26 November 2016

Pivot Collapse: Thailand's Junta Moves Toward Moscow and Beijing

There are so many aspects of the US election that have been covered and yet American mainstream media has largely failed to report on the international effects.

The collapse of TPP and the movement of the EU toward autonomy in light of Brexit are perhaps somewhat known but there have also been some interesting developments in Asia. While the Philippine's Duterte has made the news for cursing Obama and cozying up to Beijing there are other stories that point to the American 'Pivot' being in jeopardy.

In fact the election of Trump may lead to not only its collapse but something of a regional reaction.

The most recent story involving Thailand is in regard to the death of its king and how his long reign marks the end of an era.

But earlier this summer there was another story that's been slowly developing. A longtime US ally, Bangkok is beginning to tentatively look to China for the purchase of advanced weapons systems, submarines no less. This would have sent shockwaves through the Pentagon and State Department.

The Diplomat piece is interesting. As always it's very biased and whitewashes US machinations but it is nevertheless informative.

Thailand, long a US proxy in Indochina has been wracked by instability. The Shinawatra regime has been a source of American gain and grief. With deep ties to both Wall Street and Anglo-American institutions the Thai ruling elite and figures like Shinawatra have long been 'propped up' by the American Deep State. Even after Shinawatra's ouster he has continued to exert a great deal of influence, first through his sister and after she was removed through other forces in Thai society. The military which has solid ties to the Pentagon seems frustrated and the ruling junta is trying to broaden its horizon. This move has to be particularly disturbing as it limits what Washington can do.

In part (it would seem) the Thai leaders and elements of the junta are perhaps insulted, much in the same way Duterte of the Philippines has been. Weary of the schemes, backstabbing and hypocrisy they are (perhaps) beginning to forge a path of independence.

Thailand has greatly benefited from Washington's largesse but at the same time has suffered a great deal of internal grief and instability. A staging ground for airstrikes and operations during the Vietnam War, Thailand has also (at US behest) facilitated the Golden Triangle drug trade and for many years harboured (again at US behest) the late Pol Pot and the remnants of the Khmer Rouge. And this is only the beginning. There's a long sordid history with the remnants of the Kuomintang which extends from their defeat at the hands of Mao Zedong all the way into the Vietnam era. At that point the task was taken up by the Hmong and other elements.

Why would Bangkok look to China? Why now? They are assessing the reality and progress of the American Pivot and like many other small nations they want (as much as possible) to play both sides. They would rather assuage both the great powers than antagonise them but they will find as the tension increases this will be harder to do.

Another point that is probably irritating to the military junta is the presence of Turkic Grey Wolves in Thailand and their prosecution of the 2015 Bangkok bombing which killed 20 civilians. This was believed to be a result of their deportation of Uighurs and it also led to an attack on the Thai consulate in Istanbul.

This ironically brings a Southeast Asian nation into a larger Eurasian struggle and provides an opening to find common cause with Beijing which had been putting a lot of pressure on Bangkok.

Thus far I have not been able to ascertain why the Uighurs were in Thailand to begin with but as Thailand is the hub for people escaping China it's possible they're using some of the same underground pathways utilised by North Koreans trying to get to the South. Unable to cross the DMZ they must cross China and usually end up in Thailand and from there they can get to South Korea. As far as the Uighurs go, that route may prove easier than trying to exit China into Central Asia where they are often not wanted. That said, it would seem some are passing into Afghanistan and after traversing Pakistan and India they make their way to Thailand or Malaysia. And it is from there they hope to access Turkey itself. It's a long and arduous road. For some the southern road would prove difficult because like North Koreans on the run, they stick out and must remain hidden. I'm not sure if they have the same networks Christians are employing to smuggle North Koreans. It's expensive and I would imagine many of the Uighurs are fleeing without aid or support.

These attacks are believed to have been the work of the Grey Wolves, the shadowy fascist paramilitary network that has long had ties to the US Deep State and has served as a proxy in the larger Turkic world. Bitterness over what can only be called terrorist acts on its soil may have proven too much for the junta and out of resentment they have decided to quit trusting in the US and its proxies.

A Thai pivot to Beijing would severely retard US aspirations for the region and could increase tensions in Indochina at a moment the US is trying to rally support for an anti-Beijing coalition.


  1. Do you know of any books or article series that gives a more comprehensive look at the Grey Wolves that you trust?

  2. While I can't fully endorse the book, Operation Gladio by Paul Williams has some good information. Gladio by Richard Cottrell, and The Beast Reawakens by Martin Lee are some others. The latter only contains a very small amount on Turkey. It's a good book and if anything is guilty of under-evaluating the issues. But it points to the larger question of Gladio and the relationship of the West and in particlar the USA with post war fascism.
    Wikipedia is of course a good place to start. It will get you searching for names, places, incidents etc... One of the most famous is with regard to Abdullah Çatli and the Susurluk Incident in 1996. This is the starting point which ties together the Grey Wolves, the Turkish Deep State, the drug running, Mehmet Ali Agca etc... Çatli's bio on Wikipedia is woefully lacking with regard to his narrative.

    Sibel Edmonds in her articles and interviews offers quite a bit of information. Her website requires payment but her interviews are all over. I cannot fully endorse what she says. I think she subscribes to the 'it's all orchestrated' view and fails to take into account the actual in-fighting and betrayals that take place within Elite circles. Nevertheless she's got some good information. I just wouldn't endorse her 100%. With all these authors, there are flaws and blindspots. We all have them.

