วันอังคาร, กรกฎาคม 12, 2559

An Exiled Leader Breaks His Silence บทสนทนา 'ทักษิณ' กับ World Policy Institute

Source: World Policy Institute via Duke Journals


Thaksin Shinawatra, the former prime minister of Thailand, is one of the world’s most polarizing figures, whose words still reverberate across Southeast Asia. His tenure at the helm of the Thai government in the early 2000s marked a growing rift between Thailand’s urban middle class and the rural and working class who adore him. After more than two years of public silence and a decade after his ouster, the former prime minister spoke with World Policy Journal in New York City.

For one of the world’s most polarizing individuals, Thaksin Shinawatra cuts an understated figure. The soft-spoken former prime minister of Thailand has been in self-imposed exile since his ouster a decade ago, but from his primary residence in Dubai, his words still reverberate across Southeast Asia.

Fifteen years ago, Thaksin was elected prime minister, and he instituted agricultural microcredit loans, fuel subsidies, infrastructure investments, and universal health care. The country’s rural poor hailed him as a leader willing to stand up to the traditional elites in Bangkok. He was the first elected Thai prime minister to serve a full term and was re-elected in 2005 in a landslide.

But his tenure marked a growing rift between the middle class in the cities and the rural and working-class Thais who adored him. In 2006, following massive protests from the opposition, the military staged a coup, setting the stage for a decade-long, sometimes bloody, power struggle (including a military-backed coup that ousted his sister, Yingluck, from her post as prime minister in 2014).

Today, Thaksin’s enemies paint him as diabolical puppet master, supporting and controlling his supporters from his homes abroad. They point out that as prime minister he launched a “war on drugs,” which, according to Human Rights Watch, involved 2,800 extrajudicial killings in just its first three months.

But no one denies his influence. Parties that support Thaksin have won every Thai election since 2001. Periodically—in 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2013, and 2014—tens of thousands of protesters fill Bangkok’s streets, sometimes in support of Thaksin and other times to rally against him. But his image is always at the center of the demonstrations—sometimes worn proudly on red T-shirts and other times burned in effigy.

After more than two years of public silence, the former prime minister sat down with World Policy Journal in New York City.

World Policy Journal: You recently distributed coffee-table books and calendars to many of your supporters; you’re speaking to the press again; you’re speaking to us. Why are you reemerging onto the public stage now?

Thaksin Shinawatra: I try to be low key and give a chance for the regime to solve whatever problems it has. They said that they want reconciliation. But watching for quite a long time, reconciliation is not there. It’s the opposite; they’re creating more rifts among the Thai people. So it’s time for me to talk, because the new constitution is being drafted. And the way they draft the constitution is very worrisome. I want to see my country moving forward, but this is a backward constitution. That’s why I want to voice my concern. I don’t care whether I go back home or not. I just care about how to move our country forward, and how the rule of law is respected, and how the dignity of the Thai people must be respected. So that’s the reason why I want to express my concern.

WPJ: You mention the proposed constitution. What is it in particular that concerns you about the constitution, and what would need to change for you to support it?

TS: We used to have a very modern constitution, which was implemented in 1997, during my administration. We did not draft it; we were the ones who came after that constitution was in effect. But I think that was one of the best [constitutions] Thailand ever had. But after the coup d’état, they wrote it again, which is worse than the one in 1997. Now the constitution is not to the international standard. We don’t have a guarantee of human rights or democracy. It’s the opposite; they increased the power of the constitutional court, which has too much power already. All the power is unchecked. It’s not balanced, giving more power to the judicial side. And the senators are appointed, all 200 members of the senate will be appointed.

WPJ: By whom, who’s appointing the senators?

TS: The junta is doing that. They can appoint any [prime minister] if the parliament includes 200 appointed senators. And also they will have a so-called politburo, which will supervise the government. It means that if the prime minister is going out of the country negotiating trades, they need to get approval from the politburo. It’s exactly like the SPDC [State Peace and Development Council, the official name of the military junta that ruled Myanmar from 1988 to 2011]. So this is very backward in terms of democracy and human rights.

WPJ: In a scenario where this proposed constitution does pass or is imposed, what do you think happens in the elections if they go forward in mid-2017?

