Sunday, October 19, 2008

Who will save Thailand?

Concerning the ongoing crisis in Thailand, The Economist has identified someone who could set things right:
The pro-Thaksin United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship held a 10,000-strong rally two days before Ms Angkhana’s cremation. Like the PAD it is arming and training “security guards”. Both groups have democracy in their names but are mainly led by reactionaries, unconcerned how many pawns die fighting their battles. Another coup or fresh elections, the two solutions most widely touted, may only postpone the next clashes. Making things worse, a border spat with Cambodia, whipped up by the PAD, this week led to both sides’ troops firing on each other. The only person with the authority to plead for sanity is the king. Thailand is waiting.
If Thais are, in fact, "waiting," it ought to be asked: is this any way to respond to a crisis?

I ask this question because Thailand's current problems stem -- in large measure -- from the lack of confidence many Thais have in the country's democratic institutions. In so far as the Thai people can solve problems for themselves by working things out within these institutions, so much the better -- in respect to the country's longer-term democratic prospects. Whereas patient forbearance is a democratic virtue, waiting for divine intervention is not.
Hat-tip Bangkok Pundit

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