The Thai Commedia Dell’Arte : Government and Red Shirts “talk”

Penultimate chapter in the Thai Political Saga : talks.

Even “peace talks” (were we at war ?). And even “historic peace talks”, like Nation writes. Sounds impressive.

Historic peace talk starts

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva starts what it is called peace talk with red shirts leaders at King Prachadipok’s Institute on Sunday.

Abhisit arrived at the peace talk room with the red shirts leaders.

Apart from Abhisit, the government side comprises PM’s secretery general Korbsak Sapavasu and Democrat MP Chamni Sakdiset.

The red shirts side are Jatuporn Prompan, Weng Tohjirakarn and Veera Musikapong. They all wore red while the government side wore light blue.

After years of coup, rallies, betrayals, fights, scams, riots… could it be the beginning of the end ? A normalization ?

Of course not.

Those “talks” won’t produce anything, or more precisely won’t change the scenario.

At best, the Red Shirts will get a promise that would allow them to retreat without losing face. And in a few months, It would be “play it again Sam”.

Why I don’t believe in such “talks” ? Because both camps won’t move. They can’t.

The government and the army can’t allow elections, before the royal succession. It’s as simple as that. They will use every tricks available to gain time.

This is why the whole process is totally biased, and the Red Shirts know It well.

It’s a deadlock.

However, from a tactical point of view, the government/army has a good card to play : “national unity” by giving a few ministers and/or deputy ministers to the opposition. Enough to blurr the game and to gain time.

But fresh elections ? No way.

Well… The “historic” part has seriously been deflated. Stalemate. Even the clowns at Nation have to acknowledge this fact. Until tomorrow. They promise a second round…And then a third… A fourth. And so on.

The show must go on.

Govt-red shirt negotiations fail to produce results


The People’s Alliance for Democracy Monday issued a statement to express opposition to the on-going talk between the government and the red-shirt movement.

Suriyasai Katasila, a coordinator of the PAD, read from the PAD’s statement saying the group disagreed with any attempt to hold a negotiation just to help one person, referring to former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

The statement added that the PAD was also opposed to House dissolution and charter amendments to help Thaksin and his associates. (Nation)

It’s becoming… more complicated…

13 Responses to “The Thai Commedia Dell’Arte : Government and Red Shirts “talk””

  1. 1 Bailish 28 March 2010 at 6:08 pm

    Saying nothing will change is too premature. The significance of the talks is that it is a chance to educate people of what is going on. Dr. Weng is giving a very interesting history lesson. The balance of the people can shift .

  2. 2 thaichris 28 March 2010 at 7:53 pm

    A major problem is, that the “yellow shirt” are not represented at these so called “peace talk”. Abhisit does not represent them. And some more groups are missing. Where are the “blue”. And the military.

    If “red” and Ahbisit fidn an agreement, “yellow” will be out the next day as such an agreement will be against the interessts of “yellow” for sure.

    If there should be real “peace talks”, it requires a round table with representatives off all major movements. Only such a round table will succeed.

  3. 3 African Nomad 28 March 2010 at 9:19 pm

    Dr. Weng was the most impressive person in that room, in my mind.

    His lesson on the history of democracy in Thailand was impressive, to say the very least. He has an astute mind.

    The Red Shirts seem to be creating a ground-swell of support against the previous royalist-backed ideology. This may very well be the road to change in Thailand.

    If Abhisit & his minders are not careful, however & the Red grounds-well becomes too powerful, Thailand may end up as yet another Laos.

  4. 4 ThaiCrisis 28 March 2010 at 10:36 pm

    … Or Burma…

  5. 5 George 28 March 2010 at 11:58 pm

    or part of Thailand, Isan, will once again become part of Laos………..

  6. 6 E. Spitzer 29 March 2010 at 9:22 am

    One question is, why talk at all ?
    Why did Abhisit have the sudden change of mind.
    First it was ‘no talks’, then “I’ll send a deputy”, and a few hours later he is meeting with them.
    Sounds like something changed behind the scenes.

    ps. they should agree to have election in December so they can have lots of dry weekends during the high season.