TS: Regardless we’re going to win the most seats. But you cannot deliver what you promise to the people; you cannot solve the problems of the country if you’re being controlled by the politburo and appointed senators.

WPJ: After years of tumult between the red shirts and yellow shirts and massive protests every few years, there’s now relative stability in Thailand. Do you think the Thai citizens might become accustomed to this junta?

TS: It’s hard to say. Because you know, normally in Thai culture, we are not this divisive. The military wanted to see some of the past conflict in order to have a good excuse for a coup d’état. During my administration, the protests were not that much. But when the military side is mixed in, that is difficult to control. During my sister’s term, the military did not cooperate during the protests. We spotted many military officials joining the protests or protecting them. You had military teams protecting some key members of the protests—which is unusual, very unusual. And at the end of the day, they do the coup d’état.

WPJ: Why don’t you think you’ve seen public opposition in the streets to the military junta?

TS: Because they promise reconciliation. And we hope, and we said, “Please, let them do it.” But it’s been almost two years. They promised on the first day of coup d’état that they want reconciliation. But it’s the opposite. Suppression is only on one side—against my supporters. So this is not a good sign, not a healthy sign.

WPJ: I want to talk about the alleged mismanagement of the rice subsidy scheme your sister was involved in. What happened with the rice subsidy scheme, and what’s happening now with the rice farmers given the drought in southern Thailand?

TS: You have to admit that there are two different societies in one country. The society of the poor, who have less education and less access to capital, comprise the majority in the country. So if we need to help them, we have to have a policy that is some kind of subsidy. Every country does it; the U.S. subsidizes ethanol. Every country is doing it much more than Thailand.

But now when the military junta takes over, they use the rice subsidy as an excuse. So they remove all of the subsidies for the rice, but they still have subsidies for rubber. The farmers are having difficulties, because global exports have dropped because of competition from India. And with the high cost of production, they are having a lot of difficulties. But normally those who issue policies approved by parliament have never been prosecuted. It’s politically motivated.

WPJ: There’s a petition to World Policy Institute and personal letters sent to us denouncing you and urging us to not even come here—

TS: That is written from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

WPJ: That may be, but there were still 10,000 signatures on it and protesters outside our office. Even if there was some urging from the government, there is this anger toward you. Where do you think that came from, and why’s there such a strong response to you and your policies?

TS: If we wanted to do the same, we could have had more signatures. You can see, in every election, we always win by a landslide. We have many more supporters. Those who say that they are patriotic, they should be quiet and let the country run in a democratic way. In every election, if you don’t like the government, you don’t vote for it. They’re going to lose the election. But if the majority still votes for them, you have to respect that. It’s like in the U.S. I remember at the end of the term of President George W. Bush, his popularity was very low. But he still continued until the end of his term. You play by rules; you respect the rules. And then elections come, they vote for Democrats. President Obama won in a landslide. That is normal.

WPJ: I wanted to take a broader view of the region for a moment. What’s your view of what’s happening in the South China Sea? You know most of the players involved—will tensions continue to rise?

TS: When my sister was prime minister, Thailand was assigned to be a coordinator between ASEAN [Association of Southeast Asian Nations] and China on the South China Sea issue. I had a chance to talk to many leaders that were involved on the China side as well. I don’t think we’ll have war or fighting, but it depends on the negotiations. China doesn’t want to talk about sovereignty, but they are willing to do joint development. They are willing to allow maritime passage in that area. If countries like the Philippines say that it’s been a long tradition for Filipinos to fish on this island, this thing can be negotiable. I don’t think there will be a big conflict. But Vietnam may feel a bit stronger—they want to negotiate sovereignty.

WPJ: Do you think ASEAN is the place where that negotiation should be happening?

TS: Yes. It should be between ASEAN and China.

WPJ: China recognizes the military government. How would you describe Thailand’s relationship with China?

TS: China and Thailand have a long relationship. China has a different style of government, so they are more okay with this type of government. That does not mean they are not supporting democracy or they’re supporting the military regime. They consider Thailand as an institution.

WPJ: How do you think the U.S. should be interacting with the current regime in Thailand?

TS: I heard that every time President Obama has a chance to meet with the Thai prime minster, he asks, “When are you going to return to democracy?”

WPJ: Is that enough? Should the U.S. government be doing more?

TS: We wish that the U.S. would do more.

