Thaksin scores a point with latest media play
Ex-PM hits back amid lack of proper government strategy
Ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra is the same man we've known for six years.
Since his overthrow by the junta, Thaksin has been scheming up ways to fight back every second of his life.
Thaksin's latest manoeuvre was giving a series interviews on Monday to three international media outlets - CNN, CNBC, and The Wall Street Journal.
He used the media to attack the military-installed government, and the Council for National Security (CNS).
Thaksin criticised some policies of the government as undermining confidence in the Thai economy. He slammed the CNS, saying it had tried to point a finger at him for the New Year's Eve bombs.
His interviews can be seen as his way of hitting back against the CNS, who last week ordered the local broadcast media to cease airing views defending Thaksin and the Thai Rak Thai Party.
The order was widely criticised and the CNS's popularity took a dip.
And Thaksin has again counter-attacked. When his stories were banned on Thai airwaves he opted to take his complaints to the world media, which had more of an impact on international perceptions of the situation in Thailand.
Throughout his life, Thaksin has shown he is a man who revels in an attack or counter-attack.
In comparison, the CNS seems rarely on the offensive.
CNS moves appear to suit the former PM, for the present.
The Thai Foreign Ministry revoked his passport recently in bid to curb his foreign trips as the CNS considered his globe-trotting a nuisance in regard to national unity.
But even with his diplomatic passport, Thaksin can still travel anywhere he wants.
The most infuriated thing for Surayud Chulanont's government and the CNS was a meeting between Thaksin and Singapore's deputy premier S Jayakumar in Singapore last week, shortly after Thaksin's diplomatic passport was revoked.
Thaksin's bonhomie with the powers in Singapore is a slap on the face of the Thai government.
The meeting rocked diplomatic ties with the city state, with Thailand reacting yesterday by cancelling an invitation to Singapore's Foreign Minister George Yeo.
It also suspended a civil exchange programme with Singapore and cancelled a meeting about the programme that was to be held later this month.
Four months after the coup Thaksin has spent unprecedented time travelling around the world from London to the United States and to Asia. He also used those countries as a base to attack the government and the CNS or plead for sympathy from Thais.
Despite taking recourse to some strong measures to deal with Thaksin, the CNS was always trapped in his game. Thaksin is an opportunist who can turn a crisis into an opportunity and for the moment the junta seems to be on the receiving end.
Thaksin seized the opportunity when the government and the CNS found their popularity plunging after the New Year's Eve bombs, plus unpopular policy shifts in regard to capital controls, foreign business law, the ban on Thai media. But, most important, perhaps, has been the Council's poor strategy to close the door on Thaksin's legacy.
The CNS and the government have been criticised widely that they have had trouble controlling just one man. And it has looked like they had no strategy to handle things after the coup. The country and moves to deal with Thaksin appear to have been managed on a day-by-day basis.
Finally, the CNS seems to have woken up to criticism and is adjusting its strategy. The coup leaders recently set up a "war room", to try to stay one step ahead of their foe. But it won't be the "final solution".
The CNS should rather accelerate the process of investigation into corruption scandals that occurred under the former regime.
One area where the CNS holds an upper hand is the widespread belief among the public that Thaksin was involved in many scandals. Many are also sceptical that the former premier told the truth when he said he would quit politics with his "Enough is enough" comment.