Thai Conservatives Should Embrace Democracy

My article in the newly-launched Thai Enquirer:  ...Just because pro-democracy conservatism did not work the first time does not mean that it cannot work in the future, under inspired leadership and a more credible commitment to democratic ideals. With the ongoing implosion of the Democrat Party, is there room for such a party to emerge? [...]

Dueling Rallies

Bangkok's smog makes outside physical activity a little less than an inviting prospect, but tens of thousands braved the pollution today for a curious Sunday morning activity: exercise with a heavy political tone. 'Run Against Dictatorship' (#วิ่งไล่ลุง, literally 'Run to Oust Uncle') and 'Walk for Prayut' (#เดินเชียร์ลุง, or 'Walk to Cheer Uncle') were the most [...]

Thai-US Relations in the Spotlight

Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai is not regarded to have a tendency to create headlines. Yet this week, the longtime diplomat found himself in the spotlight after an epic gaffe. The United States, Don said, had informed Thailand of its intentions regarding Iran one day before the strike on Soleimani. Surprising remarks, to be sure, given [...]

Thailand in 2019: A Changing Cultural Constitution

2019 was a year when so much happened, yet simultaneously nothing happened. Clichés are always risked when quoting Charles Dickens, but I found it difficult to avoid this one from A Christmas Carol when describing Thailand in 2019: "It was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair". There were moments of rays [...]

Thoughts on Thailand's First Post-Coup Mass Protest

Finals are coming, time is a limited resource but somehow interesting things in politics always happen when I'm busy. (Either that, or things are just always interesting in Thailand.) I do want to put in my two cents about the first large protest in Bangkok since 2014, however, so I decided to crank out a [...]

For Section 44, Chaos on the House Floor

This past week saw parliamentary chaos over whether or not to establish a committee examining the now-defunct National Council for Peace & Order's usage of Section 44, which permitted the NCPO chief to issue absolute executive commands. The fiasco went briefly as follows: the government initially lost the vote, as six members of Prime Minister [...]

Thailand Should Abolish Military Conscription

Every year, unless they have been exempted through reserve training, Thai men at the age of 21 receive a letter in the mail instructing them to attend the military draft. It is a summons for a dreaded rite of passage: jub bai dum bai daeng, the red and black cards that they will pick through [...]

Three Takeaways From the Thanathorn Ruling

The ruling by the Constitutional Court on Future Forward party leader Thanathorn Juangroongrueangkit's media shareholding case was not unexpected. Indeed, it would have been a shock if the decision went another way. This article is not a commentary on the substance of the ruling; it has already happened, and there isn't much to be gained [...]

The Ant Has Bad Dreams

"I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself king of infinite space", Hamlet said in his namesake play. This year, ASEAN has been Thailand's nutshell and its chairmanship has allowed the government to exercise a degree of leadership over an unwieldy coalition. Given that Thailand's previous chairmanship of ASE1AN in 2009 was borderline [...]

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