The US drone strike in Iraq that reportedly killed Iranian major general Soleimani may be the foreshadowing of the end of international diplomacy as we know it, but Thailand’s Minister of Foreign Affairs bragging about knowledge of the drone strike beforehand to the press is, well, just sad, and nothing new to Thailand’s current cabinet. Remember Pravit’s comments on the Phuket boat tragedy? Or the PM’s countless verbal mishaps?
Gossiping and boasting about having sensitive and secretive information has long been a go-to for the big mouth with the need to bolster one’s self esteem, or a self-repair attempt of one’s sense of relevance in drunken conversations in the bar. However, when a career diplomat and the minister of foreign affairs does it, it is like opening a Pandora’s box scale can of worms.
Don Pramudwinai disclosed to the press after a cabinet meeting that the US had given Thailand a heads up a day prior to the drone strike near Baghdad international airport which killed Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Major General and Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani along with nine other passengers in the convoy of two vehicles leaving the airport. Among the casualties was Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces deputy chairman Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.
Shortly after the foreign minister’s disclosure of prior knowledge about the drone strike, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman and director general to the Department of Information, Miss Busadee Santipitaks came out to deny Mr. Don’s claim that Thai authorities had any prior information about the drone strike. According to the Bangkokpost, the ministry spokeswoman said: “The FM was misinformed”.
The implications of the US drone strike are surely to be massive international political beasts that will wreak havoc on internationally, especially within the oil, and currency exchange markets. Trump’s justification for the drone strike as being a preemptive strike to stop an imminent attack on US personnel may very well be inferred as a paradigm shift in diplomatic conventions. Assassination diplomacy?
Meanwhile, the domestic implications of Mr. Don’s bragging or misinformed slip in front of the Thai public are small pests that will probably soon be forgotten, like the all so many slips and mishaps by the status quo elites of Siam: “Oh, I accidentally drove too fast and killed a bunch of people in a van, OMG”, or “I didn’t shoot the black panther”, and “It was the Chinese’s own fault for not listening”, and lest we forget “…for the good of the nation, and the people. (Full stop)”.
The opportunistic jabs, bandwagon, and spotlight-grabbing at Mr. Don’s expense is nothing new here in the land of smiles, heck, anything new seems to be a threat in good ol Siam where the past and cultural relics beats down the corpse of anything relevant to a new future with clubs, or chairs. The level of impunity for the big people here can be envied by any dictatorship, authoritarian, or totalitarian state in the world.
As for any backlash by our Muslim neighbors like Malaysia, or Indonesia, and even by Thai Muslims, no worries! They’re almost all Sunnis. So what if the Thai foreign minister said something about knowing of an assassination of a major Shiite hero. The domestic and regional bubble of ignorance most likely will keep Mr. Don safe, just like last time in the case of the shareholding scandal.
On the international scale, however, it’s “Pfft! Don’t tell the Thais anything you want to keep a secret!”.