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Thailand’s Coup That Never Was

What is the Thai military up to now? Don't worry, it's not as serious as it sounds.

April 25, 2000

What is the Thai military up to now? Don't worry, it's not as serious as it sounds.

Has all been in vain? The economic crisis is not really over, but still, Thailand has recovered remarkably. But now this: apparently, the military has taken over, yet again. As if this was not enough, they are also planning to move the capital. Cynics might say that was not the worst decision a new military regime could have taken.

Six million people inhabit this chaotic city. In order to ease the traffic, the authorities have installed a new monorail system on concrete pillars. Similarly styled picturesque concrete pillars carry a toll way from which even the famous tuk-tuks are banned. Yet, to get to the toll way, even if it is only a mile away, may take you up to an hour.

Sure enough, the Nigerians moved their capital from Lagos to Abuja, Brazil created Brasilia and Dr. Mahathir blessed Malaysians, at a cost of billions and billions of dollars, with a new administrative capital close to Kuala Lumpur.

So calm down, international investors. George Soros, don’t even think about it. Reads the Financial Times article carefully, and it becomes obvious that all is not lost — and the Thai government is safe.Look closely at the headline. The capitalized “M” in “Military” really gives it all away. It is Thai Military, not the Thai military. Thai Military, it turns out, is the sixth-largest in the Thai kingdom, and it is planning to secure — to move for — new capital by filing for $530 million in government assistance.

The unveiled move for new capital, thus, is no military conspiracy. On the contrary, it is part of a broader move to generate financial capital. The bank’s shares rose by 14% after the plan was announced. The positive vibes might be an encouragement to some other countries, especially those which move to new capitals instead of for new capital.