Thailand’s Troubles Show Democracy’s Weakness: Pankaj Mishra – Bloomberg, February 12, 2012
…Finally, Thailand (THGDPYOY)’s older, paternalistic elites revolted against Thaksin’s attempt to create a one-man democracy. Confronted with an invincibly popular politician, they were forced to resort in 2006 to an old-fashioned military coup, endowing Thaksin with the aura of a martyred democrat. Successive elections, most recently in 2011, have proved that a majority of Thais still back Thaksin, despite his contempt for civil liberties.
…Certainly, as the cases of China, India, Russia and Thailand reveal, authoritarian figures offering quick technocratic solutions to political and economic problems are here to stay. They will seek support among the beneficiaries of globalization even as they try to keep the masses passively committed to, or distracted by, the larger project of national greatness.
Of course, once the masses have been awakened, they will demand a larger share of the political and economic goods, bringing them inevitably into conflict with already privileged classes…
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- 16 years ago: Thaksin’s strange start as prime minister – Finding a gold hoard
- From 2009: The collapse of the first Red Shirt siege of Bangkok
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- The weapons spell his name