Friday, January 10, 2014

Thaksin's Puea Thai is an Evolutionary Dead End (Op-Ed)

January 11, 2014 (ATN) - An evolutionary dead end is where a species develops characteristics that no longer enable it to adapt and thrive in its environment. Its strength in numbers will be reduced and eventually it will become extinct. These characteristics are generally in the form of overspecializations, so much so that they no longer help the species survive and instead threaten its very existence.

Thailand's Puea Thai Party, openly under the leadership of unelected convicted criminal, Thaksin Shinawatra, has reached an evolutionary dead end. It has overspecialized characteristics that make its political survival inevitably doomed.

Characteristics like insatiable and oafishly overt megalomania that drives it to recklessly attempt to grant itself amnesty for a wide array of criminal offences while it consolidates power by trying to dismantle the nation's many checks and balances. While they claim they have the electorate behind them and can thus do whatever is "popular," democracy exists within the confines of laws. In other words, you cannot "vote" to kill, steal, cheat, or subjugate others no matter how "popular" it is.

When Puea Thai moved to change the Constitution to allow for a fully elected Senate, they did so solely because they currently control the electorate. It would have turned the Senate into yet another echo chamber for Thaksin Shinawata - who again - is running the country illegally by nepotist proxy from abroad. The purpose of checks and balances is to create a government that is incapable of finding within it the power to "vote" to kill, steal, cheat, or subjugate others if and when it may be "popular" to do so. With a Parliament, Prime Minister's office, and a Senate all under Thaksin Shinawatra, that power would have existed.

Another overspecialized characteristic of Puea Thai is its use of violence, intimidation, and even outright terrorism. In 2010, Thaksin's "red shirt" leaders would take turns urging followers to commit mass arson in the closing days of a violent, armed pro-Thaksin insurrection. After admitting to fielding some 300 heavily armed professional mercenaries, and engaging in gun battles for weeks with the Thai military leaving some 92 dead, the "red shirts" would carry out their threats of arson leaving scores of buildings ablaze.

Video: A brief exposé of what the silent majority in Thailand have had to tolerate for years under the regime of Thaksin Shinawatra and his "red shirt" mobs. Here, various red shirt leaders, including Jatuporn Promphan, take turns openly conspiring to loot, destroy, and burn to the ground buildings across Bangkok. 

ImagesJust days later, scores of buildings would be left in flames, many being burnt to the ground. Of the 92 that died, many were red shirts who perished from smoke inhalation while looting buildings fellow protesters lit ablaze.  This sort of behavior was never acceptable, but now more than ever, it is not even tenable. It is a losing strategy that has doomed Puea Thai and the red shirts - haunted by the inescapable responsibility they bear for this and many other horrific crimes. 

Before 2010, and ever since, Thaksin's "red shirts" have been engaged in a systematic campaign of violence and intimidation to keep the "silent majority," silent. People see and understand this growing threat, and now they have finally decided it is no longer tolerable. They are fighting back. Thailand is a civilized and increasingly developed nation - these sort of tactics are no longer acceptable. In fact, even decades ago during the Communist insurrections, these tactics proved to be a failure - antiquated characteristics of an inevitably doomed and disingenuous "revolution." The "red shirts" today are much like creatures one might find in a "Lost World" - a land that time forgot.

For Puea Thai, these characteristics have left it unable to adapt and survive in its environment. It is still a formidable "species," but it is no longer viable. However, Puea Thai is not a literal "species." For the individual politicians of Puea Thai, there is a route toward future evolution. To reach it, they must first recognize the fatal flaws of the party they currently find themselves in, and create a new party devoid of them.

They will not be as powerful as they once were - though that is true even today, and much more so each and every day that the Shinawatra's and their inner circle cling to power.  However these politicians in a new party will still be influential,  and being free of both the baggage of the Shinawatras and their "red shirts," they may even be able to reach out and appeal to a wider and more sustainable electorate.

But the window for doing this is closing fast. There will be decisions the Shinawatras make out of desperation - having nothing to lose - that will have the effect of a proverbial "asteroid" impact - everyone in Puea Thai, however fit and viable they may be, will go out with the Shinawatras when they inevitably fall. Will Peua Thai prove to be a party of large, lumbering dinosaurs caught unprepared for this event? Or will some of them prove smart enough, evolved enough, to grow wings and fly, just like many of the smaller, and more clever dinosaurs that existed when all their larger brethren otherwise went extinct?