The New Face Of Thailand - An Infographic

Tyler Durden's picture

Thailand’s twelfth coup since 1932 reveals both the sorry state of its democracy and the erosion of the monarchy. But as political tensions in Thailand have escalated, raising fears that the country could return to the unrest that followed the ouster in 2006 of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra's brother, Thaksin Shinawatra, we thought it useful to note the key Thai political figures facing yet another crisis. As The Diplomat's Serhat Unaldi notes, "If Thailand negotiates successfully, if the country avoids further bloodshed, it will soon be back on track for a positive transformation. If it fails, the consequences will be disastrous."




Thailand: A Coup, the Crown, and Two Middle Classes

via The Diplomat's Serhat Unaldi,

“I have decided to seize power,” Thailand’s army chief said on May 22, slamming his hand on the negotiation table where he had gathered the country’s rival political factions. The army commander was simply fed up.

The evolution of a functioning democracy has been put on hold in Thailand back in 2006, when the military staged a coup against the popular but controversial prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra. The Bertelsmann Transformation Index, which reports that post-coup leaders have been “unable to place authentic national reconciliation above partisan bickering,” has continuously ranked Thailand in the gray zone between highly defective democracy and moderate autocracy ever since. Supporters of the electoral democracy that had brought Thaksin to power were pitted against royalists who called on traditional elites to curb the influence of the exiled former prime minister.

Alongside a fight between leaders who were positioning themselves ahead of the upcoming royal succession, this was a battle between Thailand’s middle classes. An emerging middle class with ties to the provinces and which owed its rise to Thaksin’s mildly redistributive policies and increased market access clashed with members of an established Bangkok-based middle class that had gained prestige and wealth from its association with the monarchy and decades of royalist-driven capitalist development in the capital city.

Gradually all state institutions were drawn into the political conflict and became partisan players. The judiciary in particular took the side of Thaksin’s foes and played an active role in removing governments close to him from office. One-sided legal meddling in politics led to accusations of “double standards” and a loss of trust in the rule of law among Thaksin’s supporters. However, the “judicialization” of Thailand, which recently resulted in the removal of Thaksin’s sister from the post of prime minister following a ruling by the Constitutional Court, did nothing to solve the stalemate.

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. With the slow departure of the ailing King Bhumibol from the political scene, the Crown has been put on the negotiating table.

Whereas the coup-makers in 2006 had the king’s backing, the soldiers behind the most recent military intervention did not seek royal legitimation of their actions. In fact, by sidelining the caretaker government of the Thaksin-affiliated Phuea Thai party, General Prayuth might even have antagonized an important member of the royal family: Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn, who is known to be close to Thaksin. Interestingly, the prince has recently been given the command of a strategically important infantry regiment. He also holds a seat on the defense council. For that reason, it is likely that frictions within the military and between rival factions in the palace will come to the fore in the coming weeks.

If the coup results in the military’s unilateral appointment of a new prime minister who is unacceptable to the Thaksin side a further escalation is bound to occur. Yet such bleak predictions belie the potential for progressive change that lies at the heart of all crises. Rather than seeing Thailand’s troubles as a decline one might equally interpret them as a negotiation of a new social contract ahead of a sea change in the structure of the Thai state.

As King Bhumibol’s health fades, his charismatic leadership will soon no longer be a source of legitimacy for those who have prospered under his reign. The fear of losing hard-won privileges to the rural masses is a very real one for the royalist elites, sections of the military and many middle-class Bangkokians. Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn, who has a controversial past, is unlikely to gain the respect his father could take for granted. The monarchy will be unable to provide legitimacy for an unequal capitalist development that merely trickles down to rural Thais but does not have their interests at its heart. Changes in people’s aspirations and a distinct “Thai spirit of capitalism” have already prompted a gradual reorientation away from the religious values that underpinned Bhumibol’s reign. Thailand is in an unenviable position having to cope with such tectonic shifts. But such is the nature of regimes that depend on one man. Once a monarch dies, the future is up for grabs.

And so Thailand is negotiating. True, the process does not look pretty and widespread bloodshed is a real possibility, but so too is compromise, even if mediated by the military. On Wednesday and under the watch of General Prayuth, the opposing sides met for a first round of talks. Even though the coup that followed the second round yesterday must be deplored and is likely to make matters worse in the short term, it is to be hoped that Thailand recognizes eventually that, with the loss of royal legitimacy, it can only be democracy and a free and fair market economy that can provide the basis of a prosperous future.

