May 18, 2010

How Not to Stop Thailand's Bleeding

An armored vehicle ramming into the Red Shirt's camp.
"Troops fired almost continually into the protest zone early Wednesday," reports The Washington Post.

Sean Boonpracong, a red shirt spokesman speaking to Al Jazeera amidst the assault, warned, "This will be a second Tiananmen Square. You will see the biggest massacre ever aired on television."

"I cannot see the operation coming to a successful end without further violence and without further losses," said Sukhumbhand Paribatra, Bangkok's governor. "I was hoping to have a more optimistic message, but I cannot."

Thailand's government may not have faith in negotiations with the Red Shirts, but overwhelming force is even less likely to resolve the conflict. A threat this may be, but Bangkok is making a mistake. Even if it wins this battle it could spark a war.

Only a political solution will create true peace.

[UPDATE: Fortunately several Red Shirt leaders have surrendered. Unfortunately the threats they endured will ensure the next stage of negotiations is no easier than the first. Riots have also hit the Thai Stock Exchange, a news station, banks, and other installations.

The AP reports, "The Thai government has declared a curfew in Bangkok from 8 p.m. until 6 a.m. as rioting and violence spread across the capital."]

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