"In war there are no winners, only losers" is how the old saying goes, but I've never believed this to be true. There are winners, usually the rich,powerful leaders who can be sure they have lost no loved ones in the horror that preceded the victory.
But if the ongoing conflict in Thailand can be called a war, then it is truly perplexing to anyone searching for a victor.
Thaksin is certainly no better off after the week of violence. His appearance on Sky News was bizarre, reports state the ex-PM seemed rambling and disoriented, most likely due to a lack of sleep. The "revolution" called for by Thaksin has not materialised. In its place is a self-imposed exile without a passport. Thaksin may be able to get by with a passport from another country or simply by relying on his fortune to "solve" problems at the border but its a risky ploy. Any country seen to assist Thaksin too much will create a lot of problems with equally powerful people Thailand and not every immigration border is corrupt.One can only wonder how Thaksin's family feel about being forced to flee the motherland, too.
Aphisit has fared little better. From the start, international media have question just how in control the young leader has been, and the decisive action demanded by non-reds was slow in coming, so slow that the forced cancellation of ASEAN was a massive loss of face for the leadership, regardless of the sympathetic noises made by other national leaders. Equally damaging was the sudden appearance of 'blue shirt' thugs, that just happened to materialise around eh same time Newin Chidchob appeared in Pattaya.
The red-shirts themselves failed to achieve their objective and feel victim to public disapproval as cameras caught what can only be described as terrorist figures torching stolen buses.
The Thai police, yet again, seemed to stand around, equipped with expensive looking riot gear and police vans, looking utterly useless.
The PAD made angry noises yet stayed on the sidelines, quite possibly after some pleading by other players in the gate.
The Thai courts took remarkably decisive action against UDD leaders hats served only to highlight their lack of similar action against those who sieged Bangkok Airport for days.
Yet perhaps the greatest irony of all is that the only unit to emerge with any credit or public appreciation is the military. After bungled operations elsewhere, the clearance of Bangkok was handled reasonably well and came with thanks from any members of the public.
One can only imagine how people would feel about the military if they had not staged the coup that triggered this whole domino sequence in the first place.
The popular attitude towards the DAAD and PAD amongst the Thai public seems to be "They're as bad as each other" which I find to be a somewhat lazy supposition. The DAAD have generally not resorted to the violence adopted by the PAD. The torching of buses was clearly the action by a renegade few and the inconvenience to the public actually came with an apology and a clear - and viable explanation - that it was short term suffering for a brighter future.
And some may feel this is true. Those with Thai children can make a simple analysis - imagine the PAD win the struggle; how will Thailand be in thirty year's time? Will your children be better off? Now imagine if the DAAD win their objectives; would Thailand be ore democratically stable twenty years down the line? I believe it would.
Anyone who thinks I support or like Thaksin clearly has not read much of my previous work. Thaksin is interested only in his frozen assets and would be a dangerous man to have as PM, this is why it is crucial the red shirt faction grow to something bigger and more visionary than the return of Thaksin. They must expand to a true movement of people who wan a c lean democracy without interference, they must achieve this by weight of numbers and not weight of violence or burned buses. No other method can achieve a better future.