A Tale To Tell & Remember

I'm very much inspired by the words of Thomas L. Friedman in his book "The World Is Flat" which renders about the influence of bloggers in this new age. I want to keep the highest integrity and honesty in posting my words to the world. This blog act as a testimony to my alacrity of sharing information with the borderless world. Hope we can share a high regards of veracity and chivalry with this blog because that's why it is here. So help me God!

Visit Malaysia

Visit Malaysia
Malaysia Truly Asia

Sunday, 25 November 2007

I'm taking a long break to take a chance on love

Here I go again, taking a chance on love
25th November 2007 - I'm taking a long break to see my love ones. Yes indeed, I love them so much, and I'll be there on the 1st December 2007. This long break is for the pure of my loving feeling for a family which I could call as my own. I'll be there makcik! And I love you all so much. So help me God!

Here I go again
I hear those trumpets blow again
All aglow again
Taking a chance on love

Here I slide again
About to take that ride again
Starry eyed again
Taking a chance on love

I thought that cards were a frame-up
I never would try
Now I'm taking that game up
And the ace of hearts is high

Things are mending now
I see a rainbow blending now
We'll have a happy ending now
Taking a chance on love

Here I slip again
About to take that trip again
I got that grip again
Taking a chance on love

Now I prove again
That I can make life move again
I'm in a grove again
Taking a chance on love

I walk around with a horseshoe
In clover I lie
And brother rabbit of course you
Better kiss your foot good-bye

On that ball again
I'm riding for a fall again
I'm gonna give my all again
Taking a chance on love

P/s: Frank Sinatra - Taking A Chance on Love!

Re-visiting the old memories of Johore Bharu

Ah! That guy borrowed my scooter... heh!~

A glimpse of Singapore

Faiz - nephew

Me with the Napoleon pose

Lets see whats The Zone has to offer

Lets check out the JB City Square

Shopping at Danga Bay

Danga Bay trishaw

Faiz and the Singapore view

Me in JB

Me at JB Mosque

JB Mosque

Splendidly beautiful and classic

To be honest, I don't know what that is

Magnificent building - Ibrahim

A view of Singapore

Lets rilex for a while

Faiz and me

Me and Faiz - in front of Ibrahim building


Classic right?

Faiz and me


JB view

JB View
JB view

Monday, 12 November 2007

An analysis of an internal contradiction and an external threat of Thailand

By: Ahmad Syah Ejaz Bin Hj Ismail

Note: This paper is presented to Dato’ Ahmad Mokhtar Selat, my lecturer for my coursework assignment of Internal Security in the first semester at University Malaya, Malaysia.

1. An Overview of Thailand – History, Economy and Social Diversity

Thailand or Siam is perhaps one of the most distinctive kingdoms located at the heart of Southeast Asia region mostly known with its beautiful peoples, distinctive culture and vast landscape with its mythical history and culture. Thailand is no doubt one of the most promising countries in Southeast Asia with its booming GDP at almost 6% per year. Its geo-strategic locations surrounded by the Third World Nations and new independent states had created an unmatched opportunity for it to exploit on the “blue ocean” resources. To the east of Thailand, lies Cambodia, its North is Laos, its South is Malaysia and to its West are the Andaman Sea and the hermit Kingdom of Myanmar. Populations of Thailand is around 62 millions and the largest city of Thailand is Bangkok which also is it capital city locating the administrative capital its Monarchy palace.

Thailand history and customs had greatly been influenced its neighbour especially India and China. Many of its peoples were direct descendents of Southern China descents which escaped the oppression of the warlord’s regime of the Yunnan high mound. Thailand which was known as Siam at its early civilizations had been waging wars with its neighbouring states. The first Thai Kingdom or Siamese state was traditionally considered to be the Buddhist Kingdom of Sukhothai, which was founded in 1238, following the decline and fall of the Khmer empire in the 13th - 15th Century AD.

It was changed (the capital) in the mid 14th Century which was Sukhothai to Ayutthaya. After the sack of Angkor by the Siamese armies in 1431, much of the Khmer culture and customs were brought up to Ayutthaya Kingdom. After Ayutthaya fall in 1767 to the Burmese, Thornburi was selected as the capital of Thailand for the brief period of time under King Taksin the Great. Then the city capital was again transferred to Bangkok by the Chakri dynasty under King Rama I the Great in 1782 where the first modern state of Thailand can be traced.

