News / Asia

US ‘Reasonably Confident’ No Military Coup in Thailand

Ousted Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra waves to her supporters in Bangkok, Thailand, May 7, 2014.
Ousted Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra waves to her supporters in Bangkok, Thailand, May 7, 2014.
Victor Beattie
Two Obama administration officials have indicated that, despite Thailand’s current political crisis, they do not believe the military will intervene yet again, as it did in a bloodless coup in 2006.  Both officials took part in a Washington discussion Tuesday on what is described as Thailand’s “once-in-a-century” struggle over its political future.

Amy Searight, deputy secretary of defense for South and Southeast Asia, acknowledges that Thailand is in the midst of a political crisis.  Speaking Tuesday at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, Searight said the United States respects Thailand’s need to address its internal issues and find a path forward that works for the Thai people.

"But, in the midst of the crisis, DOD [Department of Defense] commends the Royal Thai Armed Forces’ restraint and professionalism that they’ve shown throughout," she said. "It really demonstrates the evolution of Thai civil-military relations in a positive direction."

Searight says the Thai military’s restraint is a strategic decision and has no interest in getting involved in running Thai politics again, after lessons learned in the wake of the 2006 coup.

"Are we confident that they will continue to be restrained and professional in all of this?  We are reasonably confident in the sense that we - I mean, look, it’s a complex situation, and a lot of things can happen, and we’re monitoring - for that reason, we’re monitoring it closely and keeping in touch with our Thai counterparts," she said.  "So, I don’t want to say we’re overconfident about any outcome.  At this point in time, we don’t have reason to expect that the Thai military will change their current stance."

Searight says the United States stands with Thailand during this difficult period and says defense cooperation has never been better.

Thailand has a caretaker government after Yingluck Shinawatra was dismissed as prime minister last week, along with nine cabinet officials, by the Constitutional Court after being charged with abuse of power.  The February 2 election outcome was annulled and the government says it hopes to press on with new elections July 20.

Scot Marciel, principal deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asia and the Pacific, says Washington is not trying to impose a U.S. prescription to resolve the crisis.  He calls Thailand a treaty ally, close friend and important trading partner and describes the relationship as a partnership and Thailand as critically important:

"We care about its political stability and its democracy, and we very much hope that it’s able to resolve these problems soon," he said.  "And, we’ve stressed that, in our view, it’s important that the [political] problems - you know, we’re not saying this is how they should be resolved, but the manner in which to resolve it - it’s important that it be done constitutionally and democratically, and, of course, peacefully."

CSIS Southeast Asia expert Ernest Bower foresees continued conflict within Thailand.

"This is an existential, 100-year power struggle.  What’s important is who has power when the [royal] succession takes place and when his majesty [King Bhumibol Adulyadej] passes from the scene and so, no matter what, the hopeful signs we’re seeing, no matter which prime minister gets ousted in the near term, this struggle is not over until the succession takes place," Bower said. "We don’t, and should not, expect resolution or stability in Thailand until that takes place, and when it takes place, Thailand is going to need friends, and we [United States] need to be there."

Last week, 86-year old King Bhumibol Adulyadej made a rare public appearance to mark the 64th anniversary of his coronation.

Bower says Washington has leverage in Thailand, including good relationships with the military, good contacts among Thais on all sides of the country’s political crisis and what he calls “incredibly good relations” within the Thai business community.

He says a strong and stable Thailand is important to the United States because of its contribution to the global and regional economy and  its security relationship with Washington.

You May Like

Analyst: Joint-Arab Military Force Poses Perilous Challenge

Although international forces are desperately needed to counter the threat of the Islamic State group, analysts say conflicting alliances could escalate fighting More

Asia’s Middle Class Changes Demand for Wheat Grain Exporters

Changes in tastes and diets are boon for wheat exporters such as Australia and the United States More

S. African Comedian Taking Over Popular TV Show

Mixed-race comedian Trevor Noah, who is loved for his edgy jibes about race and language, is taking the helm from Jon Stewart at The Daily Show in US More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: HandyKuk from: Bangkok
May 19, 2014 11:21 PM
It's VoC's "Right" but it's not US's obligation to show such a stupid "Noise" only by your own side. Before you indicate your own "Right", please do it with "Respect".

by: mimiheng@yahoo.co.th from: Thai
May 19, 2014 10:25 AM
Obviously you are overlooking some points which make us different from American yet you call us close ally. Maybe just for your own benefit.

by: tt from: bangkok
May 19, 2014 8:15 AM
how much Tuksin gave you to wrote this.He always say the king involve the anti government .Pleas leave us don't destroy our country by your fool.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More