Thailand’s Source of Strength
Fiercely independent and nationalistic, and being the only nation in Southeast Asia to avoid European colonization, Thailand’s sovereignty has been protected for over 800 years by its revered monarchy. The current dynasty, the House of Chakri, has reigned nearly as long as America has existed as a nation and the current king is regarded as the equivalent of a living “Founding Father.” And just as it has for 800 years, the Thai Monarchy today provides the most provocative and meaningful answer to the threats facing the Kingdom – including economic ruination and poverty.
The answer is self-sufficiency. Self-sufficiency as a nation, as a province, as a community and as a household. This concept is enshrined in the Thai King’s “New Theory” or “self-sufficiency economy” and mirrors similar efforts found throughout the world to break the back of the oppression and exploitation that results from an interdependent globalized system created by immense corporate-financier monopolies.
Formulated in the wake of the IMF’s crippling economic “reordering” of Asia in the late 1990′s, the “New Theory” implored both communities and individuals to grow sustainably by avoiding debt and investing income into expanding tangible, technological assets to further diversify and enhance economic activity.
A self-sufficient nation, is a sovereign nation – one that chooses how it interacts with the rest of the world on its own terms, rather than one that is bent in servile dependence on foreign trade, “international institutions,” and foreign banking cartels. Such a nation is an anathema to the global hegemons of Wall Street and London.
For this mortal sin against globalization, Thailand has been long targeted first by the British and French empires, and then the subsequent Anglo-American order for destabilization, destruction, and reordering. In 1932, a British-backed military coup led by Pridi Banomyong ended Thailand’s absolute monarchy. In 1946, he was accused of assassinating the popular King Ananda Mahidol upon his return to Thailand. Pridi escaped with US and British assistance, returning breifly in 1949 to lead a failed second coup. He would then spend the rest of his life in exile.
During the 1970′s and 1980′s, so-called “communists” would attempt to overthrow Thailand’s political order, including the monarchy. And most recently, US-backed billionaire, convicted criminal, accused mass murderer, and fugitive Thaksin Shinawatra has led a 10 year push to undermine and overthrow Thailand’s monarchy through a so-called “pro-democracy” movement.
Thailand’s “Pro-Democracy” Movement Oblivious
The vast majority of Thaksin Shinawatra’s supporters revere and respect the Thai King. Oblivious utterly to Thaksin Shinawatra and his foreign sponsors’ designs, they believe their battle is one for democracy, better representation, and a bigger piece of the pie currently, so they are told, held by Bangkok’s “elite.” The regime of Shinawatra has been careful in its compartmentalization of its plans to reorder Thailand politically, feeding the majority of its supporters anti-monarchy propaganda incrementally while cultivating an inner circle of anti-monarchist extremists who advocate “French Revolution-style” solutions to seizing power and upturning Thailand.
However, recent and growing protests against Thaksin Shinawatra’s political machine, beginning in October 2013 and continuing presently, have dealt Shinawatra a mortal wound. In its chaotic death throes, the regime has revealed openly, perhaps inadvertently, its designs to directly confront and overthrow the Thai monarchy and Thailand’s indigenous institutions – replacing them with the US-backed regime of Thaksin Shianwatra which is for all intents and purposes a hereditary dictatorship many times more “monarchical” than the Chakri Dynasty it opposes.
In a wholly inaccurate VICE Magazine documentary titled, “Bangkok Rising,” pro-regime militant leader Wuthipong Kachathamkhun (Ko Tee) openly declared he is fighting Thailand’s King, whom he claims is the “mastermind” behind “everything,” despite the aging monarch spending much of his time confined to a wheelchair and in the hospital. Ko Tee continues by declaring his intention to begin an “all out war” in Thailand.
Despite Ko Tee’s hyperbole, the notion of a civil war in Thailand is fantastical. At the height of Shinawatra’s popularity, a miniscule 7% identified themselves as “red,” referring to Thaksin Shinawatra’s fanatical supporters who bill themselves as the “red shirts.” This was in 2010. Since then, his regime, led currently by his own sister, Yingluck Shianwatra, has gutted Thailand’s rice industry with a disastrous, ill-conceived vote-buying rice subsidy scheme that has since collapse, leaving thousands of farmers unpaid, destitute, and desperate. Once the foundation of Shinawatra’s political support, they have turned in droves against him, many blocking roads across his political stronghold in the nation’s north and northeastern regions, while others have traveled to Bangkok to join growing protests there.
Despite the impossibility of Ko Tee’s dreams of a violent insurrection aimed at overthrowing the Thai monarchy, what is left of Thaksin Shinawatra’s support base is most likely not interested in such a vision, many still adorning their homes, vehicles, and bodies with images of the revered King and his predecessors, utterly unaware of Shinawatra and his foreign backers’ true designs of demolishing Old World Thailand, and building a New Order vassal state. Recent efforts to carve out a “Thaksin Republic” in the north of Thailand have been met with backlash even among Shinawatra’s supposed supporters. Upturning the monarchy would probably turn that backlash into mutiny across what is left of his dwindling ranks.
Out with the Old, in with the “New?”
While many may welcome the removal of Thailand’s constitutional monarchy as a sign of “progress,” even those in nations that are constitutional monarchies themselves, this is based on primarily Western perceptions of what a monarchy is – ignorant of how Thailand’s institutions are both different than Western monarchies and integral to Thailand’s long-standing sovereignty. Additionally, it is a perception based on ignorance of what seeks to replace it.
Thaksin Shianwatra, who held power from 2001-2006, has since maintained his iron grip on Thai politics through a series of nepotist proxies. His brother-in-law, Somchai Wongsawat, assumed power in 2008. His sisters hold various positions within his political party, and currently his youngest sister, Yingluck Shinawatra, is serving as “prime minister” in his stead while he evades a 2 year jail term, multiple arrest warrants, and a long list of pending court cases.
In other words, what seeks to replace Thailand’s constitutional monarchy, is an overt hereditary regime, in which direct political power is monopolized by a single family. While fanatical Shinawatra supporters like Ko Tee claim without evidence that Thailand’s King is “the mastermind,” the Shinawatra family openly imposes its authoritarian rule upon Thailand as it seeks to rewrite the nation’s charter, grant themselves additional powers, and eliminate any and all checks and balances that may impede their political ascent.
With Thaksin Shinawatra grooming his petulant son, Panthongtae “Oak” Shinawatra, to eventually step into the political arena, what Thailand is faced with is the elimination of their sovereign indigenous constitutional monarchy, and its replacement by a foreign-backed autocratic hereditary regime. To gauge just how much foreign backing Thaksin Shinawatra has, one needs only to look at the long list of Washington lobbyists that have lined up behind him, including many tied to the Carlyle Group of which Shinawatra was an adviser to before taking office in 2001.
Once again, the “principles” of the West evaporate quickly revealing its naked pursuit of power at any cost – including replacing a revered, respected, but ultimately independent dynasty, with an increasing reviled hereditary regime bent in servile obedience to Western ambitions.
For Thais on either side of the current political divide, they must understand the true ambitions of Thaksin Shianwata and the foreign designs he plays a part in. They must ask themselves if a hereditary regime serving foreign interests is really about “democracy” and “progress,” and if relinquishing their long-standing indigenous institutions in exchange for this insidious alliance is truly in their own best interests. It is safe to assume that should many of Thaksin Shinawatra’s “red shirt” followers, those that still remain, hear the words of Ko Tee, they would recoil just as many millions of their fellow Thais have long ago upon discovering and understanding the conspiracy against their nation.
Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.