By Frank, this blog’s political journalist
Explosion Goes Off:
When bombs goes off as the Yellow Shirt icon of Thai nationalism and extreme royalism is on stage hyping up nationalism and extreme royalism, at a mass rally, it indicates Thailand is in a “Wild Card” stage.
The bomb could have been a “Ploy” or the result of a “Third Column” instgators, however, five people were injured at the back-stage, where the leaders of the Yellow Shirt gathered.
The poll says the Thai support for the government’s position on Cambodia has plunged from about 80% to current 50%. Support for aggressive moves is at about 20% and to cool down is at about 20%. Asked about the way out of the conflict, most Thai said negotiations.
Nationalism and concern is at 70%, with the polls saying they love and worry about Thailand.
Outside Thailand, it is a different story as Thai Rath, a mass circulated daily, said ASEAN does not support the Thai position on Cambodia, and globally it is very much the same. The Thai poll also said most Thai believe what is occuring is pre-plannned political moves.
Thailand’s charmanship of ASEAN ends in about a month, and the Thailand’s government propaganda machine is expected to be unable to contain information flow, and the Thais may face some un-pleasent facts.
Taksin, after being nearly assisinated and his private jet forced to land in Thailand by the Thai airforce’s F-16, remain free and his strategy from this point forward, is a major question mark. Cambodia’s intelligence exposing a Thai spy ring complicates the matter and remain a sparking point between the Thai and Cambodians.
At Thai Rath’s cutting edge political analysis, it said the Red Shirt have gained global support but have lost in Thailand. Yesterday, the sentense of a lese majeste ioffender in Thailand was reduced to 2 years and several bans on liberal websites lifted in the past week. Several of extreme right wing press have also started to take a neutural position, such as the Bangkok Post.
Thailand’s Global Economy:
Thailand’s GDP is now about 70% tied to the globe, and while political newspapers are calling for Thai business people to put nationalism above business, at several of Thailand’s business papers with strong link to the far right, have been calling for negotiations, between Abhisit, thailand’s prime minister and Hun Sen, Cambodia’s prime minister.
However, the Thai government, while in the opposition, called Hun Sen a “Cheap Thug” and Hun Sen, reportedly have “Had It” with Abhisit.
Yet a severe internal back-lash on Thailand’s liberal thinking could occur. The conservative Thai military remains a loose cannon as always and an ultimate and total solution is always a threat in Thailand, with the decision laying between the level of unrest and economics impact considerations.
Taksin’s Cambodia Visit:
Most local press have been running stories even before the Taksin visited Cambodia that the government will hype un nationalism and royalism to shore up failing support where before the Cambodian crisis, stood at 20%, falling below Taksin’s at about 25%
The Yellow Shirt, a group of nationalistic and extreme royalist, which at times co-ordinate its activity with the government, but reserves the right also to compete, have been holding a major rally today-in an attempt to build popularity to its movement, but also broader towards the right-wing control of Thailand.
The Thai situation is expected to be highly fluid, as the Red Shirt, a liberal force in Thailand, have planned major rallies this month to outs the current government. The Yellow Shirt move is clearly being used by the government to head-off those Red Shirt activities.
Yesterday the Red Shirt held a major funding drive, which intelligence source told this blog have exceeded targets. The funds are targeted to support those Red Shirt rallies against the government.
Red Shirt Cautious:
The latest signals from the Red Shirt is mixed, indicating uncertainty. However, the polls are in the early stages of going their way, as earlier 80% right wing support falling to the current 70% and calls for negotiation gaining support, acrossd the board.
The red Shirt also now have substantial financial firepower for long-lasting rallies. As always, the Red Shirt, tactics calls for peaceful movements, and that reluctant is tied to that policy, as the Yellow Shirt are highly violent and risk taking.
Of note also is that Taksin is now entirely in Thailand’s most respected institution fold and a confrontation between the Red and Yellow could hurt chances of a strong recovery. Taksin is highly sensitive towards criticism of not being royal.
Government on the Offense:
To summarize at this point, the Yellow and the government are on an offensive with the Red Shirt gaining strengths but reluctant. Complicating the matted is that Cambodia’s tie-in to the picture. The Cambodians have cooled down but the Thai government intends on keeping the issue as a lever to manage nationalism.
Red Shirt Gets Allies:
Coming to reinforce the Red Shirt is an early stage of an alliance between the Thai students movement and labor. It is yet to be seen if and how this student labor link-tie in with the Red Shirt. Yesterday, the student and laboe issued a statement against nationalism and extreme royalism hype. The key question is, will they come to the Red Shirt calling?
On Abhisit’s Mind:
While Taksin is expected to let the situation developed naturally, with thoughts on the health issue, Abhisit is thinking about an election.
Thai Rath reports that Abhisit is in a diffucult situation as the Yellow Shirt are cutting deep into Abhisit Democrats’s voter based, giving Taksin an advantage, even with failing popularity. And if the right wing wins, the Yellow Shirt inclusion in the expected government is expected to alienate the globe further.
The Taksin supported opposition, anticipates an election early next year, after Vietnam which is close to Cambodia becomes the chairman of ASEAN, internal bickering of the Abhisit government reaches fruition-one way or another, and a no confidence censure against the government by the opposition.
Early signals of a severe rift between Abhisit and Sondhi, head of the Yello Shirt is starting to emerged, as Manager Wekkly, the brain and nerve center of Sondhi, have started to run policy statements that is breaking ranks and hitting at the heart of Abhisit’s propaganda.
Already the race between Abhisit and the Yellow to grab nationalism and extreme royalism vote have started.
You make the call.