Thailand: Will It Be Civil War?





For months, the Western and Asian punditry alike have brooded over the threat of a Thai civil war.

Outside of academic circles and op-ed pages, however, this scenario has been largely regarded as hysterical. The silliness seemed to peak last month when charitable groups attempted showings of "Hotel Rwanda" in Bangkok on huge outdoor screens -- a cautionary tale for Thais consumed with class hatred.

But now, the Thai capital looks, smells, and sounds like war. Rifle fire crackles throughout the day. On back alleys, protesters vowing to end the "rule of elites" concoct molotov cocktails from spent bottles of Red Bull.

As I write this, pyres demarcating nighttime conflict zones light up glass skyscrapers with a hellish glow. And for the second consecutive night, explosions rumble outside my balcony's sliding glass door.

Bangkok is 10 weeks and more than 60 deaths into a stand-off between the military-backed government and a faction of self-proclaimed "commoners" -- the Red Shirts -- that insists the ruling party must fall....


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