So this is how liberty dies…

by Peter

19 September 2006, 1858 EDT

…with thunderous applause?

There seems to have been a coup in Thailand.

The BBC reports that:

A faction of the Thai military led by the army chief says it has overthrown Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

Soldiers have occupied the prime minister’s offices and surrounded them with tanks, while leaders of the coup attempt have gone to meet the king.

Mr Thaksin, who is at the UN in New York, declared a state of emergency and said he had removed the army chief.

I had thought that Thailand was a solid democracy, but I guess it is not so, or at least not so much.

There has been pressure growing on the prime minister to resign, including from groups close to King Bhumibol, following a political impasse in which April’s general election was declared invalid, says the BBC’s correspondent Jonathan Head in Bangkok.

But it had been thought that Thailand was making progress towards holding another election later in the year, our correspondent says.

Now, I don’t know much about Thailand, but this kind of worries me– mature, functioning democracies are not supposed to resort to Coups to figure out governance impasses. That’s what the democratic process is for. It somewhat reminds me of Pakistan, where a fired military general took over, promised to give back power, and…. well, you know how that ended.

I also wonder what role the US Government and International Community plays in this– on the one hand, probably not much, since its an internal Thai thing. But, on the other hand, the PM is here, at the UN (how’d you like to be the one to tell him what happened– uh, Mr. PM, there’s been a coup, you’re not PM any more…). The UN is still letting him address the world body, though they are moving up his schedule so he can get on to other business.

But Thailand had long been a key US ally in the region, I wonder what the US government is doing– did they even know about it, do they support it, or do they send signals that this really isn’t appreciated?

What’s the etiquette for proper Coup Response?

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