2014 May 22 Thursday
Thailand Coup Against Rural Proles And Their Corrupt Leaders
The Thai military has risen to support the most skilled and accomplished Thais against people so foolish that they support a nepotistic and corrupt government.
The coup was seen as a victory for the elites in Thailand who have grown disillusioned with popular democracy and have sought for years to diminish the electoral power of Thaksin Shinawatra, a former prime minister who commands support in the rural north. Unable to win elections, the opposition has instead called for an appointed prime minister, and pleaded with the military for months to step in.
Secretary of State John Kerry said the coup was unjustified.
“There is no justification for this military coup,”
But the government was hopelessly corrupt and voters are hopelessly irresponsible and foolish. Democracy failed. What the Thai military ought to do: institute a very restricted voting franchise. Current and former military, medical doctors, engineers, and other skilled workers should get to work. Everyone else? Nope.
Will American government some day deteriorate so far that a substantial fraction of the population will press the military to stage a coup?
I am reminded of Santiago Chile before the military overthrew the government of socialist President Salvador Allende. In Santiago middle class women threw corn at soldiers in the streets as a way to tell the soldiers they were chicken and afraid to overthrow Allende. As Allende's government grabbed control of businesses and messed up the economy the non-prole women were furious that the military did not step in. Will we reach that state ourselves some day?
By Randall Parker at 2014 May 22 08:33 PM
"institute a very restricted voting franchise. Current and former military, medical doctors, engineers, and other skilled workers should get to work. Everyone else? Nope."
I think you meant to say "should get to vote." And I agree. I've always opposed universal suffrage. But I don't think it's necessary to restrict it to highly skilled workers. I'd settle for anyone who's gainfully employed and not receiving any sort of government assistance (including medicare and social security).
"Will we reach that state ourselves some day?"
We reached that point decades ago. Unfortunately, the loons are now running the asylum i.e. schools, universities, msm, unions, etc.
Nothing can beat "clinical" trials for creating pressure to treat the diseases of existing bodies politic.
I'm decreasingly interested in governmental reforms and even in territorial secession as the route to sorting proponents of social theories into governments that test them, and increasingly interested in synthetic land by exponentially replicating, ecologically self-sustaining floating atolls harboring fragile algae photobioreactors.
We're one revolutionary baseload* energy technology advance from realizing it. This is what the seasteading people haven't been getting: Seasteads are organisms, incorporating human bodies politic as symbionts, that reproduce from in situ reasource by budding -- but you must have high grade power to do it in the oceans. If someone can show me the arithmetic saying that OTEC will produce the vast majority of its own structural mass from in situ resources with a doubling time fast eough to keep venture capitalist happy, I'll give Marshall Savage's work a look but I don't see it yet.
*Baseload can, of course, include a revolutionary storage system but baseload is necessary to keep capital-intensive infrastructure powered.
But Pinochet was also very bad, and in the end he weakened the educational system in Chile.
It is not so clear if the elite-backed military government will serve the interests of the majority or if it will lead to the kind of productivity that can benefit the nation in the long run.
Where did you get your information on the Allende coup? Conservapedia? Normally I think you're reasonably smart even when I disagree with you, but this post just makes you look like a moron.
"But Pinochet was also very bad, and in the end he weakened the educational system in Chile."
Communists *did* kill 17 holocaust's worth of people and were eager to carry South America into a similar glorious future, so dropping a few of them from an airplane into the Pacific Ocean was measured and thoughtful. But whether Pinochet cast his net too wide is open to debate, I will allow.
"Where did you get your information on the Allende coup? Conservapedia? Normally I think you're reasonably smart even when I disagree with you, but this post just makes you look like a moron."
Right. Randall doesn't seem to know anything about Chile and the Allende coup or the situation in Thailand.
The US was against the Allende government and supported the Pinochet coup against it. Allende of course was a socialist but more importantly he was hostile to American interests and international capital.
Kerry said the coup in Thailand was unjustified because the US was a major supporter of the Shinawatra regime. Shinawatra promoted US/globalist and international financial interests and used the rural north for electoral strategy. The opposition to Shinawatra aren't "skilled workers" who share neo-liberalish views with Randall. They are nationalists, populists, and "proles" from the capital and south.
>>Where did you get your information on the Allende coup? Conservapedia? Normally I think you're reasonably smart even when I disagree with you, but this post just makes you look like a moron.
