Published on December 26, 2007
"Before the 2006 coup, they also said there would not be a coup," he said.
"As long as the army leaders think they themselves are equal to the national interest, a coup can still occur at any time."
Surachart said the only permanent deterrent to any future coups and military intervention in politics would be to make people stop thinking that a coup can ever be a solution and to restructure the relationship between the military and civilian governments.
"People should stop thinking the military are like plumbers who will fix a clogged political pipe," he said, adding that the key is for the public to be patient and strong enough to allow a political crisis to sort itself out without resorting to a coup.
He said such a mentality was too convenient, like preparing instant noodles by merely adding hot water, which will not produce a really nutritious meal.
"Let's cook our own food without having to rely on the military. If we can't do this, Thai democracy can never mature, as we will have to start all over again after the next coup. If some say society was divided before the coup, then it was even more so after it. A coup d'etat is not the final solution for Thai politics. The economy cannot be driven through a coup.
"And the repercussion of the coup is clear. We all became poorer," he said, referring to economic growth, which has fallen behind even countries like Bangladesh over the past year since the coup.
Surachart thinks the just-approved Internal Security Act (ISA) by the National Legislative Assembly will usher an even greater military role into politics. "It will bring the military institution directly into politics. We must admit that the by-product of the 2006 coup is far-reaching. The military is becoming a state within a state through the Act.
"The ISA will institutionalise the military power and enable it to become a permanent fixture in Thai politics. I would like to urge whoever leads the new government to abolish it. We must be alert and ask what kind of problems occurred in Malaysia through the use of such law."