US Government Role in Thailand’s “Student Protests”


This article was originally published in August 2020.

The Southeast Asian Kingdom of Thailand has tilted too far toward China for Washington’s liking. 

The country – with nearly 70 million people and the second largest economy in Southeast Asia – counts China as its biggest trade partner, its largest source of foreign direct investment, the largest source of tourism with China providing more tourists per year than all Western nations combined, and a key partner in developing infrastructure including the already under-construction China-Laos-Thailand-Malaysia-Singapore high-speed rail link that will only further cement these ties.

Thailand is also replacing its aging US military hardware with Chinese alternatives including Chinese-made main battle tanks, armored personnel carriers, infantry fighting vehicles, naval vessels including the Kingdom’s first modern submarines, and jointly developed projects like the DTI-1 multiple rocket launcher system. Thailand and China have also conducted joint military exercises in recent years.

To reverse this trend – the United States is attempting to destabilize Thailand politically and economically – topple the current government and place into power a political opposition led by abusive billionaires who have specifically vowed to roll back Thai-Chinese relations.

This has manifested in protests the Western corporate media has claimed are “student-led” and “organic” despite what are clearly centrally led protests with easily identifiable leaders tied directly to US government funding.

The protests are leveraging a nation-wide network created by US government organizations like the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), USAID, and other funding mechanisms to overwrite Thailand’s indigenous institutions with Western-style alternatives across Thailand educational, labor, media, and political spaces.

The protests also have direct ties to US-backed opposition parties including those of fugitive billionaire Thaksin Shinawatra’s Pheu Thai Party and corrupt billionaire Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit of Future Forward/Move Forward Party and even foreign opposition movements the US is funding in China’s territories of Taiwan and Hong Kong.

Thailand’s US-backed Billionaire-led Opposition

Thailand’s political opposition – while portrayed by the Western media as “progressive liberals,” is in fact run by two corrupt billionaires.

One – Thaksin Shinawatra – is a convicted criminal who currently hides abroad as a fugitive. Despite this – he still openly runs his political party Pheu Thai – as New York Times would note in their 2013 article, “Thaksin Shinawatra of Thailand Wields Influence from Afar.”

Thaksin also runs a number of nominee parties operating in lockstep with Pheu Thai – including Future Forward/Move Forward Party headed by fellow billionaire Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit.

Thaksin had served as Thai prime minister from 2001-2006 and openly and repeatedly served US interests at the expense of Thailand’s own best interests.

These ties and interests included:

  • In the late 1990’s, Thaksin was an adviser to notorious private equity firm, the Carlyle Group. He pledged to his foreign contacts that upon taking office, he would still serve as a “matchmaker” between the US equity fund and Thai businesses. It would represent the first of many compromising conflicts of interest that would undermine Thailand’s sovereign under his rule.
  • Thaksin was Thailand’s prime minister from 2001-2006. Has since dominated the various reincarnations of his political party – and still to this day runs the country by proxy, via his nepotist appointed sister, Yingluck Shinawatra.
Since being ousted from power in a 2006 military coup, Thaksin Shinawatra has been represented by US corporate-financier interests via lobbying firms including, Kenneth Adelman of the Edelman PR firm (Freedom HouseInternational Crisis Group,PNAC), James Baker of Baker BottsRobert Blackwill of Barbour Griffith & Rogers (BGR)Kobre & KimBell Pottinger (and here) and most recently by Robert Amsterdam of Amsterdam & Partners.

Ahead of Thailand’s 2019 elections Thaksin Shinawatra would create a myriad of nominee political parties in the event one or more of his core parties were disbanded by courts for the obvious fact he is a fugitive and those acting on his behalf are aiding and abetting a criminal.


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