Governing, it is said, is the art of compromise, of not letting the perfect be the enemy of the good, of settling for the next best. In few years, it would seem, has compromise as an art of governing looked so unpalatable than in 2021.
Turn the clock back a little. At the end of 2020, the world prayed that the coming year would be better, that 2020 was a historically accursed year. Surely things would look up in 2021, we all thought, for what could be worse?
And what we came to see was this: more people worldwide died from the pandemic in 2021 than in 2020 — and far more in Thailand. New variants, each more transmissible than the previous, wrecked havoc on any hopes of economic recovery. Thailand tried to delay the inevitable, and eventually succumbed to as long a period of restrictions as last year. In this context, what could compromise mean? What, in such a situation, does the next best even look like, when the perfect is clearly unattainable?