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Understanding Thailand’s Conflict

by Joshua Kurlantzick
May 3, 2010

In a new article for Newsweek, I examine the roots of Thailand’s current political struggle. Despite the media’s portrayal of the red shirt-government clash as a class war, this is only partially true. To be sure, there is a significant class divide – the region where the red shirts mostly hail from, the Thai north and northeast, is poorer than Bangkok – but the divide is much greater and complex. Thais today are split as much by their feelings about the country’s traditional institutions – the monarchy, the army, the civil service, Bangkok business – as they are just divided by income level.

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