Several small bombs detonated across Bangkok on Friday, August 2, amid a meeting between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) the US, China, and Russia.
There were several injuries reported, but no deaths.
Despite a Western media deliberately feigning confusion over motives and possible suspects while attempting to depict the capital as “in chaos” and the current Thai government “humiliated” – its image “tarnished” – US-backed opposition groups are the prime suspects, their motives including growing desperation.
Also absent from Western media coverage was any genuine context surrounding Thailand’s ongoing political crisis as foreign-backed opposition groups attempt to reverse the nation’s growing ties with China, Russia, and developing nations across Eurasia.
US-Backed Opposition Growing Desperate
The US-backed opposition consists of former prime minister, billionaire fugitive Thaksin Shinawatra, his Pheu Thai Party (PTP), his violent street front – the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) better known as “red shirts,” and a number of new parties Thaksin created to hedge his bets in elections earlier this year.
The most prominent among these parties is Future Forward headed by billionaire Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit.
Thanathorn faces multiple criminal charges including election law violations. His political future is nonexistent – a miniature Thaksin Shinawatra minus the initial success and popularity Thaksin once enjoyed when first coming to power in 2001.
Thaksin’s various proxies parties faired poorly in the last election, with Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) winning the popular vote and forming a larger coalition. PPRP is headed by military figures responsible for ousting Thaksin in 2006 – and his sister Yingluck Shinawatra from power in 2014.
Having lost elections and lacking public support – with expensive and violent protests a now exhausted option – few options are left besides violence. Many hardcore Thaksin supporters are fond of repeating the quote, “those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”
While they are by no means interested in any sort of principled revolution, they are most certainly fond of pursing violence.
US-Backed Opposition’s Verified History of Violence and Terrorism
Thaksin – since his ouster in 2006 – has resorted to large scale violence in a bid to seize back power. This is in addition to his poor human rights record during his time in power which saw over 2,000 people extrajudicially executed during a 90 day “drug war.”
Should evidence tie Thaksin to the recent blasts – it wouldn’t be the first time he and his political allies would have targeted an important ASEAN summit hosted by Thailand.
The Guardian in its article, “Protesters storm Asian leaders’ summit in Thailand,” would admit that in 2009 during another large ASEAN meeting, Thaksin’s red shirts would storm the convention center forcing ASEAN representatives to flee by helicopter. During related protests, Thaksin’s red shirts would kill two shopkeepers while trying to loot their businesses.
In 2010, Thaksin would deploy between 300-500 heavily armed militants who – even according to Human Rights Watch – murdered soldiers, police, and civilians. Despite HRW admitting this, it and the Western media still depicts the violence as a “government crackdown” to this day. Leading up to the protests, Thaksin’s militants threatened judges deciding on a court case over the seizure of $1.4 billion of his assets. This included grenade attacks on court buildings.
There were also other senseless grenade and bomb attacks carried out throughout Bangkok as a crude attempt to coerce the government to meet Thaksin’s demands in 2010.
In 2014 when protesters took to the street to oppose Thaksin Shinawatra’s sister – Yingluck Shinawtra – his militants would once again return, carrying out gun and grenade attacks leaving up to 20 dead including women and children. Violence continued until the military intervened, ousting Yingluck, and taking over as an interim government.
In fact, only Thaksin Shinawatra and his political supporters have a verified record of carrying out violence and terrorism in and around Bangkok – and for over a decade.
Three of Thailand’s southern-most provinces have faced a low-intensity insurgency since Thaksin took power in 2001 and violated a 20-year peace deal.
Claims that separatists in Thailand’s deep south might have been responsible for the recent blasts are dubious at best. Separatists have never attacked Bangkok.
Additionally, as revealed by Thailand’s HRW representative Sunai Phasuk in a Wikileaks cable – Thaksin maintains, “strong organization and funding” for activities in the deep south and could organize violence in Bangkok meant to scapegoat separatists.
This would fit Washington’s agenda as well – as separatists also happen to be ethnic Malay and Muslim. Washington has worked diligently in other nations throughout Southeast Asia to fuel inter-religious tensions and divisions – most notably in Myanmar where violence flaring up in Rakhaine state between Buddhists and Muslims just so happens to be threatening Chinese investments and infrastructure there – which helps provide insight into possible motivations behind the recent blasts in Bangkok.
On a petty domestic political level, Thaksin and his supporters have run out of options and have repeatedly ridiculed PPRP’s campaign promise to maintain peace and stability after winning elections. Of course, the only way the current PPRP-led government can fail to carry out its promise is if its opponents carry out violence and attempt to destabilize the country.
On a geopolitical level – Thaksin and his political forces are the preferred proxies of Washington, London, and Brussels. Thaksin faithfully served their interests between 2001-2006 for everything form privatizing Thailand’s natural resources to sending Thai troops to fight Washington’s wars.
By destabilizing the current government, Washington hopes – as it does in all other nations it is fostering destabilization and even violence in – to create the conditions within which regime change may become possible – or at the very least creation conditions suitable for coercing Bangkok into making concessions.
Among these concessions would be demands for Bangkok to distance itself from Beijing, Moscow and other US rivals whom Bangkok has been building steady ties with. China alone has helped Thailand update its aging US military equipment, including main battle tanks, armored personnel carriers, infantry fighting vehicles, and even a submarine. Thailand has also bought several Russia military transport helicopters as well as hardware from Europe.
Bangkok is already building major infrastructure projects with China including a high-speed rail network that will connect Thai cities together, and Thailand to Laos and China.
This growing relationship significantly blunts US influence in both Thailand and the wider region.
Nothing “Absurd” About Implicating the US and its Proxies
The Western media and the US Embassy in Bangkok itself – after being suspected in the past of being behind terrorism in Thailand – attempt to portray the notion of the US carrying out or approving of deadly violence to achieve its political goals around the globe as “absurd.”
Yet it was the US who used extreme violence in 2003 to invade and topple the government in Iraq – predicated on a deliberate lie and leading to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis along with thousands of America’s own soldiers. To claim somehow the US is capable of that, but “above” using lesser violence to coerce other nations around the globe is in fact incredibly absurd.
The US destroys entire nations around the globe. It is not above sponsoring relatively minor terrorism to coerce a nation.
Investigations will begin, but Bangkok is unlikely to directly implicate Thaksin or his proxies, no less his sponsors. The goal of the string of bombings is to heighten tensions and deepen divisions between the Thai public and what remains of Thaksin’s support base. Time is on Bangkok’s side. As it rises alongside China and the rest of Eurasia, US influence wanes. While the US is still an incredibly dangerous and destructive force around the globe – its ability to influence the path of global development has atrophied.
As public awareness grows of Washington’s true intentions and methods – and more specifically its abuses and crimes, further violence carried out by it or its proxies will only accelerate global backlash against it and its “international order,” in favor of a multipolar world where cooperation and national sovereignty hold primacy over coercion and regime change.