Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Resumption of the Thaksin Policy Towards Burma

via Bangkok Pundit by Bangkok Pundit on 3/22/08
I have already panned Samak for his comments on Burma, but I am amazed at this criticism:
Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej was attacked by critics on Monday after making favourable comments about the ruling Burmese junta and indicating the government plans to focus on making economic gains from Burma.

Surapong Jayanama, secretary for political affairs to former premier Surayud Chulanont, said the Thai approach to Burma would benefit certain groups at the expense of human rights there.

He viewed the policy towards Burma as a resumption of that undertaken by the government under deposed prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

"They [the ruling generals] know that Thai bureaucrats in collusion with politicians care about economic interests" while ignoring Burma's weak points, said Mr Surapong, a former career diplomat.
BP: A resumption implies that the Surayud government had a different policy than Thaksin, but I am struggling to find any difference. When the Burmese military started killing protesters and monks, there was at first silence by the Thai government and then the Burmese were defended by Gen. Sonthi. As Kavi stated in The Nation:
It is not difficult to understand why Thailand's foreign policy under Surayud has been an utter failure, especially in relation to Burma. He should have paid more attention to the situation in Burma, which he closely monitored and was engaged with while Army chief. Instead, he has been cowed and speechless on the crisis there.
BP: So how was the Surayud government's policy different? There is no resumption of the "Thaksin regime" policy towards Burma. The policy has been the same since the late 80s, engage and take as much natural resources from Burma as possible. Human rights is a supposed factornot a consideration.


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