Thailand was never conquered by foreign power even though there were many efforts embarked to capitalize on the richness of Thailand and the promising land. Most of the effort was took by the European super powers such as France in the 16th Century, continued pursued by British and again France in the 19th Century and also to an extent Germany with it coveting the Gulf of Siam and its potential resources. Until the early 20th Century when France and Britain signed a pact to retain Thailand as the buffer states for the British colonies located at the South and French colony located at the East of Thailand (Cambodia and Vietnam).

One of the most frequent traits in Thailand’s political customs is that it was marred by its military power and endless military coup since 1932. Since the overthrow of the absolute monarchy in 1932, Thailand has had 17 constitutions and charters moulded. Even though Thailand has never been in total turmoil due to its coup, such political instability had created a malaise in the Thailand’s economy and protracted the much needed foreign direct investment in the modern day. Recently in 1997, Thailand was hit with the Asian financial crisis and its economy was frozen for a duration of time until it was put back again on track in 2003.

Thailand is newly industrialised countries where the main exports products are includes rice, textiles and footwear, fishery products, rubber, jewellery, automobiles, computers and electrical appliances. Substantial industries included electric appliances, components, computer parts and automobiles, while tourism contributes about 5% of the Thai economy’s GDP. Long stay foreign residents and their business investments also contribute heavily to GDP.

In the globalize world, Thailand is catching up by offering its low labour cost and vast land for high capital intensive agriculture industry. No wonder, many of the world’s car manufacturers had installed their car factories in Thailand due to its strategic locations for distributions in Southeast Asia.

2. Thailand internal contradictions

2.1 Thailand’s military apparatus

Thailand’s political history from 1932 to 2007 was dominated by the military dictatorship which was in power for much of the period. The first junta military government came to power in the bloodless Siamese coup d’etat of 1932, which transformed the government of Thailand from an absolute to a constitutional monarchy. The reason for the coup is to instil a democratic government through the intervention of militaristic power and the new regime of 1932 was led by a group of army colonels. The coup was launched after seeing the unbalanced of the wealth distribution especially top government post were held by monarch family at that time lead by King Prajadhipok.

The main objective of the first junta military government was to draft a new economic plan for the nations. Headed by young civilian faction led by Pridi Phanomyong, he called for the nationalisation of large tracts of farmland as well as rapid government-directed industrialisation. It also called for the growth of higher education so that entry into the bureaucracy would not be completely dominated by royalty and the aristocracy. Apart from that, in 1938 he began to pursuit the idea of demagogic campaign against the Chinese business class. Chinese schools and newspapers were closed, and taxes on the Chinese businesses were increased. Phibun copied the ideological techniques used by Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini to build up the cult of the leader.

Modernisation and patriotism was taught in schools and was a recurrent theme in song and dance. Phibun work rigorously to rid society of its royalist influences where traditional royal holidays were replaced by new national events. Thailand customs and modern cultures are brought up by Thai’s military approach where the pursuits of a civil idea where wealth distribution is not only confined to the aristocrats as during the King Prajadhipok reign but for the people as a whole.

Ever since the 1932 coup, Thai’s junta military had played a major role in building the modern Thailand. Even though sometimes the relationship between the royal family and the military junta looks strained, but such shared relationship had created a status quo of unbreakable doctrine where militaristic approach is needed in resolving a deadlock issues either it be politically or economically. Till this day, if there are a dissatisfaction among the Thai’s on the government decision in Bangkok affecting their lives, Thais will back up a network monarchy (monarch and military apparatus) in launching coup de’etat replacing the elected government in Bangkok.

Thailand has never been short on its military generals with a lust to rule. Sine 1932, when a faction of army officers and politicians overthrew the last absolute monarch, the kingdom had suffered 18 coups. Thailand recent political turmoil came when General Sonthi Boonyaratglin launched a coup against Thaksin Shinawatra’s government after dissatisfaction arises against Thaksin’s regime on his methods of solving crises occurred in Southern Thailand. Even though not a shot was fired during the country’s 18 coup in 74 years, to some critics it (the coup) was a setback for democracy believers such critics like John Howard mentioned “a throwback to a past I hoped Asia had emerged from”.

