As Thailand Fights Covid-19, Students Vow to Continue Chaos for "Democracy"

April 24 2020 New Eastern Outlook   

Despite the unprecedented damage global panic over coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) has caused to nations around the world, so-called "pro-democracy" protesters have vowed to immediately resume street mobs as soon as emergency measures are lifted in Thailand.

The move will almost certainly contribute to socioeconomic instability and only compound the plight faced by average Thais whom these "student protesters" claim they represent.

The protesters, while claiming to fight for "democracy," are actually supporters of corrupt nepotist billionaire Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, his now disbanded  "Future Forward Party," and his sponsors including fugitive billionaire Thaksin Shinawatra, his "Pheu Thai Party" (PTP) and a host of foreign interests including the US and British governments.

US and British support for these protesters and the political parties they back stems from their collective opposition to the current Thai government's growing ties with nations like China and Russia who have helped to all but displace Western primacy over Asia Pacific.

The Nation in their article, "Students expected to continue democracy fight once virus situation abates," claimed:
Students are expected to resume intense political activities after the Covid-19 situation normalises and the government eases its lockdown restrictions next month.

Before the spread of Covid-19, students in universities across the country and some high schools in Bangkok had organised flash mobs in February and March to express their demand for democracy, rewriting the Constitution and ending the current military-backed coalition government.  
Noteworthy is the students' supposed demand for "democracy."

The current government is in fact a result of democratic elections carried out in 2019, the ruling party Palang Pracharath having gained several million more votes that Thanathorn's "Future Forward Party" and building a coalition government larger than that proposed by Pheu Thai of which Future Forward is merely a subsidiary.

Ironically, those currently undermining democracy now are the student protesters themselves and their sponsors, who collectively refuse to respect the results of the 2019 general elections, seeking to create social instability in a bid to coerce the majority into making concessions to them they failed to earn at the ballot box.

At a time when others are working to help the nation recover from the global Covid-19 panic, including helping medical workers, innovating, organizing charity for those in need, and those working to put the nation back on its feet economically, these "student protesters" seem only able to offer the promise of more disruptions and the predictable socioeconomic damage they will cause, in pursuit of a transparently self-serving bid for political power.

The same article in the Nation would also point out the to current activities pursued by these "student protesters" which included sitting at home at their computers creating Twitter hashtags complaining about the government's performance during the Covid-19 outbreak.

The protesters, sponsored by foreign governments and in particularly the US and UK, and their plans to leverage the socioeconomic damage caused by Covid-19 to catch the government off balance at the end of emergency measures, may point to a much larger global strategy pursued by Washington and London to likewise target off-balanced governments around the world.

As nations around the globe face the health and economic threats Covid-19 poses, they should also be fully aware of and prepared for the geopolitical threat those seeking to take advantage of Covid-19 fallout to target their recovery efforts as US and British-backed protesters in Thailand appear poised to do.

For Thais themselves, they are once again reminded as to why they voted for the current government in power in Thailand in the first place, and not for Future Forward and its dishonest army of supporters, an army of supporters who seems only capable of condemning others and complicating the nation's progress into the future rather than aiding it in any practical or pragmatic way.

Joseph Thomas is chief editor of Thailand-based geopolitical journal, The New Atlas and contributor to the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.  

Philippines: Crawling Out From Under America's Shadow?

March 20, 2020 New Eastern Outlook  

President of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, has announced his intentions to end the nation's security agreement with the United States, specifically its Visiting Forces Agreement. 

The move puts into question America's military presence in the Philippines and the influence it projects across Asia with it. In particular, it further complicates US attempts to encircle and contain the rise of China both in the region and upon the global stage. 

Framing Growing US-Philippines Tensions 

NPR in its article, "Philippines Says It Will End U.S. Security Agreement," would report that: 
At the direction of President Rodrigo Duterte, a fierce critic of the United States, the Philippines announced Tuesday that it would scrap a security pact that allows American forces to train there.
The article would also report:
"It's about time we rely on ourselves. We will strengthen our own defenses and not rely on any other country," Philippine presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said at a regular press briefing, quoting Duterte.
He said Manila would be open to similar agreements with other countries. "As long as it is favorable to us and there is a mutual benefit to both countries, we are open," he said. 
NPR would cite US pressure placed on the Philippines regarding its "war on drugs" and the alleged human rights abuses stemming from it as the motivation for this recent decision.

