Shielding the junta
Re: "New world order starting in SE Asia", (Opinion, Nov 29).
While Kavi Chongkittavorn is right to call on Asean "to better manage internal conflicts, especially in Myanmar", if it wants to reaffirm its place at the table with the world's great powers, he might also have a quiet word in the ear of our distinguished minister of foreign affairs.
Having been roundly criticised for appointing a Myanmar junta apologist as his special envoy to Myanmar, the minister might find it instructive to peruse the recent final report of the "International Parliamentary Inquiry (IPI) into the global response to the crisis in Myanmar".
Chaired by Heidi Hautala, Vice-President of the European Parliament, the IPI report roundly criticises Thailand, which "has been a prominent force on shielding the junta from scrutiny and accountability".
Partially driven by a historical affinity between the Myanmar and Thai armies, both heavily involved in the political lives of their countries, Bangkok's gamble appears to be similar to Beijing's -- that dealing with the junta and supporting its consolidation of control is in line with Thai interests.
But as a researcher at Chiang Mai University, Ashley South, recently told the IPI, that the State Administration Council (SAC -- the junta) is "not a reliable partner for Thailand", and the Thai government's association with the junta is "serving to undermine Thailand's credibility".
When the people of Myanmar triumph in their long struggle against the Tatmadaw, as triumph they surely will, Russia and China, the junta's most ardent supporters, will find that their political and economic interests will be erased.
Will Thailand share the same fate?