9/19 Regime change in Thailand

Trip Start May 01, 2002
Trip End May 01, 2009

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Flag of Thailand  ,
Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The legitimacy of democracy

The British once ruled the world, and they appear to have a "been there, done that" wisdom about it that is harder to find on the other side of the Atlantic.

Just a few weeks before 9/19, a political observer of Southeast Asia at the University of Leeds penned these incredibly insightful and prophetic words. Referring to the Thaksin administration, he wrote that they " tend to assume that their status is inherently legitimate, not understanding that such legitimacy must derive from active popular consent on the part of the citizens. In Bangkok, they are in office but not in power. In the South, they are officially in control but unable to function". He concludes that the government in Thailand lacks legitimacy.

So we find that the same regime in Thailand was seen as a failed and illegitimate government on one side of the Atlantic and as the light of freedom and democracy on the other. Regime change in this case was a welcome relief in Thailand and well understood in Leeds, but grossly misinterpreted in Washington DC.


PS: The author in Leeds to whom I refer is Duncan McCargo
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