Thai Army shows how to decisively cure a country of its cancerous civilian politics

One thing a military organisation worth its salt is good at is acting swiftly and decisively under duress to resolve a serious crisis. This is exactly what the Thai Army has done to untangle a government paralysed by civilian politics. Following the imposition of martial law by the Army last week, further measures have been put in place over the weekend to pave the way for a reboot of the Thai government…

By late on Saturday the junta had also announced it had dissolved the senate and would be assuming control of all lawmaking powers. Several hours earlier, it had summoned 35 prominent academics and activists to report to army headquarters in addition to some 155 leading politicians and leaders it had already called in for questioning.

The council has also sacked the police chief and head of the Department of Special Investigations – Thailand’s FBI. On Sunday afternoon it called in the editors of 18 major Thai newspapers – among them Khaosod, the Bangkok Post, ASTV, Matichon and Thairath – according to the online news portal Prachatai. It was not clear if the editors would be allowed to leave or detained in unknown locations like those arrested earlier.

Framing the right argument: Democracy for democracy's sake or the broader welfare of society?

Framing the right argument: Democracy for democracy’s sake or the broader welfare of society?

All these moves have, as of the above news report, been endorsed by the Thai monarch King Bhumibol Adulyadej. The endorsement gives legitimacy to the new Thai military government under General Prayuth Chan-ocha, who had earlier been appointed Acting Prime Minister by the military junta. Strong measures are in effect to maintain law and order, including a suspension of basic civil rights presumably under the premise that the country’s Constitution is now under review and effectively suspended as well…

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More than 100 people remain in military detention in secret locations in what has been seen as a push to suppress dissent and potential opposition to the military takeover. Those who refuse to answer the army’s summons are under threat of being court martialled, facing a two-year prison sentence and a fine.


A 10pm-5am curfew still stands across the nation and about 14 Thai TV channels and radio stations are still off-air. Some websites have been shut down and some international channels, like BBC and CNN, are still inaccessible on certain providers.

The Philippine government late last week had issued its two-cent opinion on the matter. “Noting” the developments in Thailand, Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) spokesman Charles Jose expressed his government’s “support” for a ‘peaceful resolution’ of the crisis.


“The Philippines likewise hopes for an early return to normalcy consistent with democratic principles, the rule of law and the will and interest of the Thai people,” the statement added.

But what does “normalcy” mean in the Philippine context? Just a quick look at the Philippines’ top headline stories easily tells one what a “normal” Philippines is. Normal civilian rule in the Philippines means pointless drawn-out inquiries into a massive corruption scandal involving hundreds of incumbent and former legislators. Normalcy is a Filipino public gripped by fear of crime which most disturbingly includes a proliferation of homicidal motorcycle-riding assassins who could be hired for less than $100 to effect summary executions. Normal Filipino politicians are traditional oligarchs who made billions monopolising the Philippine economy and keeping Philippine industry atrophied and unable to compete at a global level. Most pressing of all, normalcy in the Philippines has seen the decline of its military capability — borne out of a politically-sponsored paranoia over all things to do with the military that has festered for decades.

In everybody else’s concept of what it means to be “normal”, the Philippines’ Congress — its Senate and its House of Representatives — should by now have been dissolved. It is ineffectual, tainted by a profound scandal, and has generally been seen to be a den crooks for decades. That it continues to chug along is a testament to Philippine society’s once celebrated — now derided — “resilience”.

In contrast, the Thai Army has fixed in days what the Philippines’ civilian reformists and so-called “activists” have failed to do for many years. Indeed, the solutions to much of the Philippines’ problems are so obvious that the country’s “intelligentsia” have become too embarrassed to raise them in polite company — further contributing to the decline of the national collective intellect and paving the way for the triumph of all the wrong arguments.

The eminent American physicist Albert Einstein once said:

Problems cannot be solved using the same thinking that created them.

Alright then. So…

What exactly are Filipinos doing to solve the multitude of problems that beg obvious solutions?

Until we are able to answer that question, the Philippine government should do Filipinos a favour and keep out of Thailand’s internal affairs to spare us any further embarrassment.

[Photo courtesy The Independent.]

21 Replies to “Thai Army shows how to decisively cure a country of its cancerous civilian politics”

  1. The funniest part of the whole mess is the fact that the political ‘figure-head’, that has supposedly no power to rule, has endorsed what the military has done. Summary executions of the thieves is next?

  2. Thai generals no different to Filipino generals.They all live in mansions and steal millions whilst the foot soldiers get a bowl of rice a day.
    They are not in it for the people and they never have been, neither is the Thai Royal Family.

    Daily Mail newspaper U.K

    How future queen of Thailand (wearing only a tiny G-string) let her poodle Foo Foo eat cake: As coup rocks Bangkok, video reveals royal couple’s decadent lifestyle.

    In one scene, the topless princess appears to bend over to eat out of a dog bowl, while in another a servant falls to his knees in front of her. Later the royal couple sing Happy Birthday to their dog.