  7. 7 Lloyd 29 March 2010 at 10:53 am

    I don’t believe the talks would happen if the “yellow shirts” were invited, they are not interested in bringing about social change or “democracy”, all they are interested in is getting exactly what they want using any means and feathering their own nests. Did the “yellow shirts” make any attempt to mitigate the damage they were doing to Thailand and mediate with the then incumbent prime minister, no, they were not interested in democracy or having fair and open elections, they simply wanted the elected Government out and their own form of ‘democracy’ in the form of a non elected ruling party.

    The “red shirts” have shown that they are more than puppets for Thaksin and put forward a very fair appraisal of the current social and political status in Thailand and what their end goal is. Everyone I spoke too in Kathu, Phuket last night, local Thais not farangs, had watched the talks live on channel 3 and were impressed with the “red shirt” leaders, most locals said they now had a “lot” more respect for the UDD and their “cause”.

    If this change in attitude is across the marginal voters then the incumbent government are in for a shock if they try and “pull one over” the UDD and back out of any agreements they make.

  8. 8 banphai 29 March 2010 at 1:58 pm

    @ E.Spitzer. Good question – and one might add why the sudden withdrawals of soldiers from various locations around BKK in the previous 24 hrs?

    At times like this speculations and rumours run riot. My own wild theory was that Abhisit had received advice from the military about the growing sympathy of soldiers towards the Reds’ cause and that any confrontation between the soldiers and the protesters could now have embarrassing results.

    Then, late yesterday afternoon my attention was drawn to Thanong’s blog in the Nation, in which he claims, “Gen Prawit Wongsuwan, the defence minister, and Gen Anupong Paochinda warned Abhisit that he has to step forward to hold talks with the Red Shirts. Otherwise, the Military would abandon their support of the Abhisit government and the Coalition would be asked to form a new government with Pheu Thai Party as a core.”

    I did check – it was ‘The Nation’ and not ‘Not the Nation’.
    As seems usual with Thanong, he gives no indication of his sources, and I have seen no further reference to this apparently extraordinary development in any of the other media.

  9. 9 ThaiCrisis 29 March 2010 at 4:07 pm

    I don’t share this analysis. For me, it’s absolutely not an “extraordinary development”.

    Just a classic tactic.


    Think about Israel, the US and the Palestinians…. They have been “talking” for 30 years… 😉

    We could however say that this tactic is rather unusual in Thailand…;-) But you’ll see, they are learning fast.

    If Abhisit and the military are smart, next step, will be a hand given to the Red Shirts, with a few positions within the government.

    I remind you the ONLY target of the military apparatus : TO WAIT. To Gain time.

  10. 10 banphai 29 March 2010 at 4:21 pm

    I agree about talks, especially talks about talks, which are even more of a dead end – and then, of course, there are the talks about who will do the talking about talks.

    Actually, I was referring to the alleged threat by Prawit and Anupong.

  11. 11 Insanity 30 March 2010 at 1:19 am

    Thailand’s Tourism Industry Takes a Beating From Protesters

    Not surprising but the The Association of Thai Travel Agents reports that the latest protests in Bangkok have resulted in a fall of 20-30% of international visitors in March and warns that if the demonstrations continue it will hurt the remaining of this year.

  12. 12 Bedwyr 30 March 2010 at 8:37 am

    Not more complicated, less complicated as the amart mobilise more of their forces out into the open. It becomes more complex when deals are done in smoke-filled rooms out back.

    The PAD are still peddling the fiction that this is about Thaksin, this is not about Thaksin, it is about what happened to Thaksin and Somchai and Samak (as disgusting a human being as he certainly was).

    This is about impunity, the exercise of unelected power, the frustration of democracy and about Jack quite liking the house he has built, and trying to make sure that nobody changes it.

    There will be tears before bedtime.

  13. 13 whoopla 31 March 2010 at 5:11 am

    Thank you Bedwyr for poetically but incisevley summing up the current impasse. Art wins over the prosaic on any day.

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Thailand Crisis

Coup, Economic slowdown, Terror In the South... The situation is worsening in Thailand. Bumpy road like often before.

But this time, it's different.

The key to understand the present turmoil is the inevitable... succession of King Bhumibol.

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