The US space agency Nasa has notified the Foreign Ministry it will withdraw its request to use U-tapao naval air base if Thailand cannot provide an answer by Tuesday, Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul said yesterday.
The US embassy in Bangkok conveyed the deadline, set by the US government, to the Thai government on Tuesday, said Mr Surapong.
He insisted that the cabinet is authorised to endorse the project which does not require parliamentary approval under Section 190 (2) of the constitution as it does not involve the country’s sovereignty. The Council of State expressed the same opinion yesterday.
“This is a political game by people who might not understand the big picture. I feel pity when thinking about the benefits that Thailand would gain from it [which may be lost.] It is not as bad as some have made it out to be,” said Mr Surapong.
The game being played is that of the US camel re-inserting its nose into the Thai tent at U-Tapao.
The US cannot be unaware of the recent judicial coup in Thailand yet has chosen this particular time to extract an agreement to re-insert forces at U-Tapao. It must feel it can do so now when the Royal Thai Army, its traditinal ‘partners’, are back in the ascendant without having to put its proposal before the parliament, and without having to take into account the will of the Thai people.
Now it’s ‘take it or leave it’ on a deadline which cannot be met even within the provisions of the Royal Thai Army’s Charter, substituted for the Thai constitution by the coupsters of 2006.
The power play is on.
The Royal Thai Army is pushing for the Counci of State to approve the overflight of Thai airspace by foreign surveillance aircraft and for the unspecified provisioning of foreign ‘Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Relief’ at U-Tapao to be approved by the Council of State as well … then to be ‘acknowledged’, after the fact, by … ‘the cabinet’!
Even if the intent of the US were wholly innocent, and given its wild, worldwide rampage in defiance of international law under the aegis of ‘Humanitarian Warfare’ there is no reason to assume it is, mindful of the recent judicial coup in Thailand, the US would not be pushing for extra-constitutional agreements allowing the resumption of its basing armed forces in this country.
But the US is doing exactly that.
The US always has always preferred dealing with dictatorships abroad that will look after US interests. and that’s always been with the Royal Thai Army rather than an elected government here in Thailand.