Bangkok Pundit – in his continuing efforts to highlight contradictions in the rhetoric surrounding post-coup Thailand – has a nifty little post on Anand Panyarachun’s comments about Western leaders. The way the Adelaide Advertiser has reported the comments, former Prime Minister Anand targets Australia’s leaders who he says are “not Asians yet…[they] have an entirely different mentality – [they] belong to the Western group”.
From this report we learn that he has some generally harsh words for “western leaders – be they American, Australian, New Zealanders” who he says “are uninformed people. They’re ignorant, they’re completely ignorant”.
This is how Anand dismisses Western leaders who have been critical of Thailand’s recent political evolutions. Using this strategy, which could be summed up on a banner – “You don’t understand us” – he tries to delegitimise voices from outside Thailand that offer a critical perspective on the coup and the Surayud regime. His argument – which could so effortlessly infect broader academic discussions of politics, society and economics – might seem convenient right now.
But I don’t see this as a positive approach.
I am just not convinced that this is the best way to show the world that a “better (Thai) kind” of junta is in control. As Bangkok Pundit notes, it doesn’t look like any of the English-language Thai papers have yet picked it up, and I can’t find anything in the Thai-language papers about these comments either.
Are Anand’s comments just not newsworthy?