23:28 GMT06 August 2020
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    Thai Elections: East vs West

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    This Sunday’s general elections in Thailand will be the first since the 2014 coup and will largely determine whether Thailand continues with its Eastern pivot to China or reverts back to a pro-US policy.

    General and current Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha seized power from Yingluck Shinawatra, the younger sister of controversial former Prime Minister and current international fugitive Thaksin Shinawatra, in a bloodless operation that was launched in response to the deteriorating security situation caused by partisan clashes between the so-called "Yellow Shirt" and "Red Shirt" supporters. The first-mentioned are generally more conservative, urban-based, and in support of the monarchy, while the latter are more liberal, rural-based, and generally critical of the traditional establishment, which includes both the monarchy and the military.

    The domestic situation in the country is very complicated and can't be fully explained in the brief time that we have introducing the broader topic to our audience, but what's most important to focus on in this context is that post-coup Thailand has noticeably improved its relations with China to the point of them becoming increasingly strategic through military, infrastructure, trade, and other deals that were signed in the past half-decade since General Prayuth came to power. As could have been predicted, Thaksin's political proxies complained about this and want to reverse these policies if they come out on top in the upcoming election. It's notable to point out that his "Red Shirts" are also supported by an assort of Western NGOs, some of which are directly tied to the US government, as Bangkok-based geopolitical experts Tony Cartalucci and Joseph Thomas have pointed out in many of their articles.

    Thomas recently published a piece for the Moscow-based New Eastern Outlook online journal titled "Thai Elections: US Seeks Regime Change vs China", in which he convincingly argues that the US intends to use Thaksin's "Red Shirt" proxies as its own in order to roll back the pro-Chinese progress that's been made under Prime Minister Prayuth. His well-researched article makes many compelling points backed up by a plethora of evidence that purports to prove the international connections that he alleges in his work, giving the reader a deeper appreciation for the geopolitical importance of these upcoming elections. Like all voters the world over, the Thais will probably be more influenced by domestic factors than international ones when casting their ballot, so it's worthwhile taking a look at this more in detail.

    Andrew Korybko is joined by Klaus Ingram, Long-term resident of Thailand and Thakdanai Nilkamhang, co-founder of Youth Network Z Power Phacharach.

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    Election, Thai Election, Yingluck Shinawatra, Thailand
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