Thursday, July 9, 2009

Thaksin: Fleeing a Thai coup leader to shake hands with a Fijian coup plotter

What a paradox. Thaksin Shinawatra, ousted by a coup in Thailand in 2006, flew into Fiji's capital, Suva, yesterday to meet another coup leader, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, who staged a coup in the same year -- only to be ruled illegal by the court there.

In some ways, when Thaksin shook hands with Bainimarama to talk about his plan to nvest $300 million in that South Pacific island, he must have been reminded of Gen Sonthi Bunyaratakalin, whose coup sent him out of the country almost three years ago. Both the Thai and Fijian military officers weren't supposed to be politically ambitious. Both had been living low-profile lives before they decided to push out the elected, civilian governments. Suddenly, they declared themselves defenders of their respectie countries' political stability and to fight rampant corruption.

Thaksin has spoken vehemently against military coups in Thailand. He has called for the return of electoral democracy, even ready to stake his life on his determination to put an end to future coups.

Now, he has gone to Fiji to cozy up to one of the most controversial coup leaders in the region.

What does that mean? To quote Thaksin himself: The end justifies the means.

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