The highlight of Barack Obama's Thailand visit will be the moment he meets His Majesty the King, an elder statesman who addressed US Congress and consulted with world leaders well before the current US president was even born. It's a new page in a long reign that accounts for one third of the 180 years of bilateral friendship. A sturdy alliance of such duration is a meaningful accomplishment; something to reflect on, savour and celebrate.
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is often dismissed as a mere puppet - even her manipulative brother speaks of her in such terms - but she is the prime minister and Thaksin is not, and it is she who will receive President Obama at Government House. It would be wrong to judge her as a puppet for she has, just by being herself, helped keep things steady even as tempers flare and tensions get periodically stirred up by her significant family elder.
Ms Yingluck is Thailand's first female prime minister, a breakthrough in gender terms as delightful and surprising in its own way as Mr Obama's breakthrough as America's first black president.
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