WPJ: Thailand has now said it’s going to join the TPP [the Trans-Pacific Partnership]. Why did Thailand wait until now, and what will the TPP mean for Thailand and the Thai economy?

TS: Actually it was proposed during my sister’s government. We expressed the clear stance that we want to join, but when the coup d’état happened, the U.S. couldn’t deal with the government, because the U.S. does not recognize the government. But the U.S. does have a good relationship with Thailand as an institution. But when they cannot recognize the military regime, they cannot have a contract with them. So the TPP will probably have to wait until we have a democratic government.

WPJ: Are there specific industries, specific worries you have about Thailand’s late entry into the TPP? Where will it hurt the Thai economy? My understanding is that there’s already a great deal of bilateral trade agreements—

TS: We have bilateral trade agreements, but it’s not free trade. We still have a lot of trade barriers, so we need to have the TPP. Otherwise we lose competition to Vietnam. Production facilities will move from Thailand to Cambodia, Vietnam, and other countries that are members of TPP.

WPJ: If you were prime minister of Thailand now, what are the major policies that you would rescind, and what would you replace them with?

TS: There’s a lot to do, because for almost 10 years, Thailand has not planned for the future. They [the military government] are trying to build power structures in such a way that the elite and the old establishment can command the whole country. Because of advancements in technology, staying competitive is much more difficult than before. You have to be flexible. You have to have a good legal system. Our education system, when compared to other countries, is getting worse. So we need to overhaul a lot of things.

WPJ: I wanted to return to something you mentioned earlier, which is reconciling the rifts in Thailand. What specifically needs to be done and implemented to make sure there is true reconciliation in the country?

TS: If you want to have reconciliation, the leader must have a big heart—like Nelson Mandela. If you are a leader and you want reconciliation, you have to understand both sides and try to find a mechanism to get people together and not just to create more heartache among the people. The way you say things, the way you act, you must show that you really have leadership, and you really love your people. The rest is easy.

WPJ: You mentioned the mechanism. What sort of mechanisms do you think would work in Thailand to accelerate—

TS: There are so many mechanisms, but the attitude must be there first. When you have the attitudes, you come together, and you can find the mechanism together. If you can come with an open heart and bring both sides, sit down—we are Thai, we speak Thai, and our country needs to move forward.

What is the future? We don’t know, because we are fighting each other, we hate each other. That is something that should be gotten rid of first. The leader, the prime minister, will have to show this to the public—not just come and scold everyone.

WPJ: You’ve spoken many times about how much you respect and revere the king. But you’ve also criticized the privy council [the king’s advisers] in the past. Does the royal institution need reform? What would that reform look like?

TS: The Thai, me included, revere the king, the royal family. But no organization has only good and capable people. Some maybe go too far out of the context of their own organization. I have criticized some privy counselors, some in the palace circle. I think it’s time for that circle not to get involved in politics. Let politics belong to the people, because democracy is from the people, by the people, and for the people. Let the people decide, and respect their decision, respect their votes. The Thai people will still continue to revere their monarchy.
Copyright © 2016 World Policy Institute

by Sathit M.
12 กรกฎาคม 2559 เ
ที่มา Voice TV

อดีตนายกรัฐมนตรี ทักษิณ ชินวัตร แนะแนวทางปรองดอง หัวหน้ารัฐบาลต้องใจใหญ่เหมือนเนลสัน แมนเดลา เข้าใจคนทั้งสองฝ่าย ขจัดความเกลียดชัง เลิกด่ากราด ย้ำสร้างสมานฉันท์ต้องเริ่มที่ทัศนคติของผู้นำ

เว็บไซต์วารสาร World Policy Journal เผยแพร่บทสัมภาษณ์ฉบับเต็มของอดีตนายกรัฐมนตรี ทักษิณ ชินวัตร ที่พูดกับทีมงานกองบรรณาธิการเมื่อคราวไปแสดงปาฐกถาในงานของหน่วยงานคลังปัญญา World Policy Institute ในนครนิวยอร์ก เมื่อเดือนมีนาคม 2559

