Heavily biased headlines emanating from US and European media should already make it abundantly clear which side of upcoming Thai elections in March Western special interests are on.
The current Thai government is led by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, a general of the Royal Thai Army and the leading figure of a 2014 coup that ousted the regime of now ex-Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, sister of also-ousted ex-Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Both Shinawatras are now convicted criminals and live abroad as fugitives evading jail.
Despite these apparent complexities, the story is very simple.
The Shinawatras lead neo-liberal forces the US has been cultivating inside Thailand (as well as other nations around the globe through organisations like the National Endowment for Democracy) to eventually transform the nation into a client state.
Thailand’s military, a powerful and independent institution, along with the nation’s constitutional monarchy, have opposed these forces, or more accurately, have attempted to accommodate them without ceding too much of Thailand’s national sovereignty in the process.
Current Government’s Pivot Toward China
The current government has decisively pivoted toward Beijing and other emerging global powers. It has begun replacing aging Vietnam War-era US military hardware with modern Chinese, Russian and European defence systems. In addition to the Cold War-era “Cobra Gold” military exercises held annually with the US, Thailand is now taking part in joint exercises with China.
Thailand is also in the middle of negotiating large infrastructure deals with China regarding mass transit systems including a high speed rail network that will connect Thailand to China via neighbouring Laos. Thailand represents one of several key pillars to China’s global One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative.
It is clear then why the US seeks to not only remove the current government from power in upcoming elections, but also why it seeks to permanently reduce the Thai military’s role in politics to prevent such a dramatic pivot from ever taking place again.
The US goal in Thailand, as it is in every nation along China’s peripheries, is the creation of an obedient client state that serves US interests both economically and geopolitically. Failing that, the US would settle, as it has in Iraq,