• 2015-12-02
  • Markas Gylys

Endless beaches with white sand, sun and azure waters of the lagoon which disappear beyond the horizon. It seems like a picture from the popular advertisement with its slogan “taste of paradise”. But it is, unfortunately, just the one and the front side of Thailand. Commonly referred to as the Land of Smiles, this country has become one of the most dangerous tourist destinations on Earth.

Explosion in the central Bangkok. This year. August. Twenty dead, including four foreigners. At the time, I was in the Thai capital. Far enough from the place of explosion. But the sense of fear that was thick in the air I felt at full breath. For Thailand such an accident is something like a normal, not an emergency. Thailand saw multiple road accidents, murders, including murders of the foreigners, robberies and many other incidents that often go together with the promised “taste of paradise”.

Such a situation in Thailand is not a surprise. It has army of reasons for that: economy slipping into recession under the weight of misgovernment and corruption in all spheres of life and on the top of all that is the permanent political instability. The country appears to be the hotbed of disorder and unrest in the region of the Southeast Asia. There are just some facts. Since 1932, when the absolute monarchy was abolished, Thailand has had nineteen coups d’etat. Twelve of them were successful.

The latest military coup d’etat in Thailand took place on 22 May 2014. After months of the antigovernment protests Thailand’s military took control of the government, dissolved the Senate and suspended the Сonstitution. It is worthwhile to say that for the last eighty years the Constitution of the country had been changed eighteen times.

The military established a junta called the National Council for Peace and Order, which unanimously elected General Prayut Chan-o-Cha as a new prime minister of the country. Soon the King appointed him to run the country. In Thailand it means the legitimation of the takeover. It ought to be noted that King Bhumibol Adulyadej since 1946 every time without any further hesitation supported new government regardless of the way it was formed – after the legal democratic elections or after just another coupd’etat. The military in Thailand is high powered and has competency to rule the country in the case of instability. And the army generals were not slow to take advantage of it. After the coup of 2014 Thai military detained members of the political class, some scientists and journalists, declared curfew and shut down the media. The curfew was lifted only one year after the coupd’état.

Besides lack of stability within the country Thailand has problems on its external boundaries. Long-term Cambodian–Thai border dispute time and again place the neighbouring countries on the verge of full-scale war. Up to now there were only skirmishes on the border with the dead and wounded as the result. During one of such a skirmish Cambodia accused Thai military of using neuroparalytic gas and cluster bombs banned by the international law. Thailand denied these accusations.

All these factors are obvious to undermine reputation of Thailand in the eyes not only of its neighbours but also of the West. The coups in Thailand again and again had been condemned by a number of nations, whose officials said there was no justification for the coup and had to terminate vital political and economic agreements with Bangkok.

So, it is not a surprise that Thailand cast a slur on its own reputation and got the name of one of the most unreliable partner and one of the most unsafe countries in the world. What is suprisin gin this situation that even being aware of all the threats and risks some tourists still go to Thailand for the rest. Though sometimes they get instead unrest. And what is more surprising for me that Thailand with such an ineligible reputation hopes to take a seat at the place where the future of the whole world is taking on its form. Thailand applies for the position of non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council in 2017-2018.The country that is not able to set a good example to follow wants to participate in the sealing fates of the others. Politicians that are not able to establish order in their own country are going to establish order on a worldwide scale.

It is evident that the countries with such a biography at the place where the world’s fatehangs in the balance, at the very heart of the foremost international organization will not contribute to the strengthening of its leadership. While the leadership at the moment is the thing of the first  necessity for the United Nations which is essential in order to settle the long-running conflicts and ones that have yet to get into full swing.

Only those who demonstrate by personal example success to which others are just seeking could bring back such a leadership to UN. Only the countries which demonstrate political and economic stability, adherence to the democratic values and global responsibilities in spite of any changes in the external environment must be an example for the right candidacy for the Organization. Such states could regain the world trust and respect to the United Nations. Thailand is obvious to be inadequate candidate for such a mission.