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Generational Dynamics Web Log for 16-May-2010
16-May-10 News -- Thailand's Prime Minister says "no turning back"

Web Log - May, 2010

16-May-10 News -- Thailand's Prime Minister says "no turning back"

China continues its aggressive plans for a Pacific naval war

Thailand's PM Abhisit orders army to end the Bangkok protests

At least 24 people have been killed and 187 people injured on Saturday, as Thailand's army closed in to disperse the protestors that have forced the closedown of the boutique shopping center in downtown Bangkok for several weeks.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has been under enormous political pressure to call in the army to disperse the protestors, and on Friday he apparently did just that.

On Saturday, Abhisit made a live televised address to the nation. The Bangkok Post quotes him as follows:

"As long as the red shirt protest continues, armed terrorists will remain and hurt people and authorities. Risks and violence will escalate. I insist that ending the protest is the only way to prevent losses. ....

We cannot allow unlawful elements to take Bangkok hostage. We will not allow an armed group unhappy with the government to attack and hurt authorities. There is no turning back in our efforts to maintain a legal state.

"Losses will have to be endured. It is the only way to righteousness."

As with so many other stories we report about on this web site, if you can mentally put aside the bloodshed, or imagine that this is taking place on another planet, then it's fascinating to watch this event unfold from the point of view of Generational Dynamics.

Even in the heat of the moment, this statement by Abhisit is remarkably defensive. But after this whole thing is all over, people are going to look back and wonder why he had to order the army to kill dozens of unarmed Thai citizens. There's something about an army killing its own citizens that horrifies people.

Let's compare this situation to the current major news story in America of Mexican immigrants in Arizona. There's a great deal of political debate today over how far the police should be allowed to go in detaining, questionsing and deporting illegal aliens. But the thing I would want to point out is that 10-20 years ago, there wouldn't even be a debate. The Arizona law being debated today would be completely unacceptable. And recall that in 1986, under the Reagan administration, many illegal aliens were offered amnesty, something that would be political anathema today. This illustrates how the public mood changes as a country goes through generational eras -- from Awakening to Unraveling to the Crisis era that we're in today.

(For information about generational eras, see "Basics of Generational Dynamics.")

But Thailand today is on the cusp of an Awakening era, transitioning into an Unraveling era, where America was around 1980. And so right now, with the red shirt protest continuing for over two months, and costing the country a great deal of money in terms of shopping and tourism, people will be willing to tolerate some violence to end the protests. But when it's all over, there's going to be a backlash against Abhisit, and he may well have to resign because of it. That would be ironic, because that's exactly the outcome that the protestors want today.

Still, we can only speculate what "when it's all over" is going to mean. The government would like to see the red-shirted protestors go back to their farms and servant positions, so that the Thai-Chinese Úlite can go back to their shopping. But it's hard to see how the protestors will simply accede to that wish, after so much blood has already been spilt.

The protest leader Jatuporn Prompan is quoted by the Guardian as saying, "The current situation is almost full civil war. I am not sure how this conflict will end."

One thing we can be sure of -- Generational Dynamics assures us that the conflict will NOT become a full civil war. It will be fascinating to watch and see how it actually unfolds.

Thailand's widely respected King Bhumibol Adulyadej has been able to soothe previous internal ethnic conflicts by mediation. But he's losing influence because of his age (82), and because the red-shirts consider him to be part of the elite, according to the NY Times.

Additional links

China is continuing its aggressive development of naval weapons, including missiles specifically designed to disable or destroy American aircraft carriers, in order to gain hegemony over the entire Pacific region. The Diplomat

On Thursday, South Korea will issue a statement accusing the North Koreans of having sunk the warship Cheonan on March 26. Yonhap. At a Saturday meeting of foreign ministers from China, Japan and South Korea, China urged "calm and restraint" in the Cheonan incident. Xinhua

To crack down on rampant tax evasion, Greek authorities are making public a list of 57 Athens doctors who they believe are guilty of tax evasion. NY Times

Republicans are introducing legislation to prevent America from helping the European bailout through the International Monetary Fund (IMF). I guess they forgot about China bailing out the United States. Politico

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 16-May-10 News -- Thailand's Prime Minister says 'no turning back' thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (16-May-2010) Permanent Link
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