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Great post. I'd been looking at Thailand nervously too. Remember in 2004 when Blue-symp generals asked the defense minister to help give the appearance of instability in the wake of Chen's presidential election victory? When they threatened a coup when Lee Teng-hui came to power?

Scary, man. I hope the people force the military out in Thailand.


Thanks Michael. Don't know if I went a bit over the top with my prescription for an American response if something like that happens here, but it was late and I wrote what I felt at the time.

Sure hope people playgaming this in Washington.

I think I wrote a post about the 2004 episode in Taiwan, but I was unaware of the threats made at the start of Lee Teng-hui's tenure. Interesting.

It sounds like Thailand has a history of coups, and I suspect that the military will keep its promise and hold elections in 2007. As I said, I thought Thaksin should have been removed for his authoritarianism, but a coup was the WORST way to have done it.

Now, rather than let Thaksinomics fail on its own accord and have Thaksin leave office discredited, the military has turned him into a martyr. It's made him even more popular among the rural poor, and that kind of support may give Thaksin some kind of shot at a political comeback sometime in the distant future. And if he does gain power again, he's apt to be more, not less, authoritarian.

It could be that my scenario of Thaksin returning to power is a fantasy. Even if it is, the next PM will likely feel nervous about his position, and may end up taking undemocratic steps to ensure his survival.

There's also something else to consider. General Sondhi was apparently chosen by Thaksin for his competence; future generals will more likely be chosen for their loyalty, instead. Leaders of neighboring countries will also be tempted to chose their military heads on a similar basis.

Maybe Thailand is in a strategic position where it can afford that luxury; Taiwan certainly is not.

I have a blog about Thailand ( ) and have made a couple of short posts about the coup. I am waiting until I get in touch with a friend there so I can better understand what the situation really is and them I might write some more.

Democracy is the real loser. What hope has Thailand ever got of developing a democracy when they continually use coups to depose leaders they don't like?

Although the political situation was in a parlous state, they did appear to be making slow progress toward holding an election and ensuring the independence of key government institutions. That has all been lost now.

When you compare Taiwan and Thailand the situation in Taiwan doesn't seem so bad. Taiwan is slowly moving forward. In Thailand it is one step forward and two steps back.

I'll have to check that out, David. One thing though - how come you don't promote your Thailand blog on your Taiwan blog? Don't be so modest, man!


I agree in part that the situation in Taiwan looks better than Thailand. The government sure is overthrown by the military a lot over there.

Historically speaking though, it's my impression that military rule in Thailand lasts a relatively short time. Contrast that to Taiwan, which endured martial law for 35 years. With that precedent in mind then, I think the Taiwanese should justifiably fear a military rollback of democracy here.

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