This is really a twofold tragedy, with a potential up-side.
1> Thaksin's corrupt, anti-democratic tendencies betrayed the poor, rural people of Thailand, who he promised to help. As a result, it's entirely likely that the powerbase for the next Thai government won't be in the rural areas, but rather, centered on the needs of Bangkok, once more leading to hardship in the countryside. People still die of starvation in Thailand, especially in the north.
2> Thailand now finds themselves under a military dictatorship, essentially... elections that were going to happen shortly have been tenatively delayed for a whole year.
The upside, unfortunately, is that this sad state of affairs might be better than dealing with Thaksin. Some Thais on LJ are talking about the possibility that this *might* give democracy a chance, as Thaksin was clearly subverting it. We'll see.
badsmurf has several pictures, including this amusing one of Thai soldiers guarding a giant mouse.
And now, a few select quotes from Thai LJers:
eirche - "I was chatting when one of my friend popped up in the chatroom, "Hey, I heard the troop's taking control. They start a coup!!"
I thought it was a joke, but suddenly my dad's cellphone rang, and I could imply from his replies that it was really happening.
Phone kept ringing while I switched between two news channel. Finally CNN brought up a picture of tanks running around in the nightscene, in a place I am familiar with.
After a while our tv set lost a contact with all news station on this planet, but thanks to the internet connection we remained in touch with the situations. And I was up there until I felt like finishing a chapter, when the coup leader announced his control as temporary Prime Minister, at 3 AM in the morning.
My dad doesn't seem to be excited. He said, "I've seen something like this five or six times."
Right, this is the first time I witness a march of the tanks and troops forcing a leader down. The previous one was about ten years ago, when I was too young to understand the political movements around me. But think about it, well dad, we've been through so much but still we're going nowhere. It's not a satisfying fact after all."
fibrillation - "I admire the people that finally stood up to say, 'I've had enough and I can't take it any more!" A totally corrupt democracy, filthy, dirty and filled with lies and death, is not a democracy at all."
kaysa - "America, would you stop being so damn full of yourself? It was a bloodless coup. The people and the King support it. What more do you want? Not every country is willing to put up with its asshole leaders for their full term. SOME people do something about it."
Yeah, sure, but only if it were a corrupt asshole of a lea... HEY!!
Now, here's the BIG QUESTION:
If the coup leaders in Thailand don't allow for a free, fair election in a year, as promised -- which, IMHO, is way too long -- or if they simply start acting like dictators, arresting the opposition candidates and laying the ground for yet another "democratic" tyrant... what could the U.S. do about it?
Right about now, it sure would be a comforting thought to know that there were about 145,000 extra troops available to protect the rights of 64 million people who already value democracy if it became necessary, rather than having them dying whilst trying to force feed democracy to 28 million people, most of whom don't "get it", and many of whom don't want it.