Tuesday, September 26, 2006



Why not?

The Press reports that the Thai coup is no threat to continuing trade talks. Why not? A democratically elected government has been unconstitutionally overthrown by a military that thinks it knows better than the people. Surely that's something we should be protesting in the strongest terms - including by suspending negotiations until democracy is restored?

6 comments:

But dear I/S, New Zealand has always had a craven foreign policy with all our significant trade partners, from the despots of the Middle East to the totalitarians of China. Why on earth would we change now?

Posted by stephen : 9/26/2006 01:43:00 PM

facts are stupid things, huh? I mean, if you had the facts, you wouldn't be bemoaning that last thai government. I found this on wikipedia:

Former Senator Kraisak Choonhavan praised the coup, saying “This is the first coup where I don’t have to watch my back. All day Wednesday I gave interviews to Western media [who asked], what about democracy? So I would begin by telling about four years of human rights violations, abuse of power and uncaring of Parliamentary processes. I was amazed the lengthy explanation fell on deaf ears.”

Which would be, in this case, you.

Posted by mike sweetman : 9/26/2006 02:19:00 PM

Mike: as governments go, the last Thai one was pretty shitty, and as coups go, this one has been remarkably peaceful. But that does not alter the fact that that government was democratically elected, and that the Thai military has acted in a grossly unconstitutional manner (and usurped a constitutional process by which that government could have been held to account to boot).

This is simply not a regime that new Zealand - or any democratic government - should be opening its doors to at the moment.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 9/26/2006 02:56:00 PM

Of course, if the 'interim' junta manages to score Supachai as interim PM (and it looks like they have tentative agreement!), Thailand probably couldn't do any better for a fair trade negotiator than the head of UNCTAD. The fact that he's the Security Council P-5 preferred choice for UN Secretary General is probably a bit of a black mark I suppose.

Also, a pedantic point: the unseated government was not in fact democratically elected. It was a 'caretaker' government whose mandate had expired, and whose last election result was invalidated by the courts due to the opposition boycott in the face of rampant corruption/vote-buying. Thailand has had no democratically elected government for over a year. Not that this is a good excuse for ripping up the constitution and launching a military coup.

I agree with you overall in principle I/S, but it remains true on the ground that this is no ordinary coup. Both facts stand awkwardly eyeing each other from across the dancefloor: that this is an outrage committed upon democratic process; and that the Thai public (and this is *their* country) seems overall focused on ensuring that something positive and democratic emerges from this democratic failure.

The Nation is on fire today, www.nationmultimedia.com - here's an excellent article about press freedom. http://www.nationmultimedia.com/2006/09/26/opinion/opinion_30014635.php

Posted by Tze Ming : 9/26/2006 04:11:00 PM

Tze Ming: I agree with you overall in principle I/S, but it remains true on the ground that this is no ordinary coup. Both facts stand awkwardly eyeing each other from across the dancefloor: that this is an outrage committed upon democratic process; and that the Thai public (and this is *their* country) seems overall focused on ensuring that something positive and democratic emerges from this democratic failure.

And that bit is at least good news. But I'm not sure how long it can last if they don't simultaneously address the army's desire to intervene in politics. While this coup is a peaceful and popular one, there's no guarantee that the next one will be.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 9/26/2006 04:32:00 PM

> It was a 'caretaker' government whose mandate had expired

Sadly in thailand 57% of the vote doth not a victory make. The opposition didnt boycott the election because they opposed his corruption (which would be hypocritical) they did it because they knew they had no chance of winning.

> While this coup is a peaceful and popular one, there's no guarantee that the next one will be.

I think this coup was possible because of the massive support for it in the capital. Ie its being popular was fairly fundimental to its possibility. Much better this way than via assasination of course.

Despite the fact it is mildly unpopular throughout the country specificlly amongst the 57% or so that suport thaksin.

Posted by Genius : 9/28/2006 12:48:00 AM