Rick Bajornas

World News


Thailand: The Clock is Ticking

Less than three months to go before the coup-sters’ lease runs out. But of course this is Thailand so “we don’ need no steenking leases.” You can bet that General/PM Prayuth and his Merry Men won’t fold their tents and steal silently away come next January. They have so much work to do, all the work that they promised to do when they seized power plus all the work on the problems they have caused since then. The Constitution? ‘We’re working on it’ is the tired old refrain….not that Thailand actually needs a Constitution, the only thing they ever do with Constitutions is tear them up.

A wag once suggested that he could have a new Constitution ready for delivery within 24 hours. He had all the old ones on his work processor, all they had to do was decide which one they wanted. And how about all those bold promises of a return to order, an end to corruption, and a better business climate? Order? If you define order the same way they did in the old Soviet Union, yes…but that kind of order didn’t do much for Moscow’s ‘business climate,’ and it’s not doing much for Thailand’s either. Ending corruption? This regime? Don’t make me laugh!

The scorecard doesn’t look so good; accomplishments-none yet…or maybe one, at least in progress; the new improved Thaksin farm subsidy scheme.

Looks to me pretty much like the old one since the author is the same, but its defenders insist “no, no, not even close!” and support their case with the sort of byzantine arguments that might have been heard in the Medieval Catholic Church when they were wrangling over how many Angels could dance on the head of a pin; or the ones Mitt Romney used in 2012 to deny that he was the “Father of Obamacare.” Mitt admitted his paternity recently, something that would never happen in Thailand and rarely happens here-which just goes to show you that mendacity knows no boundaries.

Only the purpose of the ‘new’ scheme is different. The old one was designed to buy votes and win elections, just like our farm subsidies here in the US. The ‘new’ one is designed to keep impoverished farmers from getting so mad that they bring back the Red Shirts. It may not be progress but you can bet the Thai government will call it that.

Meanwhile the Military regime continues to demonstrate that nothing works in Thailand. The police still take bribes, botch investigations-and are rewarded for their incompetence. The courts are still hopelessly politicized. Enemies of the Junta are still charged with ludicrous ‘crimes’ and either locked up without trial or threatened with prosecutions that seem never to come. If you wanted a free, fair and timely trial the last place you would go is Thailand.

The press is so un-free that it is reduced to filling its pages with sporting news and celebrity sightings. The section headed “Comments” in the Bangkok Post is always blank these days when the article is even remotely political. And now we have a fresh ‘turn of the screw,’ high-ranking military officers, lots of ‘em, accused of dreaded ‘else majeste’ violations. A coup within a coup? What did these guys do anyway? We’ll probably never know. Another ‘problem’ to be solved, they’re piling up faster now, the backlog of unsolved problems is growing…the clock is ticking.