Conservatives must acknowledge the legitimate aspirations for social mobility of the emerging middle classes and the poor in the provinces and at Bangkok’s margins. The opposite camp needs to understand the fear among the old middle class, traditional elites and other Thaksin haters of losing their political voice in a system dominated by the demands of the majority. Thaksin’s repressive tendencies were proof enough that a leader who has the backing of the bulk of the people is tempted to subvert the liberties of minorities.

If Thailand negotiates successfully, if the country avoids further bloodshed, it will soon be back on track for a positive transformation. If it fails, the consequences will be disastrous.

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Seize Mars's picture

Thomas Jefferson:

"A little rebellion from time to time is a good thing."

DoChenRollingBearing's picture

Waiting for SatoshiX01 to tell us how great Asia is..........

FredFlintstone's picture

Ah, I miss that man. I think he was posting as "james.conally" not too long ago.

DoChenRollingBearing's picture

He was smart, that is for sure, but so full of himself that it got old for me.  

Hey!  Maybe he really is happy over there!  Never a bad idea to hope for someone to have a good life.

JLee2027's picture

My money is on the Jatu Porn Prom in his pan guy.

tip e. canoe's picture

agreed, dochen. the coup de grassy ass for me was his screaming that Carlyle, etal. is the antichrist and then spewing propaganda for Thaksin (Carlyle front man).

sometimes peeps are too smart for their own good.

Sinnedi's picture

To bad that any american fueled rebellion is equal to squashing of dissent online. There are spam bots that are pro american .gov that sound exactly like they are from CNN and MSNBC sometimes. I am so amazingly sure that is what the NSA is. I see posts that support OAS being called communistic, tea parties to be retarded redneck boomers, and anti blm to be gun nut autists who sit in their mother fathers uncle grandpas basements on their food stamped computers. I see forum posts against cliven bundy saying that he owed the govt taxes, that he was a racist biggot that needs to adhere to the law of the blm. And anything that said against them got the cointelpro labels below, and above.  This happened on forums like I dare you to go to that board and see how desolate and manipulated it is.

Another way they attack the citizens is the good old fascist way. It surprisingly works for the majority of the people unless I am blind. The best way to fight against this is uptmost honesty the shilling/posts hate this because it prooves everything that they say wrong.

I actually see my generation being openly brainwashed on there. I see one post for these groups 4-6 posts come up discrediting them calling them part of a Zionist/chinese/Iranian/Russian govt with usually the names JIDF kike chaim, cidf chink gook hang dong random 4th grade Chinese name,.iidf sandnigger ridf Ivan Bolsheviks etc Idf = internet defense post.  Its really disgusting the tactic they use. I will not fight against any citizen, i will fight against the secret societies that stage this racism, and hide enlightenment from everyonas. Well at least I now know what our govt plans to fight as I love to fuck with the shills saying i did not even know these terms existed untill today. Or like no one i ever met talks this way. And there like oh um !!!!!! Random label above!!!!. That is the goal of the elite. To get everyone to fight while they rule behind the scenes. also known as cointelpro  I have documentation of shills being on there. Like. These few pictures. here is the NSA I talked about. A whistle blower I guess.   here is a random string of threads/forum posts that discredit or try to get a possible person to pay attention to a single topic/ or a controlled topic. The ones posted by real people/ talk about taboo subjects never get responses. There was a time where the responses by the common man was even slower then usual. And we saw all these threads get posted like twice as fast. People started to see what the fuck was up then. spammed posts to discredit a persons statement. here is the bot with the same post on several different boards across the website. 

This is mildly depressing that my generation has to fight for information to be spread just for themselves instead of being bombarded with false information.


Hey do you want to see what people in america are really looking up.

K here you go.


A lot of it is conspiracy/anti govt related.

Were ready for the truth. Now its up to everyone to share it and get rid of the corrupt and share information without war. Which will lead to enlighten ment.


I will die just to make sure every motherfucker on this planet is not manipulated.

Cathartes Aura's picture


I will die just to make sure every motherfucker on this planet is not manipulated.

no need, impossible task anyway. 

you do have within your mind-power to re-cognise how thorough the mind manipulations are - look closely at the threads here even, and see where the lines are drawn to "othering" and be-little-ing, it's not much different to anywhere else on the webs.

"fatties & bitches & FSA" & any peoples not considered the "right" colour or appearance or religion or voter/party - a lot of it is more group-think than trollage, but the trolls certainly feed off it, play to the tone.

it's everywhere, and it's good to see through it, if one can.  don't take sides, know that face-to-face is where the true inter-acting happens, everything else is just

a form of entertainment, and ultimately a waste of Time.

Cathartes Aura's picture

eye contact.

and the ability to sense what the eye sees, deep in your bones.

it's the only Real way to exist, going forward.

BrocilyBeef's picture

Makes me hungy for Thai.

