Thailand and Myanmar's army leaders compared

Rule of Lords insists that Thailand’s army leaders are not better than Burma’s.


  • David Brown

    The Burmese military has been continuously in power for much longer and has tightened its grip on the country apparently with little effective resistance except at the edges

    As Awzar Thi of AHRC says, the Thai military is similar in its approach and actions but because of pressures on it (internally and externally?) has permitted elected or part elected governments to take power periodically.

    The general case is obviously right and Awzar Thais plea for Burmese activists not to support he Thai system as if it is democratic and above criticism is also right.

    However, the case would be stronger if there was more description of the forces in Thailand that constrain, and require, the military to relinquish their grip periodically.

    The Thai economy was opened up to international influence because the US required access to Thailand for their war against Vietnam and the Thai military discovered how to achieve huge subsidies and became dependent on foreign, mainly US, sources of funds and political support.

    The Thai military need to maintain some legitimacy for themselves and for their US benefactors which acts as some constraint on them.

    Another constraint is that the military use the Monarchy to maintain control of the braod base of people in Thailand.

    The military use protection of the monarchy as a routine cover for their actions in removing elected governments or any government that shows signs that it will become a danger to the military’s power in the land.

    Using this cover also places a constraint on the military as it must ensure that the monarchy is internationally respectable which entails providing some opportunity for the monarch to appear to protect his people form excesses.

    The recent dramatic improvement in communications, especially in the regions of Thailand, via radio, TV, including via satellite and the Internet has meant that the broad mass of people of Thailand are becoming much more aware of the manipulations occurring in their society.

    In particular, military and rich families interference in the justice system, in disenfranchising the bulk of the Thai people.

    The people are now aware of the opportunities for them if they are permitted to choose a government through free and fair elections.

    Therefore the latest “silent” coup engineered by the military that installed the Abhisit government is finding it very difficult to maintain its legitimacy both with its own people and internationally.

    When the Wall Street Journal * publishes:

    “Thaksin was no angel. Yet his main “mistake” was to win over the loyalty of the bulk of Thai voters through the one-man-one-vote parliamentary system. His power base threatened the cozy status quo enjoyed by Thailand’s army, urban elites and favored entrenched business concerns.”

    then the Thai army (but the other military are not exmpt) need to tread very carefully in a world that at least pays strong lip service to democracy!


  • David Gilham

    Isn’t there a case for restoring monarchy in Burma? If Burmese people are given facts and a chance, will thye not want HM SHWEBOMIN to return to Burma to reign as Constitutional Monarch without political power?

  • […] Thailand and Myanmar’s army leaders compared Global Voices Online, MA – by Mong Palatino Rule of Lords insists that Thailand’s army leaders are not better than Burma’s. As Awzar Thi of AHRC says, the Thai military is similar in … […]

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