As PPT has stated many times, Thailand’s military, and especially the Army, has almost no skills in defending borders. It is a politicized Army or as one academic paper has it, a monarchized military.
To re-emphasize this fundamental fact, according to the Bangkok Post, the “newly-appointed chief of the 2nd Army Region has made raising public awareness about the upcoming charter referendum one of his priorities.”
The 2nd Army Region is in the northeast and is thus critical for the military dictatorship in suppressing opposition and having the junta’s charter pass the already discredited referendum.
Lt Gen Wichai Chaejorhor reportedly “said an urgent task is to educate voters in the Northeast about the draft charter and encourage them to take part in the planned referendum.”
This is juntaspeak for propagandizing for the military’s charter and making sure it passes.
His other two missions were also civil rather than military. First, “to ease the hardship of residents in drought-hit areas…”. This is an area where the military has no particular expertise but usually sends in bulldozers to scrape out ponds and may drill a few wells. In the past, the experience of these is that most fall into disrepair soon after they are constructed. At times they also send drinking water tankers to villages, and this simple task is usually completed (but always with great fanfare and sometimes advertising claiming the water is provided by the king’s kindness).
His second task was to “step up security and road-safety measures during the Songkran festival.” We can’t imagine the military having any role in traffic policing, catching drink drivers or speeders, but perhaps some income is possible for the military hierarchy. We can guess that “security” involves hunting down the purveyors of red bowls.
Propaganda for the royalist elite, the repression of its opponents, corruption and murdering citizens is the stock-in-trade of Thailand’s Army.