Randall is correct. The majority of the Chilean people were hoping for the military to intervene and do something to halt the lunatic policies of Allende. The Chilean congress asked for intervention, the Chilean supreme court asked for intervention and the man and woman in the street were begging for intervention. Here is a data point to recall: Allende won the presidency with 37% of the vote. A quirk of Chilean electoral law at the time enabled one to win with a mere plurality, not a majority. Allende took this slim reed of victory and took it as license to rule by decree and in less than 3 years time destroyed the entire economy, along with the constitution. Why is it seen that it was Allende's government that was overthrown by forces opposed to him. Isn't it more correct to say that the Chilean congress and supreme court were overthrown by Allende's grab for power, ruling by decree? The military intervention was not the best outcome, but the military were not the true villains, Allende and his supporters were.
Daniel, you neglected to mention this little snippet regarding the Chilean economy:
According to the Church Committee report, in their meeting with CIA Director Richard Helms and Attorney General John Mitchell on 15 September 1970 President Nixon and his National Security Advisor, Henry Kissinger, directed the CIA to prevent Allende from taking power. They were “not concerned [about the] risks involved,” according to Helms’ notes. In addition to political action, Nixon and Kissinger, according to Helms’s notes, ordered steps to “make the economy scream.”
The quote is taken directly from the CIA's own historical operations library project: https://www.cia.gov/library/reports/general-reports-1/chile/
Actually Allende sounds like a guy who respected democratic traditions. This from wiki:
Allende's involvement in Chilean political life spanned a period of nearly forty years. As a member of the Socialist Party, he was a senator, deputy and cabinet minister. He unsuccessfully ran for the presidency in the 1952, 1958, and 1964 elections. In 1970, he won the presidency in a close three-way race. He was elected in a run-off by Congress as no candidate had gained a majority.
Current and former military, medical doctors, engineers, and other skilled workers should get to work. Everyone else? Nope.
Without janitors, doctors and engineer won’t be able to practice their professions.
Allende and Nixon both pursued policies damaging to the Chilean economy.
bbartlog, Please be specific.
The women in Santiago really did throw corn and features at the Chilean soldiers to goad them into overthrowing Allende. I first read about this years ago in a discussion forum in a Stanford U web server with a prof telling how his former student was in Santiago at the time working for Citibank and saw this happening. Now I just found it again in a book.
Allende really was screwing up the Chilean economy even without Nixon's help Nixon just piled on. I think Allende's damage must have been greater because he was nationalizing companies.
Fred, Allende was hostile to markets. Nationalizing lots of companies (as Allende did) is a sure path to lower living standards. He nationalized farms too.
Thailand: It is a perpetual mess. Thailand has had 12 coups since 1932 even though the military ruled from 1947 to 1973. During Thaksin Shinawatra's rule so many military promotions were done due to connections to Shinawatra that I'm curious whether Shinawatra was doing some of those appointments in order to reduce his risk of military overthrow.
I do not expect to see the Thai military do a good job governing Thailand. But it strikes me that a military could phase out its rule in a smarter way if it applied qualifications to voters weed out lower quality voters.
Thaksin Shinawatra was a US?Wall St. client who promoted US capital interests and was "pro-market" and privatization. Since you're pro-market and capital and privatization, I'm not sure why you're against him.
for over a decade, Thaksin Shinawatra has attempted to transform Thailand into a Western client state. An enumerated list of Shinawatra's sovereignty-usurping concessions and crimes against the Thai people make it clear as to why the military along with Thailand's other indigenous and independent institutions have been working systematically to diminish and uproot his political influence over Thailand:
In the late 1990's, Thaksin was an adviser to notorious private equity firm, the Carlyle Group. He pledged to his foreign contacts that upon taking office, he would still serve as a "matchmaker" between the US equity fund and Thai businesses. It would represent the first of many compromising conflicts of interest that would undermine Thailand's sovereign under his rule.
Thaksin was Thailand's prime minister from 2001-2006. Has since dominated the various reincarnations of his political party - and still to this day runs the country by proxy, via his nepotist appointed sister, Yingluck Shinawatra.
In 2001 he privatized Thailand's resources and infrastructure including the nation's oil conglomerate PTT - much to Wall Street's delight.
In 2003, he would commit Thai troops to the US invasion of Iraq, despite widespread protests from both the Thai military and the public. Thaksin would also allow the CIA to use Thailand for its abhorrent rendition program.
