In February I put up a post about what was happening in Thailand from my perspective back at the beginning of February. I left it off with a sort of “here’s how we are, now how did things get here? To be continued” ending. Well, I’ve found someone who can lay it out far better than I could hope to. So, here is what you need to know about the history of the Thaksin regime: The Thaksin regime in perspective. A sample:
Thaksin was a divisive figure. To his opponents, he was a devil who greedily exploited his office and the trust of the people for personal gain, abused human rights mercilessly, and was rapidly becoming a dictator. To his admirers, he was an angel, a champion of the poor laid low by the forces of darkness and backwardness from which he had been trying to save his country. A more balanced perspective is needed.
Thaksin learned how to push the buttons of the Thai people, how to manipulate popular sentiment by telling people what they wanted to hear and making them believe it. All he needed for the stamp of legitimacy, or so he thought, was to win an election. He “won” his first election with only about 40% of the vote and bought off some of the lesser parties to form a government. He has never been able to honestly command a true majority of the Thai People.Thaksin was a Thai variant of a type recognisable in the history of other countries – the tycoon capitalist emerging during the transformation of a pre-industrial world of small business into today’s world of large corporations and conglomerates. He took the obsessive, aggressive and ruthless attitudes of the business tycoon into politics. His outlook differed from that of the old robber barons principally in that it found expression through his ideas of “new management.” This ideology was centralist and authoritarian, and fundamentally incompatible with democratic governance. Hence the damage Thaksin did to the limits on executive power created by the 1997 reforms, and hence his aggressive attitude towards people who did not fit his vision. It was this attitude, which more than anything else, underpinned his mishandling of the crisis in the deep south.
Read the whole thing.