NoDebt's picture

First reaction:  The guy in the middle looks a little like a Tai Geroge W Bush.  "The state of our nation is strong."


nathan1234's picture

No Thugskin in charge anymore

TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

OK, is it just me, or does Rongluck Shinawatra (Thugskin's youngest sister), except for the eyes and lack of canyonlike facial crevices, look like she could be a Hillarybot?

UGrev's picture

What? no photo bomb from the little Nork dictator? 

tip e. canoe's picture

the cut-out shadows behind the toy soldiers is a touch of subtle brilliance, bill.
you should do a whole series on the Crown Prince Caligulongkorn.
that wouldn't violate lese majeste, would it?

nathan1234's picture

IMHO, the Thai military did the absolutely right thing

For a Carlyle man like Shinawatra to continue to rule Thailand through his sister is an insulat to the Thai's whose tradition and culture goes back hundred's of years.

True democracy in Thailand will mean a man or woman who really cares about their country and not be subservient to any one or any other country.

The West cannot impose their own in Asia anymore.

Asia will come into it's own . Changes in India with the remova of the Italian Empress is another sign.  Those useless pieces of paper printed or digitally released called US$ to bribe, influence,hire merecenaries and terrorists will be soon a thing of the past.

Despots, Dictators, etc and Western Stooges will soon be a thing of the past in Asia.

It's also time that Americans take back their Government if they want to retain some credibility in the world.

Spitzer's picture

Thai's don't understand that you cant care about anything for democracy to work.

If the Thai's only knew how fuct the west was..



conscious being's picture

"If the Thai's only knew how fuct the west was..

They know Spitzer.  Hence the months of street protests. 

They know about the zato loot and scoot maneuver. 

Had a taste in '97.  Don't want no more.

Tabarnaque's picture

Taksin (and his sister Yingluck) are Western supported corrupt economic hit man whose role is to bankrupt Thailand so that the IMF and the World Bank can come and take over the sovereignty of the country (just like they have done so many times all over the globe).


On the other side of the fight, there is the old national oligarch. Taksin is selling Thailand to the Western Banking cartel. The national oligarch is fighting back to keep the status quo, which served them very well for a very long time.


The 1997 Tom Yam Khung crisis gave the Thais a very bitter taste of the IMF structural adjustment program. They managed to rescue the country at the very last minutes through massive popular support in paying back the debt to the IMF. In fact, they refused the second IMF loan and pretty much kicked them out of the country at that time.


But the banksters refused to let go so they quickly returned with the populist and corrupt Taksin to push the country's next round of indebtment into high gear. Then the military got rid of him. Then Taksin’s sister came into play... The banksters are relentless bastards that will never give up until you completely surrender your sovereignty and bow to them.


Now, the old Western power is being challenged by emerging ones. A multi-polar world is rising. So if Thailand is lucky, they might find a way to sail their ship through the waves of the falling American Empire. After all, Thailand has proven itself to be a master of playing between world powers in the past. It is the only country that has never been colonized. Ukraine is accelerating the emergence of the BRICS contender. This might be the salvation of Thailand from the grip of the fascist power that be in Washington DC.

conscious being's picture

Great post.  Sums is up nicely.

Save_America1st's picture

they're just a bunch of primitives and commies acting like they're somebodies on big authoritarian power-trips...just like our own U.S. politi-scum: treasonous, sociopath, assholes who I call M.U.T.A.N.T.S.








NoDebt's picture

If I say "they all look the same to me" would anyone have a serious problem with that?  

OK, that's a bit harsh.

How about "I don't care and it's none of our business anyway."  Go ahead and run your country in whatever fucked up way you want.  

intric8's picture

The goldilocks world stasis the west once enjoyed is unraveling right before their eyes and its their fault. Chickens be comin home to roost.

Yen Cross's picture

      Thailand aka pedophile-ville.   Am I wrong?

Keyser's picture

I believe you mean Chicago, but that's another story... See how stereotypes work...


Yen Cross's picture

  Chicago is a close second. Especially if this menace to society has his way!

  Ezekiel Emanuel - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Spitzer's picture

Seppo douchebag you are..

Ever been to Thailand ?

Yen Cross's picture

 Douchebag euro scumbag you are> Who in their right mind would use the "monikker" Spitzer

  You are laughable!

Spitzer's picture

bolded with a ! haha..


Im not a Euro you brain dead seppo. In 2006, I never heard or knew anything about Thailand at all. I went there and had the blast of my life.


get off the trailer park once and awhile

pachanguero's picture

Dude do YOU have a SEXUAL problem?  You think everyone who lives in Thailand is here to be a sexual predator? Do you need to get a passport, move out of your mother's basement, and get a life and see the world. I have a Masters degree in economics.   I live like a king. And I have regular friends. From all over the world.  

