Thitinan Pongsudhirak

Nota: Este archivo abarca los artículos publicados por el autor desde el 1 de Abril de 2008. Para fechas anteriores realice una búsqueda entrecomillando su nombre.

La sentencia de la Corte Permanente de Arbitraje (CPA) de La Haya en contra de los reclamos territoriales de China en el Mar de China Meridional será recibida con alivio en las capitales de la región. Pero es poco probable que revierta una de las tendencias más preocupantes en Asia: un alarmante acopio de armas en la región.

Según el Instituto Internacional de Estudios para la Paz de Estocolmo, Asia hoy responde por casi la mitad del gasto mundial en armamentos -más del doble que el gasto total de los países de Oriente Medio y cuatro veces más que el de Europa.…  Seguir leyendo »

The Thai people will go to the ballot box on Sunday, but there is little chance that the voting will break the political deadlock that is crippling the country.

Bangkok has been at an uneasy standstill for almost three months, tugged at by different parties in different directions. On one side are the caretaker government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and the ruling Pheu Thai Party, which was elected in July 2011 on promises to redistribute wealth to the lower-middle classes and the poor. Opposite them are the protesters who have rallied around the People’s Democratic Reform Committee, a Bangkok-based movement that wants to topple the government, which it sees as hopelessly corrupt.…  Seguir leyendo »

En muchos países, como Tailandia, Turquía y Ucrania, la relación entre las mayorías gobernantes y las minorías electorales se ha vuelto explosiva, amenazando con socavar la legitimidad de la democracia misma. Así ocurre con la actual crisis que tiene por escenario a Bangkok, donde una minoría política se ha lanzado a las calles para derribar el gobierno democráticamente electo de la Primera Ministro Yingluck Shinawatra.

El Partido para los Tailandeses (Pheu Thai Party, o PTP) de Yingluck alcanzó una clara mayoría en las elecciones generales de 2011, obteniendo 265 de los 500 escaños de la cámara de diputados. Sin embargo, el Partido Democrático, que obtuvo 159 escaños, principalmente de Bangkok y el sur del país, ha estado organizando protestas en la capital.…  Seguir leyendo »

The thunderous results of Thailand’s general election on July 3 will seem familiar to anyone attuned to the political upheaval in the Middle East and North Africa. Entrenched incumbent regimes everywhere are under severe stress from advances in information technology, shifts in demographics, rising expectations, and the obsolescence of Cold War exigencies. In the absence of a willingness and ability to use violent repression, regime survival can be achieved only through concessions, accommodation, and periodic reinvention.

With 47 million voters and turnout at 75%, Thailand’s latest election results pose a decisive challenge to the country’s long-established regime. The Pheu Thai party, led by Yingluck Shinawatra, the youngest sister of exiled fugitive former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, secured a resounding triumph, winning 265 seats in the 500-member assembly, while the ruling Democrat Party mustered just 159.…  Seguir leyendo »

Las escaramuzas militares entre Tailandia y Camboya, que desde febrero se han cobrado más de dos decenas de vidas, causaron numerosos heridos y desplazaron a decenas de miles de personas se pueden atribuir principalmente a la política interna en ambos países. Con raíces en antiguas enemistades y el legado de la época colonial, la lucha está perjudicando a toda la región. Tan virulenta es la controversia que incluso una solución a corto plazo requerirá la mediación de terceros. Una paz segura dependerá principalmente de cuál sea el desenlace de la crisis política interna de Tailandia en los próximos meses y de la voluntad de Camboya de mantenerse al margen de este proceso.…  Seguir leyendo »

Después de tres años consecutivos de sangrientas protestas callejeras, Tailandia ha llegado al punto en el que tendrá que celebrar nuevas elecciones, pues la legislatura actual de su Asamblea Nacional expira el próximo mes de diciembre. De hecho, el Primer Ministro, Abhisit Vejjajiva, ha indicado que pedirá la disolución de la cámara baja en la primera semana de mayo. Ha sido la consecuencia de una moción de censura parlamentaria, a la que su gobierno sobrevivió a duras penas. Así, pues, el terreno está preparado para unas elecciones generales a mediados de este año.

Pero, en vista de la inestabilidad política de los últimos años, esa apariencia de estabilidad y regularidad constitucional es engañosa.…  Seguir leyendo »

As Thailand picks up the pieces after Bangkok’s worst-ever protests and street riots, the country is further away from peace and reconciliation than it was two months ago, when the redshirts under the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship took to the streets.

The way out of this will require a return to parliamentary and constitutional processes, with revised rules and eligible political players acceptable to all sides. This difficult way forward, towards reconciliation, will require mutual recognition and accommodation between the two main sides.

The riots and shocking arson attacks in Bangkok’s central business district provide an intensified and more violent déjà vu of the redshirts’ rage and rampage in April 2009, when their street demonstrations degenerated into riots, forcefully dispersed by the same army units in operation this week.…  Seguir leyendo »

For nearly three weeks now, tens of thousands of disenfranchised and disillusioned supporters of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra have demonstrated in the streets of Bangkok, calling for a dissolution of the lower house of Parliament and new elections to reset Thailand’s troubled democracy.

The demonstrations have been peaceful, and though the authorities have invoked a security law that allows the military to restore order, the need has not arisen. Bangkok, after all, has seen similar protests fizzle and come to nothing. But this time, the government is facing one of the biggest demonstrations in decades, fueled by the rising resentment and newfound political consciousness of the country’s rural and urban poor.…  Seguir leyendo »

Monday was the Thai New Year, a public holiday. Normally you would see people in the streets, having fun and, in keeping with tradition, throwing water at one another. But this year hardly anyone was celebrating in downtown Bangkok. Instead, protesters were clashing with soldiers; at least two people were killed and scores were wounded. I had never seen anything like it. This was raw anger, expressed in wanton violence.

The demonstrators claimed to be protesting systemic injustices and differing standards for rich and poor. But the rebellion reflects a deeper problem. Westerners think of Thailand as a democracy, ruled by the will of the majority.…  Seguir leyendo »