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

Gun Nation

This is who America's gun owners are More

US Border Patrol Union Accused of Taking Sides on Immigration

Report alleges agents leaking info to immigration opponents, appearing at their private events; Center for Immigration Studies director defends agents' actions More

Video Rights Monitor: Hate Groups' Use of Internet to Inflame, Recruit Growing

Wiesenthal Center's Abraham Cooper says extremists have become skilled at celebrating violence, ideology on Web 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.
Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Interneti
X
Mike O'Sullivan
June 30, 2015 8:20 PM
Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.

VOA Blogs