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Why Is Thailand Allergic to Democracy?

by Joshua Kurlantzick
December 4, 2013

Anti-government protesters sweep the street around the Democracy Monument after weeks of protesting and days of clashes with police in Bangkok's city centre on December 4, 2013. (Dylan Martinez/Courtesy Reuters) Anti-government protesters sweep the street around the Democracy Monument after weeks of protesting and days of clashes with police in Bangkok's city centre on December 4, 2013. (Dylan Martinez/Courtesy Reuters)

Over the past week, Thailand’s political unrest has descended into serious, chaotic violence. On Monday and Tuesday, protesters entered the grounds of both police headquarters and Government House, having already occupied other ministries. Despite a short truce to observe the king’s 86th birthday on December 5, the conflict is likely to start up again, since protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban has vowed to keep on, and the deep divides in Thai society remain.

In a new article for BloombergBusinessweek, I analyze why Thailand’s democracy has been so fragile, and why the country is so addicted to extraconstitutional interventions. You can read the whole piece here.

Post a Comment 2 Comments

  • Posted by cb

    Vague metaphors like addiction and allergy are unfortunate when there are clear political dynamics structuring Thailand’s tensions over the last decade and especially since the last coup. Similarly, the discussion of a coup “culture” emphasises the reoccurrence of coups (and the suggested accompanying calculation by “elites” about how to resolve stalemates) rather than recognising that since 1976 coups have been are part of broad efforts to preserve the old Thai political establishment. There is no need to search for metaphorical maladies or culturalist explanations when these dynamics are clear. I am surprised that the CFR would put this on their blog.

  • Posted by john e miller

    Want a quick grasp on the political career of former PM Thaksin and why his supporters are still in power? Read a bio of 1930s Governor of Louisiana Huey Long.

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