เมื่อเดือนเมษายน เว็บไซต์ดังกล่าวได้เผยแพร่ส่วนแรกของบทสัมภาษณ์นี้ ดังที่ วอยซ์ ทีวี (23 เมษายน 2559) เคยถ่ายทอดนำเสนอก่อนหน้านี้ ล่าสุด ทางวารสารนำฉบับเต็มออกเผยแพร่ ซึ่งตีพิมพ์ในฉบับฤดูร้อน ปีค.ศ. 2016

ระหว่างการให้สัมภาษณ์ อดีตนายกรัฐมนตรี ทักษิณ ตอบคำถามครอบคลุมหลายประเด็น ตั้งแต่สถานการณ์การเมืองภายหลังรัฐประหารปี 2557 โครงการรับจำนำข้าว มุมมองต่อภูมิภาค เช่น ปัญหาทะเลจีนใต้ บทบาทของจีน สหรัฐฯ อาเซียน และความเห็นต่อการจัดตั้งเขตการค้าเสรีแปซิฟิก หรือทีพีพี

ในตอนท้าย กองบรรณาธิการของวารสาร เวิลด์ พอลิซี ซักถามอดีตนายกรัฐมนตรีไทยในเรื่องทิศทางนโยบายที่ประเทศไทยควรยึดเป็นเข็มมุ่ง และแนวทางเยียวยาความแตกแยกในสังคม

WPJ : ถ้าตอนนี้คุณเป็นนายกรัฐมนตรี คุณจะล้มเลิกนโยบายอะไร และนำนโยบายอะไรมาใช้แทน

ทักษิณ : มีเรื่องต้องทำเยอะแยะ เพราะเกือบ 10 ปีที่ผ่านมา ประเทศไทยไม่ได้วางแผนอนาคตเลย พวกเขา (รัฐบาลทหาร) พยายามวางโครงสร้างอำนาจที่ชนชั้นนำและกลุ่มอำนาจดั้งเดิมจะสามารถกุมบังเหียนประเทศชาติได้

เทคโนโลยีก้าวหน้าไปเรื่อยๆ การรักษาความสามารถในการแข่งขันยิ่งยากขึ้นๆ คุณต้องยืดหยุ่น คุณต้องมีกฎหมายที่ดี เมื่อเปรียบเทียบกับประเทศอื่นๆ ระบบการศึกษาของเราแย่ลงๆ ฉะนั้น เราต้องยกเครื่องหลายสิ่งหลายอย่างทีเดียว

WPJ : ในเรื่องความสมานฉันท์ ต้องทำอะไรบ้าง จึงจะสามารถสร้างความปรองดองได้

ทักษิณ : ถ้าต้องการปรองดอง ผู้นำต้องมีใจใหญ่ อย่างเนลสัน แมนเดลา ถ้าคุณเป็นผู้นำ ต้องการความปรองดอง คุณต้องเข้าใจคนทั้งสองฝ่าย มองหากลไกที่จะทำให้คนหันหน้าเข้าหากัน ไม่ใช่เอาแต่ทำร้ายความรู้สึกของประชาชน ท่าทีที่คุณพูดจา ท่าทีที่คุณแสดงออก คุณต้องแสดงความเป็นผู้นำ แสดงให้เห็นว่าคุณรักประชาชนจริงๆ ที่เหลือก็ไม่ยากแล้ว

WPJ : คุณคิดว่า กลไกอะไรที่จะเร่งสร้าง...

ทักษิณ : มีกลไกหลายอย่าง แต่ทัศนคติต้องมาก่อน พอคุณมีทัศนคติแล้ว คุณจะหันหน้าเข้าหาคนอื่น ค้นพบกลไกร่วมกับคนอื่น ถ้าคุณเข้ามาด้วยหัวใจที่เปิดกว้าง จัดให้ทั้งสองฝ่ายนั่งลงคุยกัน - - เราเป็นคนไทยด้วยกันนะ พูดภาษาไทยเหมือนกันนะ ประเทศชาติต้องเดินไปข้างหน้านะ

อนาคตจะเป็นอย่างไร เราไม่รู้ เพราะเราทะเลาะกัน เราเกลียดกัน ต้องละเลิกสิ่งนี้เป็นอันดับแรก คนเป็นผู้นำ เป็นนายกรัฐมนตรี ต้องแสดงให้ประชาชนเห็น ไม่ใช่เข้ามาแล้วด่ากราดไปหมด.

Source: World Policy Journal (Summer 2016)