    Follow up story by the Daily Mail today

    MailOnline blocked in Thailand by military junta after publishing video revealing decadent lifestyle of country’s Crown Prince and his wife (cavorting in a G-string)

    Thai’s and Filipino’s both the same cannot keep there hands out of the cookie jar.

  3. Reboot – that would be interesting. That was what some of the filipinos thought during the EDSA 1. And what happened was they just logged off the current user and logged in a new user – – no reboot there.

  4. Thailand has a military coup every 7 years.
    Democrat Party (yellow shirts) are made up of Royalist and Bangkok’s elite wealthy families.
    When they lose the election they sulk, claim they were cheated (have not heard that one before), then try every trick under the sun to get back into power.
    When all else fails they totter off to the generals, give them large amounts of money and with the promise of nice jobs for the family members (head of this state company, president of that company).
    The generals totter off to the Royal Family give them large amounts of money, get the Royal Stamp of Approval and the coup starts.

  5. DFA Spokesman Jose, simply does not know , what he is talking about. The Philippines is not a Democracy; it is a Feudal Oligarchy…

    I don’t believe that the Military should intervene in civilian matters. We have also a corrupt military…it had produced political opportunists, like: Honasan, Lacson, Trillanes, etc…there were Euro Generals. A former General even shot himself, out of his contrition of being corrupt…a former General is in jail, for massive corruption.
    So, the Philippine military cannot be a REFEREE of the political protagonists in our country…
    Besides, Thailand has a King…a Royalty that its people still believe.

    I believe, we should resolve our differences ourselves; and solve our own problems. Civilian authority should always be paramount…the Military is only used for national defense; and to keep peace and order…I really hate those military political opportunists…they are the lowest scum in our political society.

    Look at Enrile, a former Defense Chief of Marcos…he was corrupt during the era of Marcos. Until now, he is still corrupt. Honasan, his son-in-law, who is from the military, is also corrupt. Same as Ramos, who was a General under Marcos. and was a leader of the Feudal Oligarch revolt, called EDSA. Some rumors states, he owns the Seafood City in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.A. Trillanes, became a lapdog of Aquino. He is corrupt also, with Pork Barrel scam…

    There are true leaders, and true patriots, in our country. They have not yet come out…

      1. Aquino owns the courts, including the Supreme Court…a Lapdog of Aquino, like Trillanes will never be charged in any court…

  6. Do you even understand Thai politics? What fixes do you think will Prayuth implement? Is he capable of designing those fixes properly? Do you even understand the nature of the conflict that has been going on since October?

    Let me answer that last one: you don’t. Therefore your premise that the Thai military will solve the political impasse in Thailand is likely to be wrong.

  7. One of the things you don’t understand, and which makes your analysis erroneous is that the Thai military is precisely one of the institutions that has contributed to the current crisis. In particular, the Thai military, along with its allies in the monarchy, have used a system of networks and patronage to weaken institutions in Thailand. So has their opponent, Thaksin. This is more complicated than you understand.

    1. That simply highlights my point — that there is NOTHING in the Philippines that could save it. Not its civilian government, not its military, not its “activists” and, most certainly, not its own people.

  8. Aside from the Filipinos, which other people cannot save their own country? And what, in your opinion, is the driving factor for Filipinos inability to save themselves?

    1. Driving factor for an ‘inability’ to save one’s self. Now there’s a “concept” there.

      Pinoys see their hopes lying in the politicians that they’d like to think they “elect”. Yet they at the same time see these very politicians as the bane of their future fortunes. If that is not an intractable state of affairs, I don’t know what is. Nothing, indeed, can help rescue Pinoys from their own misery.

      The salvation of Filipinos also lies in their developing a domestic capability to employ themselves. Another impossibility at the moment given the Philippines’ focus on everything foreign to boost their prospects for advancement.


      1. You forgot that Filipinos think that God will fix their problems too. I remember the awful commercials on TV that said Filipinos should pray to make the country better. The whole country is a funnyfarm!

    2. While it isn’t a universal condition, and certainly not enough to suggest a direct causal relationship, the prevailing state of affairs in the Philippines is mirrored in other countries — such as Mexico — that were former colonies of Spain.

    3. The specific condition I refer to is what benign0 refers to as the Pinoy tendency to see ‘their hopes lying in the politicians that they’d like to think they “elect”. Yet they at the same time see these very politicians as the bane of their future fortunes.’

  9. As you mentioned in one of your article, the Filipinos left behind in the country has “the lowest IQ in Asia – 86 – and one of the lowest in the world” contribute to the overall endemic problem of the country. Not to mention the deep rooted shackle of the religious influence to the population in general. A child growing up in the Philippines will start his education that ‘what is right is wrong, and vice versa’ from the environment he grew up with. How can you reverse that mentally from a big chunk of the hundred Million population that does not know anything better?

  10. well…i’m not really a fan of military junta and coup, so I can’t really praise what they did. for me, civilian supremacy should still prevail. no institution of a country, i believe, can decide the fate of a country and only its people can do so and that is through election.

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