By Frank, this blog political journalist
Pick up a Thai history book or watch Thai TV document about Thai history, and there you will see it how the Thai lament the lost of several Cambodian and Laos provinces to the French, during the colonial ear.
In fact, as recent as when Thailand was helping Cambodia fight against Vietnamese invasion, the Thais told the Cambodians that they wanted these lost Thai territories back. And talk to Thai historians, and they say even today, that the Mae Khong river should be the border between Thailand and Laos. Currently, Laos territory cross the river towards Thailand in a big chunk.
Thailand is now in a conflict with Cambodia and Laos is emerging as another hot spots. On dispute with both countries are small pieces of territory, and it is an indication of how the Thai feel about its territory.
But is the Thai that irrational, to risk major wars, over small track of territories? Normalcy, says negotiation. And is Taksin advising Cambodia such a major threat to Thailand?
Or are the Thais up to something much more significant?
Head into any Thai web-board these days, and Nationalism fervor is everywhere. Recently, Thai Army controlled TV, began running a series of program about how the French took several clearly Thai provinces away from Thailand to form Cambodia and Laos. Read any Thai newspaper these days, and you would think it is World War 2 where a great deal is at stake.
Take Bangkok Post, the most respected and credible Thai English language newspaper, for example. The article headline says Cambodia Prime Minister wants peace-meaning have given up his strong position against Thailand, but in the story it is about what the Thai Army says. If such a group of editors at Thailand’s most respected newspaper can fall under Nationalism, one can just see the reprecussions.
To say that Thailand wants to annex back lost territory at this point may be too early.
However, Nationalism had been awaken by the Thai government in a major way-and there are those in Thailand who wants those territory back. Given that the Thais still see those territories as having been taken away from Thailand, there is a major threat developing.