Usually coups in Thailand are non events. Some corrupt old guys replacing other corrupt old guys and someone leaves the country with fortune intact. I know I've been in Thailand for one coup, in around 1990 or 91, I might have been there for another but I'm not sure, that's how big a deal they are.
People who are supposed to know say this one's different. The military has acted swiftly dissolving both legislative houses and purging the senior officers of the civilian police force as well as all government ministries. They call in people to talk to and if you don't show they freeze your bank and all other assets. The maximum penalty is unlimited jail time. Remember, there are no courts, just the army. Besides government officials they are calling in many journalists, philosophers, historians, college professors, etc. Anyone who could possibly be a problem.
In what would seem an overreaction the US State Department said,
The U.S. Department of State recommends that U.S. citizens reconsider any non-essential travel to Thailand, particularly Bangkok, due to ongoing political and social unrest and restrictions on internal movements, including an indefinite nighttime curfew throughout Thailand. The Department of State has advised official U.S. government travelers to defer all non-essential travel to Thailand until further notice. This Travel Alert supersedes the Travel Alert issued on May 16, 2014, and will expire on August 21, 2014.http://travel.state.gov/...
I mean people are still flying in, going to full moon parties or Pataya or whatever it is they are going there for and carrying on as always.
Then again the US can probably listen in on every single message the Thai military sends to each other. They've been our best buds in letting us take people there to torture, ahem, I mean enhance their interrogations, at black sites and what not. We did just cancel every military joint exercise though.
I think why people are pessimistic this time is because they don't see any good outcome. The Army knows that there is no way they can win any elections and a lot of the military is probably somewhat sympathetic anyway. The only good outcome for the Army is if they set up a military dictatorship with a puppet prime minister and rubber stamp assembly, but that just is impossible democratically. I'd think there would have to be a lot of violence to get the population to put up with such a dictatorship. Plus there is a years long Muslim insurgency simmering in the south. I just can't see the endgame.
Al Jazeera as in many things seems to have some of the best coverage. I read Thomas Fuller of the NYT too. Also Bangkok Pundit the blogger.
I'm finally leaving to go camping if the kids are over their bug kids get, and I might not be on here long.
Good Luck Thailand