Thursday, April 5, 2012

What would they talk about at a Prem-Thaksin 'summit?'

Can you imagine Gen Prem Tinsulanonda and Thaksin Shinawatra meeting for the proposed “peace summit?” I can, but only in my wildest dream.
Even in “amazing Thailand,” the scenario, as proposed by a “third party” with genuine desire for a breakthrough in the country’s political stalemate, appears incredibly naïve and far-fetched.
Some politicians are really incredibly contemptuous of the public’s level of intelligence. They could always, without fail, come up with simplistic ideas masqueraded as “solutions” to most of the complicated issues that in fact were their own creations.
No, come to think of it, they might not be all that innocent after all. Neither are they ignorant of the facts involved. They are simply desperate enough to make suggestions that the average Thai would consider too far-fetched even to contemplate in the first place.
Chart Thai Pattana chief adviser Sanan Kachornprasart, having admitted failure in playing the role of the “peace-maker,” suggested that former premier Thaksin Shinawatra and President of the Privy Council, Gen Prem Tinsulanonda, should hold a “summit” and the current political crisis will be resolved in no time.
Thaksin and his supporters have claimed all along that someone with “extra-constitutional power” might have engineered his ouster. But Prem has let it be known (without uttering a word to that effect in public!) that he is not a party to the ongoing conflict. Therefore, evening agreeing to the “summit” concept would be tantamount to admitting that he is in fact taking sides in this national face-off.
In fact if Thailand’s lingering conflict is simply a Prem-Thaksin issue, it wouldn’t have been such a prolonged and messy affair. The red-shirt leaders have insisted all along that the prevailing crisis is the result of the gap between the rich and the poor, the “prai” and the “ammart” – in other words, it’s the huge gap between the “elite” and the “downtrodden.”
The yellow shirts have offered us a different theory. They claim that the real problem of the country is that some rich politicians have resorted to populist policies employing “evil capital” to exploit the poor through corruption and abuse of power.
They may both be right. Or even if only one side was correct in their analysis, it still has nothing directly to do with whether Prem was behind Thaksin’s ouster or not. If Prem was considered “leader of the privileged,” Thaksin, being the country’s richest and undeniably influential in the political arena, couldn’t possibly be said to represent the poor and powerless, especially now that his Pheu Thai Party is in power and most of the “prai leaders” have now assumed highly privileged positions in the government.
Back to the most tantalizing question: What would Prem and Thaksin discuss in the proposed “summit?”
If he was really courageous, Thaksin could pose a direct question to the privy council president on whether he was behind the 2006 coup. And if Prem wasn’t his own restrained and reserved self, he could probably ask Thaksin why the latter had devoted so much time and energy on putting all the blame for his political trouble on him.
That’s the most unlikely scenario, of course. Another possible scenario, although still improbable for all intents and purposes, is for the two to be nice to each other and to promise to forgive and forget – and issue a joint communiqué declaring an end to the country’s conflict amidst cheers from the red and yellow shirts before disbanding their political groups.
Even under that highly unlikely assumption, the rest of the country (those who are neither red nor yellow) would still find the imagined “summit” irrelevant. This country, after all, doesn’t belong to only these two gentlemen. The national interests aren’t defined by just these two persons – and whatever solutions they could thrash out (if that’s at all possible) don’t necessarily answer the basic issues this country are facing.
But if we take this absurd idea to its illogical conclusion, the first “peace summit” would have to be between Thaksin and the 2006 coup maker, Gen Sonthi Bunyaratakalin.
Or have I missed the big news? Perhaps, judging from Sonthi’s bizarre behavior recently, they might have already held their virtual summit without the public’s general knowledge.
In that case, they can claim that peace is at hand, but it has nothing to do with you and me and the rest of the country

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