Of course, the US itself is one of the leading nations in terms of human rights abuses meaning that any pressure placed on the Philippines for allegedly violating human rights was done solely for political reasons.

In the Philippines' case, its attempts to improve ties with Beijing and distance itself from commitments to its former colonial masters in Washington drive most of Washington's "humanitarian concerns" regarding Manila and its domestic policies.

The Philippines: Former Colony, Current Client State  

NPR would describe the Philippines as having been "a former U.S. territory that gained independence in 1946" and that it "has long viewed Washington as its strongest ally."

In reality, the US seized the Philippines at the end of the Spanish-American War, then brutally extinguished attempts by the island nation to grain independence from Washington resulting in tens of thousands of deaths. The Philippines have since been the subject of US political machinations, meddling, interference and coercion since achieving its mostly symbolic independence in 1946.

Through a mixture of political interference, subversion and even terrorism, the US has attempted to extend its hold over the island nation. In recent years as US influence in Asia wanes and as China's grows, Manila has attempted to break this hold, if not entirely, incrementally through exerting pressure on Washington with threats precisely like the termination of the Visiting Forces Agreement.

The Real Reason Behind the US Military's Presence in the Philippines

NPR claims that the termination of the Philippines' cooperation with the US military could impact the nation's current struggle against extremists in its southern regions. The article mentions the 2017 battle against terrorists linked to the so-called Islamic State (IS) in the city of Marawi and US aid to the Philippine government rendered to win it.

Coronavirus Exposes Hong Kong's Fake "Pro-Democracy" Mobs

March 13, 2020 New Eastern Outlook  

While the large street mobs plaguing Hong Kong's streets have more or less subsided, the foreign-funded movement and its supporters continue seeking every opportunity to perpetuate their agenda.

This agenda, despite the Western media claiming it is centred on advancing human rights and democracy while opposing Beijing's "authoritarianism," is in all actuality merely racist and anti-Chinese, a scion of both British and American attempts to impose their rule on Hong Kong and use the territory as a vector to project power across into mainland China.

Far from the conclusions reached by pro-Beijing media, the most recent example of the so-called "pro-democracy" movement's overt racism and its attempts to hide behind legitimate excuses was covered by the pro-Western South China Morning Post (SCMP).

The article titled, "More than 100 HK restaurants refuse to serve customers from China," at first attempts to depict supporters of the recent "pro-democracy" mobs barring mainlanders as taking measures merely to fend off the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak.

But soon even the pro-Western newspaper is forced to admit not only legitimate human rights concerns regarding what is clearly a racist and discriminatory policy, but that the restaurants involved are indeed supporters of the recent anti-Chinese mobs indicating that their real motivation is political and concerns regarding the coronavirus are a poor attempt to disguise it.

The article claims:
More than 100 restaurants in Hong Kong have refused to serve diners from mainland China during the coronavirus outbreak, according to a human rights group that is warning firms against crossing the line into racial discrimination.
The article however eventually admits that one of the restaurants investigated was previously and openly a supporter of anti-Chinese mobs masked as "pro-democracy" protests. The article stated:
The findings came three weeks after the EOC advised Kwong Wing Catering, a popular local restaurant chain — which supported the anti-government protesters who took to the city's streets from last June — to remove notices displayed at its outlets. Those posters said the eatery would only serve Hongkongers and that its staff did not speak Mandarin.
While organisations like the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) and others are stepping up to speak out against this pattern of increasingly bold racism and discrimination, silent are the same foreign organisations that supported the anti-Chinese mobs at the height of their violence on the grounds of defending "human rights."

The mobs then and now continue a blatant agenda of racism and discrimination, not against the government in Beijing and its policies but clearly against the over 1.3 billion people of China itself.

This reveals the movement, backed by Washington, London and Brussels, as merely hiding behind notions like democracy and human rights while in actuality trampling both while pursuing agendas built on the worst imaginable values (or lack there of).

US Complains as Cambodia Pivots Toward China

March 5, 2020 (New Eastern Outlook  

US State Department-funded front "Radio Free Asia" (RFA) recently complained about plans to proceed with joint Chinese-Cambodian military exercises despite the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. 