There is life outside of Amerika.  I love my country but the free shit Army has won in the U.S.A.  

So meanwhile you should stop thinking about sex all the time!

You gonna to go blind!


Me thinks thou protest too much

Cathartes Aura's picture

hilarious, given that over half your posts here gratuitously point out how "cheap" you can purchase your sex-needs for, and how content you are with your chosen system.


pachanguero's picture

Why is that perverted?  Why do you think sex is dirty? Get real, ALL women exchange sex for money and security. In Amerika the state makes prostitution illegal so as to wrap you into the Divorce Corporation.  Prostitution among adults is not perversion.

Don't push your so called morality down my throat.  You buy sex too.  Only you pay more for fat, nasty narcistic bitches who give you shitty service.

I'll take Asian girls any day they are honest about it.  No Money then no honey. 

Cathartes Aura's picture

heh, thanks for tipping your hand.

was merely re-minding you of your points of viewing, where all your supposed "thinking" gets filtered through. . .

pachanguero's picture

Why thank you for showing such deep thinking.  Let's see you pointed out I'm a man and I like sex.............  With girls half my age.  GUILTY!  How old is your boyfriend? Come on out of that closet.  I'm gay friendly.  it's ok I have a gay daughter too.  You can be honest with me sweet cheeks <S>

Cathartes Aura's picture

I am being honest with you,

but it's painfully obvious

we don't speak the same language.

nor do we even exist in similar worlds,

the closest we'll ever be is trading pixel insults


conscious being's picture

"Only you pay more for fat, nasty narcistic bitches who give you shitty service.

Dude - FYI, CA's a chick I believe.

But you are right about the East/West ying/yang.

Keyser's picture

Bearish for the SET... 


pachanguero's picture

Well, I Live here in Thailand.

And I can tell you things may not be exactly as article states.  In fact I was in Bangkok which is about an hour and a half from my home when martial law was declared last week. There really are no good guys or bad guys. This is a classical struggle between mafias. One backed by United States.  This is kind of the false paradigm that is given in the United States about the left and right.  Which ever mafia games control, you can be assured of one thing. This country is headed for a downward spiral.  This may finally be the thing that pops the bubblie in the real estate, and perhaps the Thai stock market. There's been a lot of hot money sloshing around here for many years. And tons and tons  of corruption money from Russia.  Every crook in the world, and ex-pat. Has buried his coins here in Asia. Mostly in real estate. That is going bad as we speak.  

My best guess having lived here for many years. Is that the real estate market bubble will pop and there will be panic selling to the downside.  There's some outrageously beautiful real estate available here  However in my estimation. it's overvalued by roughly 50%


I would say Asia is getting ready to pop.

who goes first?  China. Or maybe Thailand . It looks to me like gold and cold hard cash are a good position right now.

Cheaper for me, more humble ladies.  I love Thailand!!!

NoDebt's picture

What a strange place it must be when a military coup overthrows your government and you just kinda yawn and say "whatever".  

If that happened in the US we would..... we would..... we.... would probably just kinda yawn and say "whatever".  47% of the country would say "Jeez, at least Barry's gone!"  The other 53% would be retrenching and figuring out who they know in the military and trying to remember if they pissed them off at Thanksgiving dinner last year.



TheDuke's picture

'Barry' is the Commander-in-Chief. You've already had your coup, enjoy the drones flying overhead.

tip e. canoe's picture

in this strange case, if you figure out from whom the military is taking its orders from and what role they serve in the culture, you may figure out why the people yawn.

whereever you go, mafia is mafia. aren't you bored yet too?

watching the faces of the lib-fascistas entangled with turkey day nightmares would be fun to see though. haha, nice one.

Davalicious's picture

Take in a ping pong show for me ;-)

whopper's picture

LIved in Chiang Mai for 14 years. I agree with you completly. Crime families run this place. Take your pick. Nice place to live, simple and no hassles. 

pachanguero's picture

You know thiland very well.

conscious being's picture

whopper - here's some news for you.  Every place beyond a certain scale is run by crime families.

pachanguero's picture

Well they do close everything at 10 o'clock at night. Under martial law there's a curfew.   So the party starts at 4:00 p.m. But the woring, drug dealing, and various other activities go on.  Same as in the United States. Except United States cops want to arrest you for a hand job. 

Tyrannical Control freaks are everywhere!

Spitzer's picture

This isn't 1997. Thailand is a creditor nation now , as is China. The wests creditors.


I think the bubbles in Canada and Australia will go first.