US Election– Lesson For Thailand?

Several Thai leaders referred to the Obama-McCain hard fought election as a lesson for their own nation in which the electoral victory of the People Power party was not accepted by the People’s Alliance for Democracy. The result has been governmental stalemate, conflict, and violence in the country. Wutthipong Priabchariyawat, director of a Thai think-tank, pointed out that in the United States, “two parties fought hard against each other but they didn’t prolong their competition after the results were announced.” The Thai government which still is attempting to organize itself in some coherent manner, was hopeful that Obama’s election would serve the cause of peace in the region. Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat sent a message to the newly elected American leader; “With your past experience in Southeast Asia, I look forward to seeing the US under your leadership enhance its meaningful role in the region.”

Most leaders in Southeast Asia expect the Obama administration will be less unilateral than that of Bush and more willing to engage in meaningful dialogue and cooperation with nations in the region.