"Every civilised nation has a responsibility to stand up for people suffering under a brutal military regime like the one that has ruled Burma for too long."That was George W Bush. Regular Jotman readers know that I seldom approve of anything Bush says, but what he says here is true -- absolutely true.
Arguably the most powerful leader in Thailand said something quite different yesterday -- as soldiers fired automatic weapons at civilians and Buddhist monks. General Sonthi, head of Thailand's National Security Council, said in a speech:
Regarding the dispersal of demonstrations, the Burmese government did not use military force. Police were deployed. That was the right approach. It has been used by every country— the military must step back to let police take charge. But the actual tactics may vary from country to country. However, I think there is no violence in the current situation. Everything is under control. The Burmese government is still in control of the situation. On the reports that Buddhist monks were assaulted, that cannot be concluded just from looking at the photos. . . As it happened in Thailand, sometimes people used violence against officials. So officials may have to defend themselves. There has been no political suppression. Burmese authorities should understand that it—getting Buddhist monks involved in the demonstrations — is a tactic used by demonstrators. . . If we get involved, that will undermine our relationship. (New Mandala)
General Sonchi led a coup last year, deposing Thailand's democratically elected prime minister. One year ago last week, standing at a street corner in Bangkok around midnight, I was witness -- camera in hand -- to General Sonthi's motorcade as it sped from the Royal Palace to Thai Military Headquarters.
Thailand's good king had just given his seal of approval to General Sonchi's coup. Now that General Sonthi has disgraced Thailand before the entire civilized world, does General Sonchi continue to serve Thailand at the King's pleasure? Surely not for much longer.
Because Sonchi has just spoken out in support of evil men who kill Buddhist monks and peaceful civilians.
In Thailand there had been much speculation that General Sonchi would soon be joining the Thai cabinet as Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister. Evidently, Sonchi had bold political ambitions. These speculations will surely be put to rest.
Photo: Jotman file photo.