Democratization In Thailand: Military Coups And In Essay

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Gulen Institute Youth Essay Contest Democratization in Thailand: Military Coups and Institutional Design By Li Wan Five years ago, Thailand had a thriving and developing democracy with freedom of expression, a relatively free press and an active civil society, where social movements campaigned to protect the interests of the poor. Today, the country is creeping towards totalitarianism. How did this sudden change occur so quickly? We must first take a look at the heart of the problem: whether to choose diplomacy or war. Ambrose Bierce defined diplomacy as “the patriotic act of lying for one’s country.” But there is nothing less patriotic than lying to one’s country -- especially when the result is a war that could have been avoided if honesty had substituted for mendacity. By their very nature, diplomacy and military force are means to the ends of statecraft as well as channels by which governments press their agendas onto others. Neither is inherently more or less useful than the other. Diplomacy verbally communicates realities that may move nations (it is not to be confused with any particular message diplomats may carry or with its effects), while military action (not to be confused with war) physically communicates a government’s wishes by trying to sweep away resistance to them. Whereas diplomacy represents realities, military operations create them. Statecraft—with which neither diplomacy nor military action should be confused—is about managing reality, coupling ends and means in ways that advance a country’s interests. Far from being antithetical to one another, diplomacy and military force are complementary insofar as they serve the same political ends. Diplomacy is often popularly thought of as the peaceful alternative to violence, but in fact, diplomacy serves to prepare as often as to avoid war. It is an important part of waging war, often makes the

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