According to Khmer Times, this year's joint exercises will include up to 200 Chinese personnel and over 2,000 personnel from Cambodia. According to the article the exercises will also include "the use of tanks, armoured personnel carriers, artillery, mortar and helicopter gun ships." 

Cambodia has dismissed concerns over holding the exercises amid the outbreak noting the relatively small impact the virus' spread has had on the nation. Additionally, it is unlikely China will not exercise extreme caution when selecting and screening military personnel sent to participate in the exercises later this year. 

The citing of the virus is merely the US taking a political shot at both China and Cambodia and by doing so reminding both nations of the importance of establishing significant and enduring alternatives to the current but waning US-led "international order." 

US Complains About Growing Chinese-Cambodian Ties 

In an RFA article titled, "Joint Cambodia-China ‘Golden Dragon’ Military Drills to Proceed, Despite Threat of Coronavirus," the US front complained:
Cambodia and China have no plans to cancel their fourth annual joint “Golden Dragon” military exercise later this month, despite the threat of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), Cambodia’s Minister of Defense Tea Banh said Monday.
The article also openly complained about declining Western-Cambodian ties and how they reflected China's growing influence in the region. RFA would claim:
This year’s exercises mark an expansion over those in 2019, when 250 Chinese and 2,500 Cambodian military personnel took part in drills over 15 days at the Chum Kiri Military Shooting Range Training Field in Chum Kiri district.

They were the third and largest joint Cambodia-China military drills to be held on Cambodian soil since Cambodia’s Defense Ministry abruptly suspended annual “Angkor Sentinel” joint exercises with the U.S. military and abandoned counter-terrorism training exercises with the Australian military in 2017.
Joint exercises with Western nations were never reestablished after 2017, a sign of Washington's terminal decline in the region.

Washington's More of the Same Didn't and Won't Work 

Rather than addressing Cambodia's concerns over overreaching Western influence, meddling and subversion within Cambodia's internal political affairs, the West (and the US in particular) has instead doubled down on meddling.

Thailand Protests: "Students" Fight to Save Washington's Billionaire Proxy

US attempts to destabilize Thailand aim to weaken Thai-Chinese relations at Beijing's expense.

February 28, 2020 New Eastern Outlook   

"Long Live Democracy!" cried "student" protesters at Thailand's Thammasat University as local and Western media organizations reported "hundreds" gathered to decry the disbanding of Thai political party, Future Forward.

However, the Western media's eager support for the small mob complete with quotes of support from the US Embassy in Bangkok should be the first clue that it has little to do with actual democracy or Thailand's best interests and more to do with bolstering Western proxies in Thailand and boosting waning Western influence in Thailand, and across wider Asia vis-a-vis China.

The recent ruling by Thailand's Constitutional Court regarding Future Forward and its dissolution is indeed not an attack on "democracy" but rather the confronting of an overtly corrupt party led by an equally corrupt billionaire, Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit.

Thanathorn has in the past openly received the support of the US and other Western embassies amid his multiplying and increasingly overt legal transgressions. His Future Forward political party is comprised of members drawn from US and European-funded fronts posing as nongovernmental organizations (NGOs).

In his latest legal transgression - Thanathorn "loaned" his own party millions of dollars. Of course, Future Forward has no means or intention of ever paying back this "loan," meaning that it was instead in all actuality a donation - one made in direct and complete violation of Thai election laws.

The BBC would note in its article, "Future Forward: Thai pro-democracy party dissolved over loan," that:
The constitutional court ruled a loan of around $6m (£4.6m) to Future Forward from Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit was a donation, and therefore illegal. 
The BBC would - however - attempt to present the party's dissolution as a setback for "democracy," claiming that the party had garnered "more than six million votes." Of course the BBC conveniently omits that it came in distant third, with its political allies from Thailand's Pheu Thai Party (PTP) led by exiled and likewise corrupt billionaire Thaksin Shinawatra coming in second and Thailand's Palang Pracharat Party coming in first regarding popular vote.

Thus Future Forward not only represents a minority (16%) of Thai voters - it represents the interests of a corrupt billionaire who openly violated Thai laws in his bid to seize political power. If this is the case, what are these "student" protesters at Thammasat University actually fighting for?

