The Army’s analysis of the current situation goes like this. There is a “war for the people” in process, meaning a contest for popular support. On one side is the Army. On the other are politicians, and especially former communist activists who lurk in the background of party politics.A generation ago, the Army won the cold war in Thailand by dragging the communist rebels back from the jungle to a normal life in the city. But, this analysis contends, the activists have never changed their way of thinking or forsaken their ambitions. They aim to use popular support to grab state power, and then to use state power to implement their own agenda, which includes the overthrow of the monarchy. Although they now seek popular support through the ballot box, this is not significantly different from the old guerrilla strategy of mobilising the villages.

Their tools now are the populist policies offered to the electorate. These policies are designed solely to win popular support and gain election to political office. They do not truly solve the problems of the people. Unless something is done to halt this trend, the Army analysis concludes, Thailand will find itself in the same situation as Nepal where Maoists have built massive popular support and are trying to replace the monarchy.

– Extracted from another excellent opinion piece by Chang Noi: “A new cold war underway in Thailand”, The Nation, 26 November 2007.