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

    In Britain, The Sun Still Doesn’t Shine

    Invoking Spitfires and Merlin, Leave voters insist country can be great again, following surprising 'Brexit' vote last week

    Double Wave of Suicide Bombings Puts Lebanon, Refugees on Edge

    Following suicide bombings in Christian town of Al-Qaa, on Lebanon's northeast border with Syria, fears of further bombings have risen

    US Senators Warned on Zika After Failing to Pass Funding

    Zika threats and challenges, as well as issues of contraception and vaccines, spelled out as lawmakers point fingers

    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.
    Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeasti
    X
    June 29, 2016 6:15 PM
    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora