Meanwhile, in Thailand

Anti-government, pro-Thaksin Shinawatra protestors dump their own blood in front of the current Thai PM’s house.

I haven’t researched this very heavily, so I may well be wrong about the driving forces in Thai politics. But it seems like the last 5 years or so have been an object lesson in what happens in a country with both stark inequality and some sectionalist/ethnic tension when things take a turn toward left-ish populism. Bangkok, though certainly not rich by Western standards, is really well-off compared to the rest of the country, and the base of most anti-Thaksin sentiment. While I’m sure he wasn’t absolutely free from corruption, Thaksin sure appears to have been about the only Thai PM in history to genuinely take steps to lift the rural poor out of poverty. A lot of the case against him seems to be based not on the merits of what he did as PM, but on rank provincialism: Thaksin is a northerner, and thus only kinda sorta a “real” Thai in the eyes of the Bangkok oligarchy. It’s spooky to see how easily democracy can fall when powerful people have petty grievances against it.

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