Monday, September 25, 2006

Vicious Cycle of Thai Politics

I think Bangkok Pundit was looking for this "vicious cycle":
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
However, he attributed it to Dr. Chai-anan Samudavanija. The above diagram came from Likhit Dhiravegin's book (Thai Politics: Selected Aspects of Development and Change) printed in 1985. To quote Prof. Likhit's explaination of the cycle,

"After a coup ws successfully staged, the coup leaders would be in control for a period. Then a constitution would be promulgated out of political pressure, to be followed by an election. This could be interpreted as giving democracy a try or to give in to demands for an open system. After the election, a parliament would be in session with a government to be set up. then conflict would occur and solution would not be avilable turning the whole process into confusion. It would reach a crisis which would render the government immobilized. In the state of near chaos, a military seizure of power in a coup would take place. Thus the process is complete after a while, the system would again be let loose by the promulgation of a constitution and so on."

Prof. Likhit lists the conflicts that could not be resolved within the democratic framework that would lead the the crisis as follows:

1. Coflict over power.
2. Conflict over policy.
3. Conflict between the new and the old element.
4. Conflicts between military factions.
5. Conflict between the military and the police.

I would however, diverge from the image of a cycle to represent what happens in Thai politics. I think that a Bhuddist imagery of spirals may be more fitting. When you look down on a spiral flat it looks like a circle going round and round and going nowhere. But if you look at the circle from another dimension, you see the spiral and realize it actually moves. Conflict and chaos sometimes aren't bad. They are signs of an open, alive system. How many countries are there that the people have this much contribution in changing their constitution?


Cuauhtémoc said...

Just to add.. found this comment by a Linda Nowakowski, good work on the Thai Constitution.

Bangkok Pundit said...

Chai-anan seems to have coined the phrase or at least it is attributed to him, but this is the diagram I was looking for. Thanks

Cuauhtémoc said...

u're welcome.

Bel said...

hi, I came across your blog while doing research on Thailand's democratization process. The vicious cycle and the explanation by Professor Likhit caught my attention and I would like to expand such idea on my paper. I tried to look for the book at my library but they don't have it. Can you kindly tell me the exact page number the quote was from? Thank you!