Democracy & Geopolitics : US Senate Resolution, A clue of What Lies Ahead For Thailand.

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Democracy & Geopolitics : US Senate Resolution, A clue of What Lies Ahead For Thailand.
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Democracy & Geopolitics : US Senate Resolution, A clue of  What Lies Ahead For Thailand.

 President Donald Trump , in his term, has positioned Beijing as Washington’s greatest political and economic adversary.

Countries and companies around the world have been drawn into a running battle over the future of trade, technology and geopolitics between the united States and China, forcing them to choose sides in a conflict that is disrupting global supply chains and pushing businesses to rethink their own supply chains.

President Trump’s focus has been on a “America First” policy and has been described as a major factor in the international isolation of the United States while commentators have described the policy as “America Alone.”

The US president’s fight with China has been from a trade and technology rivalry point of view and not from an ideology one. In fact, as president of the United States, Trump has done much to undermine the very idea of democracy, and in the process has provided aid and lavished praises on authoritarian leaders around the world. 

He was enamoured with Kim Jong Un, praised Vladimir Putin’s leadership, called Recep Tayyip Erdogan “a friend” and praised Chinese president Xi Jinping after China’s ruling party abolished term limits in 2018.

He praised leaders who wield power ruthlessly while sidelining longtime democratic allies such as Canada and Germany.

 President Donald Trump’s tolerance and flattery of autocrats has thrown US allies out of balance and raised questions about his regard for democratic norms.

This is about to change dramatically under Joe Biden’s presidency.

The President-Elect plans to host a global “ summit for democracy” within a hundred days of his inauguration and will exclude and sideline all strongmen and authoritarian regimes.

Joe Biden is also expected to convene a “D-10” which would comprise the the G7 economies, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States plus India, South Korea and Australia. 

The purpose behind Mr.Biden’s policies would be to counter China’s overt ideological rivalry with the west by asserting a stronger platform for democracies. It’s highly expected that America’s international isolation will end.

Throughout the 2020 presidential campaign, Biden has declared that developments in Xinjiang represent acts of genocide, his disapproval on Hong Kong was voiced, the importance of Taiwan was highlighted and he vowed to resume presidential meetings with Dalai Lama, in sharp contrast to Trump’s stance. 

Recently Joe Biden said “We make up 25% of the world’s leading capacity, of the economy of the world. We need to be aligned with other democracies-another 25% or more-so that we can set the rules of the road.”

Joe Biden has pledged to work with other democracies to rewrite the rules of international trade, signalling a shift from Donald Trumps policies, who ruled out of multilateral pacts.

China is well aware of the eventual shift in US policy under President-Elect Biden and is pushing for dialogue where any issue can be discussed at the negotiating table. 

Foreign Minister Wang Yi, last week said that Beijing and the US “should initiate dialogue at all levels”.

This comes amid reports that Biden is expected to come through with his pledge to mobilise America’s democratic allies to stand up to China. 

What does this mean for Thailand?

 The country can take a clue from the recent US senate resolution for what lies ahead for Thailand.

A group of US senators, including Thai-born Tammy Duckworth, have introduced a resolution to show solidarity and support for freedom of speech and freedom of assembly in Thailand in the face of the ongoing anti-government protests

The bill, which was co-sponsored by Bob Menendez, a Democrat senator from New Jersey and Dick Durbin, a Democrat senator from Illinois, urged Thailand’s government “to protect and uphold democracy, human rights, the rule of law and rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression.” It also calls for the authorities to “immediately and unconditionally release political activists and refrain from harassing, intimidating or persecuting those engaged in peaceful protests”. 

 “At a time when democracy is under assault from so many quarters it is critical that the United States Senate stand with democracy movement in Thailand,” said Bod Menendez.

Dick Durbin of Illinois said the world is watching “As the people of Thailand debate changes to their constitution, their political future should be defined through peaceful dialogue, not violence, harassment, or persecution. In particular, the voices of the many brave Thai students and youth deserve attention and respect,” he said.

Thailand is an emerging economy that is highly dependent on exports, which account for more than two-thirds of the GDP.

Limited access to the US market and possibly the exclusion from US allies’ markets, higher tariffs or other forms of sanctions will not bode well for Thailand’s economic future.

As countries globally seek to position itself as neutral territory not to be shut off from economic benefits of trading with either side, Thailand should be positioning itself to do the same.

Incurring the ire of America will only leave Thailand with the option of leaning heavily towards China, which is not an ideal position for the country economically in the long run. 

 The focus of PM Prayuth’s government should not be to clear out the protests through heavy-handedness measures such as the usage of water cannons, nerve gas or even the imprisonment of protest leaders with Lease Majeste laws. Continue Reading Below...

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Protests are the ‘new normal’ in so many democracies around the world, currently, it’s really not necessary to be protest-free.

The silencing of the people’s voice and not allowing freedom of speech is the main reason why the country would incur punitive measures from America and it’s democratic allies.

The focus of the government should be instead on how protesters, critics and dissidents of the government are treated. 

They deserve to be listened to but if they bring disruption, damage and chaos to the city they should be punished according to the law that is appropriate while using the Lese Majeste law is a no-no.

As the pandemic is soon receding, more and more people are shifting their focus from survival to planning their lives, businesses and livelihoods

Increasingly, people are looking towards the government to bring the country out of the economic crisis and the government must do everything it can to support the people in their endeavour and must refrain from making their actions the reason why Thailand cannot move forward and prosper.