Also in 2003, he initiated what he called a "war on drugs." Nearly 3,000 were extrajudicially murdered in the streets over the course of just 90 days. It would later turn out that more than half of those killed had nothing to even do with the drug trade. In this act alone, Thaksin earned himself the title as worst human rights offender in Thai history, and still he was far from finished.
In 2004, he oversaw the killing of 85 protesters in a single day during his mishandled, heavy-handed policy in the country's troubled deep south. The atrocity is now referred to as the "Tak Bai incident."
Also in 2004, Thaksin attempted to ramrod through a US-Thailand Free-Trade Agreement (FTA) without parliamentary approval, backed by the US-ASEAN Business Council who just before the 2011 elections that saw Thaksin's sister Yingluck Shinawatra brought into power, hosted the leaders of Thaksin’s "red shirt" "United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship" (UDD) in Washington DC.
Throughout his administration he was notorious for intimidating the press, and crushing dissent. According to Amnesty International, 18 human rights defenders were either assassinated or disappeared during his first term in office. Among them was human rights activist and lawyer Somchai Neelapaijit. He was last seen in 2004 being arrested by police and never seen again.
Also throughout Thaksin's administration, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) claimed in its report, "Attacks on the Press 2004: Thailand" that the regime was guilty of financial interference, legal intimidation, and coercion of the press.
Since the 2006 coup that toppled his regime, Thaksin has been represented by US corporate-financier elites via their lobbying firms including, Kenneth Adelman of the Edelman PR firm (Freedom House, International Crisis Group,PNAC), James Baker of Baker Botts (CFR, Carlyle Group), Robert Blackwill (CFR) of Barbour Griffith & Rogers (BGR), Kobre & Kim, Bell Pottinger (and here) and currently Robert Amsterdam of Amsterdam & Partners (Chatham House).
In April of 2009 gunmen would fire over 100 rounds into the vehicle of anti-Thaksin activist, protest leader, and media mogul Sondhi Limthongkul in a broad daylight assassination attempt. He was injured but survived.
On April 10, 2010, heavily armed professional militants deployed by Thaksin Shianwatra and his "red shirt" front targeted and assassinated Colonel Romklao Thuwatham who was at the time commanding crowd control operations near Bangkok's Democracy Monument. Thaksin's "red shirts" would go on to clash with the military for weeks before ending their riot with mass city-wide looting and arson.
In August of 2013, businessman and outspoken Thaksin opponent Ekkayuth Anchanbutr was abducted and murdered.
Whatever the CIA wants to tell itself about its own importance in world events, in the end, no outside organization can sow dissent without it already being there. And dissent against the creation of a Soviet-style gulag system in their own country is something that most middle-class Chileans would certainly be against. That is why 63% of the country did not want Allende. He was "elected" on a technicality and then proceeded to dismantle the country. After all, he could've easily reversed whatever effects the CIA was mustering.
One of the commenters at West Hunter calls the estimable Greg Cochran "the master of concision," although sometimes I cannot help but suspect that concision is the master of Greg Cochran.
"As Allende's government grabbed control of businesses and messed up the economy the non-prole women were furious that the military did not step in."
Allende was a DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED PRESIDENT by the immense majority, but who did not want to play ball with the U.S. Unlike today's cowardly politicians, he stayed fighting till the end.
Many Americans have been convinced that the rest of the world is simply jealous of them and their freedom. Right wing media outlets like Fox News tells them that bad guys across the world just won't do what the loving and altruistic United States tells them to and that countries are malevolently trying to disrupt the international order. But, when you look all around the world, you almost can't help but notice one common denominator. No matter how far away it may be from the shores of the continental United States, the United States always seems to be close by wherever trouble is found.
In Afghanistan, many Americans struggle to understand why they kill American soldiers who are on Afghan land. Certainly many of those same Americans would certainly shoot and kill any Afghan soldiers who dared to invade the American homeland.
The United States tries to hold other nations accountable for their actions. But who holds the United States' government accountable for its actions? Until now, no one. In the past the U.S. could say one thing, and then do another, and then try to force others to play by rules that the U.S. didn't agree to abide by themselves. But the world is changing and other countries are no longer willing to be held to these "international standards." After the United States has invaded other countries without U.N. approval (Iraq), assassinated world leaders they didn't like (in several countries), and demanded sole regional influence in the Western Hemisphere, don't expect the rest of the world to continue to agree to rules that the United States itself does not obey. The world is about to get more chaotic. And the United States' government would be remised if it didn't look in the mirror for some of the blame.
