Thailand is never neutral

Thitinan Pongsudhirak says, ''The Thai foreign policy genius is about playing all sides to an optimised mix.''

First I doubt whether ''playing all sides'' can be considered as ''genius''. It could be considered as self-serving.

Actually, modern Thai foreign policy has never been neutral. We sided with Japan during World War II and then when Japan began to lose we changed governments and switched over to the Allies. From there, Bangkok became the headquarters of Seato and Thailand is still a non-treaty Nato ally.

The ''genius'' throughout history has perhaps been more in bending with the wind, and knowing when and what direction and how strong the wind is blowing. Thitinan may be right when he says ''hedging and leveraging'' will require adroitness, like what he says Laos and Myanmar are doing.

The question is whether the present foreign policy and national security set-ups of our country are adroit enough to pursue such a policy.

We have to know the cards we have in our hands before playing the ''great game''. Otherwise, instead of ingeniously ''playing all sides'' we'll just be taken to the cleaners by all of them.

INTERESTED OBSERVER


Security failure laid bare

Re: ''Bomb blast hits train, killing 3, injuring 36'', ( BP Nov 19).

This incident shows the shameful failure and inefficiency of the southern security forces.

How could they allow terrorists enough time to set 100kg of explosives on the track where a train would arrive a short time later? I did not think that the security forces lacked the manpower and equipment to patrol at least every 10 minutes or to post guards every 500 metres along sections of track considered to be danger areas.

The same kind of incidents have been experienced for the past few years along roads in those danger areas where many lives and security vehicles have been lost to bombs buried deep under the ground.

The government must review its security strategy for the South.

I believe ''offence is the best defence''. Unless they change their strategy against insurgents, no peace will return to the South.

R H SUGA


The Neanderthal will out

There was some important news last month that unfortunately got knocked off the radar by the US presidential election campaign, but here it is, a day late and a dollar short: some 80,000 years ago, humans and Neanderthals lived peacefully, side-by-side, in current-day Israel, according to a Jerusalem Post report that quoted The Times of London. The article also said that genetic research shows that Neanderthal genes make up one to four per cent of modern European genes, so there was some canoodling going on.

An expert at the archaeological site said: ''If that interbreeding did take place, it must have been here.''

Imagine that - it happened right there, on that spot, 80,000 years ago.

The truth of it all comes out eventually.

Now we want to know their names.

GUY BAKER


Democrats a disgrace

The anti-government group Pitak Siam will stage a rally on Saturday to overthrow the democratically elected government. The group obviously violates the Constitution's Section 68, which says: ''No person shall exercise the rights and liberties prescribed in the Constitution to overthrow the democratic regime of government.''

Being the oldest, most well established and most prestigious political party in the country, it is disgraceful that the Democrats, especially their leader, have not condemned the Pitak Siam group, or at least tried to tamp it down. The Democrats are supposed to side with the government for the sake of national security and the sacredness of the constitution. Instead, they stroke their chins and stay quiet, waiting intently for any windfalls the rally might bring.

What happened to the motto ''We believe in the parliamentary system?'' Or do you believe it only when you are in government?

SOMSAK POLA


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