Historians, protesters baffled at sudden pro-majority stance
WASHINGTON – In a move that surprised both historians and analysts, the United States expressed support for Thailand’s scheduled February 2 election, reversing a long-standing policy of preferring dictatorships in developing nations.
“We support peaceful democratic processes around the world, and hope that our allies in Thailand and elsewhere can find a way to select a unity government based on majority rule,” said Secretary of State John Kerry at a press conference yesterday, contradicting every foreign policy decision made by the United States since 1946.
Kerry’s statement was applauded by the Yingluck caretaker government, which thanked the United States for “proving its commitment to protecting the will of the people in small countries,” despite decades of contravening evidence suggesting that the US preferred to protect the will of multinational corporations and its own hegemonistic ambitions.
Protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban, speaking from a stage on Rajdamnoen, blasted the United States for its inconsistency and hypocrisy, accusing it of being a pawn of ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
“It is inconceivable that the US would ever support the will of poor people in a geopolitically strategic state,” he claimed. “Surely something else, some dark force must be in play, for them to suddenly say something so crazy.”
The American position on the current political upheaval in Thailand has been in the spotlight ever since the People’s Democratic Reform Council led a mob to the US Embassy in Bangkok last month, to present their official position demanding an overthrow of the elected Pheu Thai government to US Ambassador to Thailand Kristie Kinney. Her subsequent refusal to support the PDRC’s anti-election position angered and surprised the protesters, who expected the US to honor its long partnership with Thailand by continuing to back military strongmen and shadowy royalist oligarchies.
“For most of the 20th century, the US was very clear in its mission to disregard the will of any population that obstructed its own military or economic goals,” said Deetrakul Charaveeyuth, professor of history at Chulalongkorn University. “Thailand was a particularly consistent example of this, with the CIA backing and even participating in several military coups. All this sudden support for pluralism and ideology is just strange.”
Army head Prayuth Chan-Ocha issued a strong statement in response to the US policy, insisting that Thailand would never let its sovereignty be compromised by pro-democratic ideas.
“We respect our friends and their right to their own opinions, but Thailand has its own way of doing things and we don’t need to be taught anything by anyone,” he said.
“While we appreciate America’s support for our beloved king, we will remain cautious about their support for our actual voters,” he added.