More Western "Pro-Democracy" Chaos 

The protests of course have nothing to do with "students" and are instead led by openly foreign-funded fronts merely posing as "students" and "pro-democracy activists." Many of them are directly tied to Thanathorn's corrupt and now disbanded Future Forward political party - while others literally donned the red shirts of Pheu Thai's violent street mobs, the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) - notorious for widespread arson and armed terrorism which paralyzed Bangkok in 2009 and 2010.

The Western media and local media funded-by and eagerly reflecting foreign interests attempted to portray Future Forward's dissolution as a clear bid by the ruling government to eliminate the "pro-democracy" opposition.

Coronavirus Tests China, Temps America

February 21, 2020 New Eastern Outlook 

Biology has done what malicious US foreign policy aimed at China has failed to do for years; complicate China's relations along its peripheries (and the rest of the world for that matter), particularly in Southeast Asia.

In Thailand, contrary to popular belief, Chinese tourists make up the vast majority of those visiting the Kingdom. Approximately ten times more Chinese tourists arrive in Thailand each year than tourists from all other Western nations combined.  With China's government putting travel bans in place to curb the spread of the recent coronavirus outbreak, Thai resort areas have seen a marked decrease in business.

The Bangkok Post in an article, "Chinese tourists desert Phuket as virus spreads," would note the impact on the southern resort island of Phuket, with locals describing about a 70% decrease in business and the Tourism and Sports Ministry estimating "50 billion baht of lost tourism revenue."

With the first Thai victim of the virus being a taxi driver who likely contracted it from picking up a Chinese tourist, many taxi drivers are now attempting to avoid Chinese fares; which may have a negative impact on Chinese-Thai tourism in the near and intermediate future.

A Weakpoint 

While this disruption is likely to be temporary with tourism, business, and other Chinese-Thai relations bouncing back - the coronavirus outbreak illustrates a weakpoint in China's rise and one that most likely will be exploited by China's adversaries; particularly the United States.

Chinese state media, CGTN, in an article titled, "China says U.S. raising travel advisory 'not a gesture of goodwill'," would report:
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying Friday criticized certain U.S. officials' words and actions amid the ongoing novel coronavirus outbreak, noting that their behavior is certainly not a gesture of goodwill as they are neither factual nor appropriate.

U.S. State Department Thursday announced a highest-level warning not to travel to China due to the recent coronavirus outbreak. On the same day, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the spreading coronavirus will accelerate the return of jobs from China to the U.S.
Thus, the US is cynically using the outbreak to enhance its anti-China policies at a time when other nations are extending aid to the Chinese government and the Chinese people.

While the outbreak is most likely an accident prompted by China's breakneck development, industrial-scale agriculture, immense population and the millions of Chinese people who travel within and beyond China's borders, the fact that certain US policy circles have contemplated the use of biological weapons to achieve exactly the same results the coronavirus outbreak is having should be a stark reminder to China and all other nations about the importance of being able to quickly and effectively combat such outbreaks.

US Propaganda Reorganises in Cambodia

January 29, 2020 New Eastern Outlook 

US State Department-funded and directed Voice of America recently noted that its networks in the Southeast Asian country of Cambodia are reorganising, though no in such straightforward terms.

VOA's article, "Journalists Form A New Press Association, Plan to Protect At Risk Reporters," claims:
The development comes amid an ongoing press crackdown by the government that has seen the shuttering of independent news organizations and radio stations in the country.

The article then obliquely mentions that the "at risk reporters" include Radio Free Asia employees; Radio Free Asia being part of the US State Department's media presence inside Cambodia and across the rest of Asia.

Only until the very last paragraph of the article does VOA admit who the founding members of the new association, The Cambodian Journalists Alliance (CamboJa), are, admitting:
CamboJA’s fifteen founding members consist of current or former journalists from six news outlets, including Voice of Democracy, The Cambodia Daily, Radio Free Asia and Voice of America, as well as freelance journalists.
In other words, CamboJa is merely the US State Department reorganising its interference within Cambodia under the pretense of upholding media freedom.

US-Funded and Directed Media Augments US-Backed Opposition 

Far from impartially and objectively reporting any actual news, the members of CamboJa serve merely as the public relations arm of Cambodia's US-backed opposition party, the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP).

CNRP's senior leadership includes Kem Sokha who himself openly admitted he served as a proxy for US interests who ran his opposition party practically from top to bottom.