A Coup In Thailand Is Not Uncommon But The Most Recent Power Grab Could Lead To Civil War

Whether the Obama administration wants to or not, unrest in Asia is forcing them to “pivot” to the region. From China’s multiple territorial disputes with its neighbors to a resurgent Japanese military, Asia is in a state of flux.

The most recent example of that is the coup, led by Army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha, which took place this week in Thailand. Today the military detained former Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and other political figures who had come to meet with the coup leaders. The actions have resulted in the US suspending aid, according to the Voice of America.

The Washington Post has a succinct primer on the Thai coup, while The Wall Street Journal looks at the impact of unrest in Thailand on the markets.]

An editorial in The Bangkok Post argued that while the Army chief’s motives may have been good, the coup presents no real solution to the political unrest because “deep-seated strife cannot be resolved quickly” and “adding another putsch to our lengthy history of coups will only deepen the entanglement.”

Serhat Unaldi says the twelfth coup since 1932 should serve as a sign of how dysfunctional and deceptive democracy in Thailand has become.

“In this broader context the latest intervention by the army appears as just another indicator of how defective Thai democracy has become. Yet, by declaring martial law throughout the country and then staging a full-blown coup, army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha not only put democracy and civil liberties on hold, he also seized the power of the king. If applied to the entire kingdom, martial law can only be promulgated by Royal Proclamation. General Prayuth’s actions therefore reveal that it is not just Thai democracy that has come under pressure,” he writes in The Diplomat.

William Pesek of Bloomberg News also believes this coup differs from previous takeovers because of where it could lead.

“With no exit strategy visible for the generals, this coup could easily prove to be an unmitigated disaster, even a prelude to full-blown civil war. The odds of a credible election that heals Thailand’s wounds over the next few years are in the single digits right now. Yet there is no other means of establishing a stable government that both the international community and the Red Shirts will accept,” he contends.


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