According to Bridget Welsh, Thailand’s current crisis reflects another weakness in democracies in the region. Where the political parties that revolve around individuals rather than issues or ideologies. Democracy is more than a popularity contest in Thailand where it requires meaningful representation. Even for some critics that the coup launched by Generanl Sonthi Boonyaratglin has been effectively endorsed by the country’s most beloved monarch, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, and it’s popular with the people of Bangkok, most who wanted Thaksin out, but it stains Thailand’s young democracy, emboldens authoritarian regimes in Asia and demoralizes Asian fighting for freedom elsewhere in the region.

According to Andrew Marshall, Burmese generals will celebrate the Thailand's military takeover, and the months of the political deadlock that preceded it, because it proves what they’ve insisted all along that democracies don’t work and civilians can’t run countries. According to critics, Thai’s coup will bolster Burmese general’s arguments to remain authoritarian. The military junta administration in Thailand will only send a stark message that Asian democracies are immature and fragile, with its political systems incapable of guaranteeing smooth and legitimate transfers of power. Even if General Sonthi keeps his promise and returns power to civilian hands by holding an election after a year of the coup and the new constitutions is drafted, the damage already is done. Thai’s coup according to critics will embolden antidemocratic forces across the region.

2.2 Thailand’s monarch and the Privy Council (Network Monarchy)

Thailand unique political structure also consists of its Privy Council which is an apparatus consists of aristocrats and former army military commander. It is also known by the Thais as Network Monarchy. The Privy Council is the royally-appointed group of advisors of the King of Thailand. Members of Privy Council are known as Privy Councillors. Privy Councillors can, under the royal command, represent the King at the official functions. The Presidents of the Privy Council acts as regent pro tempore in the King’s absence holding such power as the number two man after the King and shadowing the Prime Minister’s post.

King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s Privy Council as of 2005 was composed mostly of retired military leaders and members of the royal family. The Privy Council can be seen as an arm of monarch’s power in meddling into administrations of elected government. According to section 12, Chapter II of the Thailand’s constitutions, the King selects and appoints qualified persons to be the Presidents of the Privy Council and not more than eighteen Privy Councillors to constitute the Privy Council. The Privy Council has a duty to resolve such advice to the King on all matters pertaining to his functions as he may consult, and has other duties as provided in this constitution.

Section 15 of the Thailand’s constitutions stated that before taking office, a Privy Councillor shall make a solemn declaration before the King in the following words “I (name of the declarer), do solemnly declare that I will be loyal to His majesty the King and will faithfully perform my duties in the interest of the country and of the people. According to Section 14, the Privy Councillor is a permanent position or receiving salary. Unlike in the West, where checks and balances on the abuse of the power exists within the democratic systems, the corrective measures/ mechanism in Thai’s government has tended to come from outside, usually through military intervention back up by Thai’s monarch. Refereeing this tug of war between the officials and officers in the country’s beloved 78 years old constitution monarch King Bhumibol Adulyadej, whose every whisper is dissected for political meaning and carries the weight of divine mandate. Mostly his decision and interventionist mechanism will be drafted and shadowed by the Privy Council.

This can be explained during the 19 September 2006 coup where King Bhumibol Adulyadej make himself clear endorsing the new military junta and asking the Thais to obey their orders. The night of the coup, Sonthi had already signalled his loyalty to the King by arming his soldiers with yellow ribbons, which is the colour associated with the monarch that were tied around the muzzles of their rifles.

Such fealty to the King contrasted with mounting criticism in recent months that Thaksin had burnished his reputation at the monarch’s expense. Thaksin’s once complained that “a charismatic figure”, widely interpreted to be either the King or his top adviser Prem Tinsulanod (Privy Council’s presidents) was trying to force him out of office.

On the issues of settling disputes in Southern Thailand, the question arises why did violence flare up in Thailand’s deep-south early in 2004? Though not a complete explanation, one important answer is that Thaksin Shinawatra had chosen the region as the battle ground for his fight to wrest control of Thailand from the palace, the Privy Council, or the network monarchy.

