liberal democracy.

In USA the people donate their money and time to support their candidates. Thaksin buys votes and buys political parties, buys judges and buys MPs period.

4r0294r943t3 said...

matty b: Obviously you are not Thai and have been brainwashed by the Nation/Bangkokpost.

The conviction was politically motivated. Go read a law book.

In regards to the drug war: there were/are channels setup for due process-per Al Jeezera. The media's argument before was no one came forward because they were afraid. Thaksin has been out of Thai politics and still no issues. This is all media play. Do you get it?

America does not have junk media, but Thailand does.