Why do Americans, fail to understand and effectively engage with peoples of the former colonies? Why is pseudo-respect paid to - but nothing really learned from - indigenous cultures? Why has western interest in and support for the progressive states in Latin America been so weak?
Many in intellectual circles, as well as anarchists, are more inclined to back utopian movements, such as the Zapatistas. And why do western left groups side almost instinctively with almost any sort of criticism of independent governments, even when this is driven or backed by the imperial powers?
I am thinking of the 'human rights' criticisms of Cuba and Venezuela, the 'non-extractive' criticisms of progressive governments in Bolivia and Ecuador and the sectarian Islamist attacks on Libya and Syria. I suggest we might see three elements in this failure: an educational-informational deficit, chauvinistic versus emancipatory nationalism and a basic ethical failure.
Western populations, despite their high levels of formal education, are trained to see the world in modernist models, depreciating histories. They imagine we can understand the reality of other cultures based on self-referential principle, and that the actual historical experience and conceptual thought of other cultures does not really matter. On top of this, and although we westerners are wired into international debates, these are debates heavily moderated by powerful states and media monopolies. The narrow scope of such debates is often not recognised because, as Noam Chomksy says, media gatekeepers 'strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum'. Western leftists often rely on the 'liberal' western corporate media. Yet these media monopolies severely limit the range of information and debate on the most important strategic issues. Western modernism, including much of western Marxism, builds poor understandings of other cultures, based on these self-referential models.
There is an ethical failure in the U.S. The problems of others are seen as 'our' problems and we, the disinterested saviours, are going to solve them. It is asked, for example: what are 'we' going to do about Nigeria, or Somalia? Or how can we tolerate 'dictatorships' in Venezuela, Libya or Syria? The recent imperial doctrines of 'humanitarian intervention' and the 'responsibility to protect' make good use of this vulnerability amongst the western left, drawing on an educational-informational deficit. Yet the self-determination of peoples is a relatively simple ethical matter, rooted in international law (the UN Charter), asserted in the Declaration of Decolonisation (of 1960) and enshrined in the international covenants on Human Rights (1966). No matter.
Western arrogance pretends a responsibility that it neither understands nor is capable of delivering. We do not appreciate, it seems, that outsiders are categorically irresponsible, because they typically make demands, intervene and then walk away from the consequences. They can talk democracy but are almost never held accountable for their interventions. This is a problem which also pervades the multi-billion dollar aid industry - we will fix other peoples' problems, even saving them from themselves. That is not too far from the colonial era.
So in Thailand you think the urban people are the good guys and the rural people are the bad guys? Do you think that is true in the US also?
This is very simple.
Urban Elite: Are usually wealthy (often of ethnic Chinese ancestry), educated, and CONNECTED. Thailand is a corrupt nation, and it is hard to get anything done without bribes or knowing someone.
The Rest of the Nation: Rural and/or poor, unconnected, typically just Thai in ancestry or Malay (Muslims in the south). Basically, they have limited upward mobility because the deck is stacked.
The Urban Elite are fighting to maintain their "privilege".
Is the Thaksin family (also ethnic Chinese) their savior? Maybe/ maybe not, maybe they are simply using the poor/less connected folk to coop the power of the urban elite/military/monarchy. However, in that process, I'm guessing new people will move up, power will have to be shifted, it will open opportunity.
Is it irrational to vote for him? What if your option is someone who doesn't even pay lip-service to your needs?
The King himself is part Chinese. The core of the nation is Thai/Thai-Chinese. Many of these rural poor in the northeast which comprises Thaksin's support base are not even really Thai but Isan and Laotian.
It's similar to the dynamic in the US where the poor who aren't part of the traditional core American nation are used by certain politicians for electoral support and political power.
Well Isan are basically Lao, and Lao are simply "mountain Thai"...their language is mutually understandable, Thai look as Lao like hillbillies...Lao listen to Thai music quite a bit and watch Thai tv with no subtitles...I've seen it myself. The nations elite tend to be Chinese or part-Chinese, yes including the royal family. Even today, many Thai liked to be compared to Chinese based on their physical appearance. They hate being compared to Khmer, whom their ancestors took the area from in historic times.