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

Hong Kong Democracy Calls Spread to Macau

Macau and Hong Kong are China’s two 'special administrative regions' which gives them a measure of autonomy More

After Nearly 2 Years, Pistorius Remains Elusive

Reporter Anita Powell reflects on her experience covering the Olympic athlete's murder trial More

Kenyan Coastal Town Struggles With Deadly June Attacks

Three months after al-Shabab militants allegedly attacked their town, some Mpeketoni residents are still bitter, question who was really behind the assaults 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.
Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africai
X
Luis Ramirez
September 15, 2014 11:01 PM
President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africa

President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid