Realpolitik 101: a conversation with white-collar millennials

Play the game, and you’ll lose. Play outside the game, and you’ll be thrown into prison. Change the game, and you’ll have a chance at winning.

A conversation with a group of 30-something young executives revealed an interesting perspective. These are quintessential urban millennials who either own or work at successful companies. Their viewpoint may reflect many other people in their demographic. Thus it’s worth consideration.

They see that in a clash between two extreme forces, the side that holds the guns and the laws in their hand will always win. For the other side to win is to have more guns, but they do not want an armed uprising that would lead to a civil war.

They say the present constitution is written in such a way that closes all doors to reform. Namely, one-third of senators needed to vote in favor. They say the Prayut Regime has monopolized power to such an extent that it’s impossible to crack. That is if one goes head-to-head in a full-frontal attack. The result would be to crash and burn, as with the banning of Future Forward and its party executives.

They say ideals are wonderful but pointless without results.

They believe the reality is it will take five years for any real reform to be implemented. The power of the 250 senators chosen by General Prayut to select General Prayut as prime minister will still be in play in the next general election. Still, it will be deleted after that, according to the constitution.

But between now and then, they want practical results that would help Thailand.

They recognize the pro-establishment faction will win the next general election due to the constitution and the monopoly of power. But that doesn’t mean General Prayut has to become prime minister. They believe the unfortunate reality is democracy will have to wait because Thailand has been heading down the wrong road for far too long to turn around within a year or two. So let’s, for now, focus on competency.

They fully support the current anti-Prayut Regime campaign to convince the establishment to select a competent, non-military candidate as the prime minister. They believe this is the first step towards changing the game.

For them, other than combatting the COVID-19 pandemic, righting the economic ship is the priority right now. Therefore, get General Prayut and his clique out of power is the first step, for they have proven incompetent.

They suggest the practical strategy is for political parties and political actors, new and old, to join hands. They say these political parties and actors must become the choice between the two “extreme forces” and consolidate the voices of non-hardcore pro-establishment supporters and non-hardcore pro-democracy supporters. They see these voices as the true majority.

Therefore, they see the “third option” as the realistic compromise in this “land of compromise.” Nonetheless, they admit this is far from the reform Thailand needs in the long run. However, they insist, this is the practical step given the reality of Thailand. Then, in five years’ time, the senators’ power will be over, and the election game will be wide open.

What do you think of their perspective?

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