Before the coup was launched in September 2006, there were persistent rumours in Bangkok that the former army commander (and Privy Councillor) Surayud Chulanot was planning to stage a military coup, with tacit approval from the palace, aimed at ousting Thaksin. While there was no evidence to support the coup rumour, it indicated the desire felt by some Thais for a re-assertion of network monarchy.

2.3 Thailand’s economic problems

Thailand’s entered a recovery state in 1999 after was marred by the tumultuous 1997 financial crisis, expanding its GDP at the scale of 4.2% and 4.4% in 2000. This was largely contributed by its strong exports products which increased about 10% in the year 2000. Growth was picked up after the year 2000, due to various domestic stimulation programmes of Thaksin Shinawatra’s popularly known as Thaksinomics. Growth in the year 2002, 2003 and 2004 was 5.7% annually. Much of the internal contradiction which occurred in Thailand came from the internal economic problems. For an example the problems in Southern Thailand is be inherent from the unequal wealth distribution. The internal economic contradictions will contributes to Thailand’s domestic issues such as terrorism, arms trafficking, drug trafficking, prostitutions and economic instability.

A survey was conducted in nine districts of the three southern provinces identifies various problems that local Muslim populations faced in the state of Pattani which contributes to the internal conflict between the Buddhist Thais and the Malays Muslims. The problems include poverty, unemployment, and lack of education, substandard infrastructure, inadequate supplies of land and capital, low quality of living standards and other economic related problems. Much of the governmental post such as enforcement agencies (military and police) was held by Buddhist Thais which came from the Menam Chao Phraya valley and not from the Southern state itself. This contributes to the frustration feelings of the rural poor Malay Muslim living in the state of Pattani.

An attempts to implement a variety of programs of socio-economic growth and development seem to have made much improvement at the macro-level and in service and public sectors, but this has not translated into much needed jobs nor substantially improved standards of living for the great majority of the Muslim populations especially in the South area. Thaksinomic’s was implemented solely at the Northern area of Thailand where most of the populations were Buddhist Thais and the Southern citizens were completely abandoned by the economic policy of Thaksin Shinawatra.

On the issues of reforming Thailand’s traditional economic structures of farming and businesses, there are attempts by rural residents of not welcoming the traditional ways of farming. There was a clash, at least in theory, between those who want to reject foreign influences in favour of a traditional Thai ways of doing things and those who want to make basic changes in ways of the Thais. During Thaksinomic’s, government subsidies were reduced and the participation of MNC’s in supplying rural farmers with tools and manure were encouraged and at the same time providing wider markets for the agriculture products to be sold. This revolutionary method of farming had siphoned the International Capital in developing rural Thailand especially at the Northern area.

There are efforts by Thaksin Shinawatra’s government in wiping out factionalism or patronage system in Thailand thus contributing a conflict with the Network Monarchy of King Bhumibhol Adulyadej. Unlike Thailand, states such as Malaysia which had reverted to nationalistic rhetoric instead of embracing the global economy were not getting much FDI’s and were moving backwards at the arising power of small labour nations such as Thailand, Vietnam and China. Thailand moved quickly from labour intensive to capital intensive industries and is now heading into technological based industries. The attitude of states citizens is another dimension of change in Thailand’s economy, where people are moving from a feudal, introverted, and autocratic and very hierarchical society to a considerable extent it still is all this things, but it is changing to become far more inclusive.

Bangkok and its environs are the most prosperous parts of Thailand, and heavily dominate the national economy, while the infertile Northeast regions of Thailand (the poorest) were left out of the previous government economic policy. The strong focus of the incumbent Prime Minister Thaksin at that time was to reduce these regional income differentials, which have been exacerbated by the rapid economic growth in and around Bangkok and the recuperation of the 1997 financial crisis.

Although the economy has demonstrated moderate positive growth since 1999, future performance depends on the continue reform of the financial sector, corporate debt restructuring, attracting foreign investment and increasing exports. Telecommunications, roadways, electricity generation, and ports showed increasing strain during the period of sustained economic growth and may pose future challenges to Thailand. Thailand’s growing shortage of engineers and skilled technical personal may limit its future technological creativity and productivity which the future government have to tackle if it wants to move forward.

