Michael H. Nelson, a long-time analyst of Thai politics, has written an important new paper on the ousting of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. It is available in full from the website of the City University of Hong Kong’s Southeast Asia Research Centre.
New Mandala readers will find the extensive footnotes particularly helpful; as usual, Nelson draws on a truly impressive range of source material. After thoroughly discussing the way that Thaksin was brought down, he concludes that:
Yet, all this probably would never have happened if Thailand did not have the misfortune of Thaksin Shinawatra at this point of the country’s constitutional and political development. Without his overpoweringly centralizing and controlling behaviours, his unrivalled personal financial resources, his pronounced lack of a developed democratic model of government, his disdain for a pluralistic public, his stupendous immaturity in terms of political communication, his and his close circle of trusted aides’ bunker mentality that contributed to the distortion of flows of political information, his strong tendency of trying to gain advantage over other political players, and his truly amazing misjudgment of the possible reactions on the tax-free sale of his company to a rival ASEAN government in a situation of strong nationalist feelings in important quarters–Thailand very probably would have been spared her current political predicament.
For the many New Mandala readers who closely follow Thai political developments, the full paper is definitely worth a read.