In an earlier post, Bell Curve complains about the emphasis on trivia in the US TV news media. I sympathize. One complaint I've had lately is about the US coverage of the political violence in Thailand. There's lots of footage of troops on the streets and shooting at demonstrators but little in the way of explanation of WHY its all happening or what the issues of contention are.
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
I did a little research (nothing major) and came up with a few things. First, BBC's website has a good summary of the situation here. Basically, the fight is between populist rural supporters of former PM, Thaksin (red shirts). They are opposed by the current government of conservative elites with support from the urban middle class (yellow shirts). Both groups claim to be the true representatives of democratic Thailand. And both groups have played fast an loose with democracy. The yellow shirt crowd has encouraged and benefitted coups d'etat. The red shirt's hero, Thaksin, is a mega-rich telecom baron who is often accused of using political power to benefit his cronies and relatives. As near as I can tell this is a conflict between the authoritarian, urban elite that is not above using the military to impose order in their quest for economic development and a charismatic cleptocrat who uses populism to build a base of support among the poor.
I'm not an expert on Thailand so I could be wrong but this smells a lot like the conflict between Juan Peron and the conservative elites in Argentina in the 1950s-1970s.
Posted by Raised By Republicans at 7:12 AM