Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Hostname: page-component-848d4c4894-xfwgj Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-06-22T19:15:28.139Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

2 - Coups for the Crown

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  30 June 2023

Get access

Summary

Former Army Commander-in-Chief General Sonthi Boonyaratglin, who led a military coup d’état in the first decade of the twenty-first century to topple the elected civilian government of former police officer and billionaire-tycoon-cum-politician Thaksin Shinawatra, said that his 2006 military intervention was necessary to fulfil the four obligations of the Thai armed forces. In his view, the Thai military has the duty to defend the country, to maintain domestic security, to help the government in times of crisis such as natural disasters, and—more importantly—to protect the monarchy.

In order to explain his coup, the retired general turned to events late in the last century, when a 1980 policy shift initiated by Prime Minister General Prem Tinsulanonda allowed the return of communist insurgents from the jungle and permitted national reconciliation. Communism has been considered a great threat to the Thai establishment since the middle of the twentieth century, given that its egalitarian idea challenges the very basis of a hierarchical regime, at the peak of which sits the monarchy.

“Among the ex-communist insurgents who returned to the legal fold to help develop Thailand, there are two groups: one agreed with democratic regime with the king as the head of state and the other one does not want the monarchy”, General Sonthi said in an interview.

Thai military intelligence believes that anti-monarchists have never given up on the ideology implanted in them when they were young and participated in guerrilla warfare with the Communist Party of Thailand (CPT), whose goal was undermining the revered institution, the retired general said. Many of them became academics, politicians and social activists working with non-governmental organizations and political parties. Among the most watched groups were those who joined with Thaksin Shinawatra to establish the Thai Rak Thai Party and won two elections, in 2001 and 2005. “In my personal view, Thaksin himself was not then a real threat to the monarchy since he was an ex-police officer and an alumnus of the Police Academy and Armed Forces Academies Preparatory School (AFAPS) who swore to protect the monarchy with his life. Like many other police and military officers, he was implanted with such an ideology when he was young.

Type
Chapter
Information
A Soldier King
Monarchy and Military in the Thailand of Rama X
, pp. 14 - 57
Publisher: ISEAS–Yusof Ishak Institute
Print publication year: 2022

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×