Whether it comes out of Bangkok or Washington, foreign policy ultimately derives from domestic politics. Long after United States President Barack Obama leaves Bangkok on this round of shuttle visits to three mainland Southeast Asian nations as part of his East Asia Summit (EAS) tour, Thailand's foreign relations will still be stuck and able to find traction only at the margins without much forward direction from the middle until the country's domestic tension and turmoil find a lasting political settlement and a new equilibrium.
No image of Thailand's political sclerosis is starker than the planned rally of anti-government protesters under the aegis of the Pitak Siam (Protect Siam) group just several days after the EAS and related Asean-led summits are concluded.
After weeks of high-profile foreign forays by the government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, political brinkmanship is at hand once again merely 16 months after national polls had produced a clear winner and a main ruling party.
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