    As one reviewer on Amazon put it, to cross this line and enter this world....you have to take the red pill. It is indeed a trip to wonderland.

  3. Here's a link to an online reproduction of the section from Martin Lee's book. It's a brief but excellent summary.


    Sibel Edmonds would go much further and insists that Catli was also moving in and out of the United States. Her position in the FBI would have indeed made her privy to such knowledge even if she was recruited a few years after his death.

  4. Thanks a lot. These are good places to get started.

    1. Also, do you have any idea why members of the Grey Wolves even took a shot at JPII, who, for what it seemed to me, was working pretty well for US efforts at undermining Soviet control among Eastern European Catholics (particularly Poles)? If the Grey Wolves were operating as disgruntled allies against the Russians, this doesn't make sense, unless the Pope found out and was going to shut down bank activities.


  5. Also, I know you disallow comments on your other blog, but I wanted to share some thoughts on your lastest on Lutheran Sacralism:

    I think it's fair to distinguish between the radical Reformation and the Anabaptists, because even though the early Mennonites and Swiss Anabaptists readily recovered some of these biblical constructions, they were quickly lost. The Mennonites that moved to America had become, in many ways, an outcrop of a German ethnic community that sought an insularity that it has been able to maintain into the late 20th century. The only difference was that it was quietist rather than integrationalist. The Amish, as a schism represent this reality. The Ordnung is just a more easily contented sacralism of the home and hearth, and not the city and the empire. The Church is collapsed into the village.

    And I'm not sure I agree that the Reformation represents a theological recovery and purity which is easily distinguishable from the social, economic, and political changes unleashed. If German princes didn't take up the sword for Luther, he might have died as another heretic. If he had not taken to the printing presses ability to pamphleteer, a major discursive change, he would've died in obscurity. Thank God the Reformation got people looking at the Bible again, but I think, sadly, this was a minor part of the Reformation. The work of Tyndale became iconic, but what functionally changed? The Magisterial Reformation many times tried to close the book on people as much as it unleashed it. In a strange twist, it was the most militant of people who tended to keep the Bible in hand. It was Scottish covenanters who refused to close the Bible on the common people, even if they misapplied its figurations.

    So, in someways, I have more appreciation for the hard-core Sacralists than the proto-Sphere Sovereignty of Magisterial Two Kingdoms. The former at least had the Bible open, rather than keeping it chained within Scholastic lenses that had already retrieved what was considered sufficient knowledge. It's when the Book is open that sometimes radically transformative Truth slips out and introduces good into the chaos and evil.

    I don't know, I don't have as rosy thoughts when it comes to the Waldenses and the Anabaptists much anymore. I think Augustinianism, however on cuts it, sets as many fires as it puts out.


  6. It's not so much disallow as there's a series of endless problems that for some reason have never arisen with this 2nd blog.

    In case anyone is following this, these comments are in reference to:

    I totally agree with regard to what the Anabaptists have become. Of course there's a wide spectrum when it comes to the Mennonites. Some groups are quite decent, even when considering their legalism. Others are pretty much as bad as the Amish. That said, I like the Amish and always enjoy interacting with them but I can't quite endorse the totality of their thought. And for them yes, the Ordnung is the Gospel, pure and simple. They've created a holy culture, which in and of itself isn't a bad thing, but what they've produced isn't Biblical and smacks of triumphalism. I say that with some trepidation as they certainly have suffered as a result of their testimony but there's precious little light to the outside world. There's the example of ethics, but no proclamation of Christ.

    If I communicated that the Reformation recovered theological purity then I wasn't clear. And I totally agree that you can't distinguish it from the other sociological forces. I've written about that from time to time. The Protestant works on the Reformation focus on the theology and if they focus on the culture it's something of a romanticised victory lap. Secular histories of the Reformation all too often focus on the sociology, with some exceptions of course... and miss the heart of the theology. The Protestant view tends to view the secular as having succumbed to some kind of Marxist historiography. Sometimes that true, and yet even so, there's still some truth to the analysis.

    You're right, the Reformation was a mixed blessing. There was some bad but also a lot of good mixed in. Seeds were planted and the results are mixed.

    That's an interesting point regarding the hard-core and thorough Sacralists vs. the Magisterials. I'll have to ruminate on that. The division might be artificial but it's worth consideration. I'm going to sound like a Baptist here but I view the Reformation as incomplete. The 18th and 19th centuries brought out the best (and the worst) culminations of what it unleashed. The Free Churches and some of the Restorationist movements were good and yet some of the Restorationists were awful and in addition many of the churches succumbed to rationalism etc. and set the stage for our contemporary disaster. The era was also one of nationalism and the Church certainly fell prey to the social forces of the day.
    The Waldensians weren't perfect by any long shot but there's a real story there that's only hinted at in the muddled and largely hostile historical record. I think as glorious as the Reformation was, at the same time something precious was lost, slightly regained in the 19th century and yet still incomplete. I would like to see not a return to the Reformation but a revival of Waldensian/Medieval proto-Protestantism. I plan to write on that more in the near future. Of course I'm only about two years behind on many of the pieces I intend to write. (smile)

    1. Not that empty wishes or dreams mean much, but if I had the money to support your writing career, I would gladly give it!