InstaPundit notes the problems in Thailand, and asks:

Sounds like ethnic cleansing by terror. Why isn't the UN protesting? If this sort of terror were directed at Muslims in Israel, or the United States, it would be an international cause celebre.
So it is, actually, among those particularly interested in SouthEast Asia -- except the Muslims here are said by the internationalists to be the victims. The role of "evil brutes stirring up all this trouble with excessive force" is reserved for those Thai soldiers and police who have brought down the death rate.

That is to say, the internationalists are following the same script in Thailand (versus a key non-NATO US ally) that they are using in Iraq (versus the Coalition). Thailand's conflict has also had it's "Abu Ghraib," in this case, an incident called Tak Bai. Just as with Abu Ghraib, it appears that there was some genuinely awful behavior by the soldiers immediately on the scene. Just as with Abu Ghraib, this has been projected by the internationalists into a vision of a government conspiracy to use excessive, inappropriate force to quell Muslims.

Also following the usual script, Thailand has its own internal political divisions, with the opposition (amusingly enough, the opposition is led by a group called the "Democratic Party") using the internationalist script to demonize the existing leadership. Their spiritual leader in this effort is a man with Jimmy Carter-like stature: former Prime Minister Anand Panyarachun.

That's not exactly fair. Unlike Carter, who has been uniformly awful, Anand's record is mixed. Anand became Prime Minister by invitation of the military following a coup against the democractically-elected government. However, he did do yeoman work in restoring democracy and getting the military to agree to step back from politics, though he left the coup leader in power (the general who led the coup succeeded him as Prime Minister), and in increased wealth (the same general became head of a new national telecom firm that Anand helped to set up).

I've met him. He is a charming man and a good speaker, in English as well as his native language. He believes in the internationalist vision of peace through negotiation, which often means giving violent people what they want in order that they should stop hurting folks. And, for what it's worth, that script -- which I despise on principle -- actually seems to have worked in the case of Thailand's politics. The payoffs to the general seem to have bought space to quell the tensions, and Thailand's military today is admirably detached from political turmoil.

Anand leads the way on the dissenting efforts to bring peace to Thaliand's south through the same basic notion: pay off the violent to buy peace, during which you can build institutions that may be of use in keeping that peace.

The problem is that his National Reconciliation Commission advocates giving away the store entirely. Its proposals include submitting to the introduction of Islamic law in the South of Thailand, as well as recognizing Malay as well as Thai as the official language of the state, and disarming the peackeeping forces ('so it will be easier for the Muslims to trust them,' if you want to know why).

Internationally, several leading regional figures have spoken about the issue or visited Thailand, including Haysim Muzadi, who leads the largest Islamic organization in the world -- Indonesia's Nahdlatul Ulama, which has forty million members. Also following script, these leaders have treated the combatants as moral equals: they negotiate evenly between the Muslim rebels, who murder unarmed noncombatants as their normal means of operation, and the Thai government -- those brutes who committed Tak Bai.

All this has led the Thai government to basically ask the UN and the international community to keep its nose out of Thailand. If the UN were to protest, there's little doubt whom they'd protest. It would be the government, which has 'brutalized Muslims,' 'oppressed human rights,' and refuses to enact the simple solutions that the internationalists have already negotiated with local Islamic leaders.

When they came to make those protests, key political figures in Thailand would be right there to endorse them.

No comments: