The Dictator on the military’s role

For a few days we ignored The Dictator’s trip to Singapore for its 50th anniversary celebration, but a report at Singapore’s Today caused us to read a little about it.

That a military dictator like General Prayuth Chan-ocha praised Singapore for “unity” and “progress” is not much of a surprise given the great delight that regime gets when Chinese leaders praise the city-state.

Prayuth’s comments on Lee Kuan Yew are a little more interesting. After all, LKY once offered a positive view of Thaksin Shinawatra, and Thaksin was compared with LKY and once said he’d like his party to stay in power like the PAP had in Singapore.

Perhaps Prayuth is unaware of these matters.

However, in all of this, it was a small comment on the role of the Thai military that caught our attention. Prayuth stated:

Weapons are meant to keep the country safe … weapons are not meant for war, but meant to create cooperation.

If we understand “cooperation” to mean doing as the military dictatorship orders, then Prayuth is pretty much correct. The Thai military has only ever been used for the repression of its own citizens when they are identified as opponents of the ruling class.

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