No settlement in sight for southern Thailand

No settlement in sight for southern Thailand –, May 23, 2012
[Thanks to Tom for pointing this out.]
…War termination expert Monica Duffy Toft, an associate professor of public policy at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government…has found that negotiated settlements are two times more likely to break down and return to hostilities than decisive military victories. Toft and other academics note that in victory the outcome effectively eliminates one side or, more frequently, damages it to an extent where it must abandon its political goals. These insights and the general trend towards settlements may help to explain the contrasts between the current insurgency in southern Thailand and the comparatively weaker one waged during the late 1960s through the 1980s. With extensive support from the United States, Thailand’s military had a decisive edge over the earlier generation of Malay Muslim separatists.
…the Thai military lacks the same level of US military support it enjoyed during the Cold War to militarily defeat domestic threats. At the same time, by providing aid to civil society groups, many foreign donors and governments, including the US, are propping up a domestic movement that is pressing the Thai government to introduce substantial reforms and negotiate with insurgents. These international dynamics have played a role in tilting the balance-of-power towards insurgents and contributed to a protracted military stalemate…

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