Insulting U.S. Ambassadors: The Nation apologizes

Insulting the U.S. Ambassador: The Nation apologizes - August 11, 2007
The Nation printed an odd rant about the current and former U.S. ambassadors to Thailand. At the bottom of this page: Apology - On August 6, we published a letter in the Letters to the Editor section titled, "US used the coup as an excuse to end talks", which contained an unjustifiable and totally unfair characterisation of American Ambassador to Thailand Ralph Boyce and his predecessor, Darryl Norman Johnson. We apologise for the lapse in editorial oversight that allowed this inflammatory letter to run. Ambassador Boyce has always been recognised as a diplomat of the highest professional integrity and a great friend of Thailand.

Here's the offending letter originally on this page: US used the coup as an excuse to end talks
Re: "Americans stacking the deck led to collapse of Thai-US free-trade talks", Letters, August 1.
Prathip Gidrangsri pointed out that the obnoxious behaviour of two corrupt American ambassadors to Thailand, Ralph Leo Boyce and Darryl Norman Johnson, scuttled the proposed US-Thai Free Trade Agreement.In a letter on August 3, "Thais the big losers in trade disputes with US", Major Mark A Smith (Retired) of Bangkok took issue with Mr Prathip and defended Boyce and Johnson.
In a long letter, Smith tried to say that the Thais were wrong and the Americans were right and that Thailand had lost a great opportunity.
The idea behind banning advertising of alcohol and tobacco products is to protect youths. The Thais, in banning the advertising of alcohol and tobacco products, are following the example of many other countries and Boyce, in trying to get the local ban removed or reduced, was definitely going against the grain.
Thailand has at least one million people with Aids, close to 2 per cent or more of the population. Thailand's decision to copy and distribute expensive American anti-Aids drugs on its own was a natural response to a national emergency. Johnson's attempt to stop the Thais ran counter to sound health practice and disease control. Nobody demanded that the millions of tsunami victims pay for help before they received it.
The ouster of the tyrannical Thaksin Shinawatra in a coup last year did not inhibit the Japanese from signing a Thai-Japan FTA. Nor did it inhibit Thailand's trade with China and India. Washington was embarrassed by the behaviour of Boyce and Johnson. The coup in Thailand offered Washington, which had very cosy dealings with Thaksin and was upset to see him go, an excuse to break off FTA talks.
I should point out that the US rushed to sign a nuclear accord with India recently, a country that never signed the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. There was nothing reasonable in this and, indeed, no good explanation for this conduct has been offered. One really doesn't need one. Greed and corruption were the all too obvious motives.
Gen Amos T Halftrack
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