In a recent article in Bangkok Post, Defense Minister Prawit Wongsuwon defended himself against accusations of inaction. According to the article, when one of the generals complained about the military’s inaction against the protesters, Prawit shot back:
“What can we do in a situation like this?…We do what the government orders, but it is not always easy, especially when it comes to [dispersing] the Ratchaprasong [red shirt rally]”
It seems that the top brass in the military feel that the current problem can only be solved politically. Their view parallels that of several foreign countries. A harsh military crackdown could very well push the country into a civil war in which all sides stand to lose a lot. So the question is, why has Abhisit done nothing in the political front? In an interview with BBC on April 28, Abhisit stated that he intends to bring all sides to negotiations to help find a political solution to the problem. However his actions speak differently from his words. There have been no further attempts by the government to open any dialogue with the Red Shirt protesters since turning down their last offer to extend the deadline for house dissolution to 30 days. Instead, the government has been putting enormous pressure on the police and military to crack down on the protesters. In the art of war, it states that a war cannot be won without the support of the people. Right now, Abhisit doesn’t seem to have many places to turn to for genuine support. If people had to choose between elections or civil war, most would choose elections.