Both billionaires have significant backing from the US, UK, and EU with Thaksin having spent his time in office from 2001-2006 serving US interests and from 2006 onward the recipient of extensive lobbying and political support from Washington.
Thanathorn has all but vowed to roll back Thai-Chinese relations in favor of renewed obedience to Washington during his pre-election tour of the US and EU last year.
|Image: Promotional material produced by Thanathorn’s Future Forward Party announcing his “US & Canada Visit” before the 2019 elections and taking office as an member of parliament.|
Current protests were launched when this opposition failed to take power during 2019 general elections and in the wake of several subsequent political and legal setbacks.
Local Level Meddling: Visibly Led by US-Backed Opposition
The supporters of both parties visibly and admittedly filled the rank and file of the protests with some of Thaksin’s supporters – called “red shirts” literally and openly wearing their signature red shirts.
The protests are also widely supported by both the Western media, their local partners, and a large collection of US government-funded fronts.
This includes the protest’s leadership itself with figures like Anon Nampa whose organization – Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) – is entirely funded by the US government via the notorious National Endowment for Democracy (NED).
US government-funded media organizations including Prachatai, iLaw, ThaiNetizens, and Anon Nampa’s TLHR along with Thaksin Shinawatra’s “VoiceTV” and other local media platforms loyal to him and his political machine promoted the protests.
None of these facts are included in articles by Western media outlets like Reuters whose article would merely claim:
Public opposition to Prayuth has been growing in recent months.
Since last year’s election, a court has dissolved the second-largest opposition party, giving his ruling coalition firmer control in parliament.
Reuters also mentions anti-military and anti-monarchy sentiments among the protesters but fails to connect them with accusations by Thaksin and Thanathorn that the military and monarchy played a role in their respective parties’ election and legal setbacks.
Smearing the Thai military and monarchy and eventually eliminating both are long-held key objectives of the Thai opposition and their foreign sponsors who seek to replace both independent institutions with Western-style institutions that directly and permanently serve Western interests.
Reuters also doesn’t mention the name of the dissolved party – Future Forward – its leader – billionaire Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit – or why the party was dissolved – because Thanathorn violated election laws by “loaning” millions of his own money to his own party when in fact he was clearly donating it.
It is loose, deliberately incomplete reporting like that at Reuters or the BBC designed specifically to create the illusion of “injustice” and spin the protests as legitimate movements in a bid to conceal the opposition parties behind the protests, their corrupt billionaire leadership, their multitude of crimes including egregious human rights abuses, and their foreign sponsors’ role in destabilizing Thailand politically.
Geopolitical Implications: Target China
Not only does Reuters fail to mention the billionaires actually organizing these protests or their foreign sponsors supporting them – they fail to mention the much wider geopolitical context for which these protests serve.
Thailand’s current government has vastly expanded relations with China – a trend the US desperately seeks to reverse.
While the US rattles sabers by deploying military forces to the South China Sea, occupies Afghanistan on China’s borders, and backs unrest within Chinese territory in places like Xinjiang and Hong Kong, it is also pressuring “allies” from Europe to Southeast Asia to roll back trade and ties with China.
This includes a ban on Huawei and pressure to abandon Beijing’s One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative.
Thailand has explicitly refused to become involved in Washington’s games in the South China Sea. It has also completely ignored the US ban on Huawei – having already included the Chinese telecom company in its 5G rollout and with its products still being sold prolifically in Thailand.
The Thai leg of China’s OBOR initiative is also already under construction with high-speed rail already being laid that will eventually connect it with Laos and China to the north and Malaysia to the south.
Not only does the Western media omit this context, it omits the fact that billionaire opposition leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit openly campaigned on a platform where he sought to cancel the Thai-Chinese high-speed rail project and replace it the so far nonexistent “hyperloop” he proposed jointly developing with the US.
His policy would essentially cancel real infrastructure projects in favor of imaginary ones that would never be built. It would put Thailand at a stand-still and all simply because his US sponsors genuinely have no viable alternatives for investments, trade, and infrastructure projects offered by China.
Bloomberg in their 2018 article, “Thailand needs hyperloop, not China-built high-speed rail: Thanathorn,” makes it abundantly clear where Thanathorn stands and to whose interests he serves, yet policies clearly stated by Thanathorn himself are now no longer mentioned or linked to the protests even at a time when Thailand’s protest leaders openly cooperate with US-backed fronts in places like Hong Kong.
Thanathorn has also demanded a decrease in military spending to stop Thailand’s ongoing military modernization through the replacement of aging US hardware with new Chinese alternatives.
When Thaksin and Thanathorn’s foreign support is discussed and their policies linked to ongoing political unrest and geopolitical developments, crucial context unfolds.
When linked together and fully exposed, the protests take on a new, sinister face – a deliberate act of political interference by the West and the US specifically – aimed at coercing Thailand away from valuable trade, political, and military partners like China and back into a subordinate role within Washington’s “rules-based international order.”
“Student protests” is a much easier sell for the Western media than a protest funded by Washington to install into power their corrupt billionaire proxies. But just as these very same media outlets – from the BBC and AP to Reuters and AFP – helped sell regime change in places like Ukraine where “pro-democratic” protesters turned out to be far-right militant extremists led by corrupt oligarchs, the goal isn’t to inform readers – the goal is to keep them uninformed for as long as possible while regime change is attempted.