2.4 Thailand’s on regionalism contradictions

Thailand’s population is dominated by the various Thais speaking peoples. Among these, the most numerous are the Central Thais, the North eastern Thai or Isan or Lao, the Northern Thai and the Southern Thais. The Central Thai have long dominated the nation politically, economically, and culturally, even though they make up only about one-third of Thailand’s population and are slightly outnumbered by the North eastern Thais. No wonder much of the previous wealth and government sponsored economic development were siphoned to these area.

Due to educational systems and the forging of the national identity early 1930s, many people are now able to speak Central Thai (linguistic Tai) as well as their own local dialects. In 1929, when Phibun came to power, he changed the country’s name from Siam to Pathet Thai or Thailand, meaning “land of the free”. This was a national gesture as it implied the unity of all the Thai-speaking peoples, including Lao and Shan, but excluding the Chinese. The regimes slogan became “Thailand for the Thais”.

In the North eastern region of Thailand, there are many Vietnamese refuges settled in the regions after the end of the Vietnam War. While the Northerners Thai’s are descendent from Lao or Laos known as Isan (ethnic Lao). Most of them settled after Laos’s Civil War (1950s – 1975). The largest group of non-Thais people are the Chinese who have historically played a disproportionately significant role in the Thailand’s economy. Most of them integrated completely in the North-eastern region.

According to the last census conducted in 2000, 95% of the Thais are Buddhist of the Theravadas Buddhism tradition. Muslim is the second largest group in Thailand at 4.6% of its total populations. Some provinces and towns south of Chumplon have been dominated by the Muslim populations, and complemented by various ethnic Thais. Often Muslim lives in the separate communities from the non-Muslim. The Southern tip of Thailand, concentrated by mostly of the ethnic Malays and they form a strong majority in three provinces (Narathiwat, Yala and Pattani).

Most of the internal conflicts which threatening Thailand’s economic progress and nation’s development occurred in Thailand’s Southern region. Southern problems had created such instability to Thailand since the political environment and are the major factors contributing to the September 2006 coup launched by General Soonthi Boonyaratglin. The sub region which includes the three provinces of the Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat was only incorporated into Siam in 1909, and roughly 80% of its populations of around 1.8 millions are Malay Muslims. Political and administrative power however remains firmly in the hands of a de facto Buddhist state which precipitates discontents among the majority of the Malay Muslim.

The Southern conflict is not simply about the South per se. The “luminal zone” of the border provinces has been thrust to the very centre of Thailand’s national politics, in this sense, “the periphery has come to town”. To an extent, it wasn’t only incorporate about Thai’s political instability brought by the Southern Thai conflicts which is now becoming a struggle of ideas derived from the radical readings of Islam. The Southern problems also is a testament of how fragile the democratic government in fighting feudal influence of Thailand’s long monarch.

2.5 Thailand’s struggle for civil society

The South is the principal site for Thaksin’s attempts to wrest control of Thailand from the old power networks that dominate the country prior to 2001. Plus the South also considered by the ruling government as usually combustible, highly sensitive, and had developed a distinctive and precarious set of accommodations. Those elected must solve the conflicts arises at the South to legitimate their ruling mandates either by the public votes or King consents.

Closely related to these political issues were competition for power and resources among the various government agencies responsible for security in the South. This is not to suggest that a divisive control of the lucrative smuggling trade which motivated Thaksin to intervene in the Southern conflict. In rather be, this trade supported a set of political arrangements that Thaksin found intolerable and with good reason.

Thaksin Shinawatra has sought to lead (or perhaps to manage) Thailand’s internal contradictions and Network Monarchy and its historical monarch power very differently from his predecessor. One essential difference relates to the extra constitutional role of the monarchy. The dominant mode of governance used in Thailand since 1980 may best be termed monarchical network governance, or network monarchy. Since his success in helping to out the Thanom-Praphas regime, Thailand’s King Bhumipol has been far more than a conventional constitutional monarch. Rather, he has sought to institutionalize a range of extra-constitutional political powers. Occasionally, he makes open, personal interventions in the political process. The most well-known example was following the violent demonstrations of May 1992, when he called in Prime Minister Suchinda Kraprayoon and protest leader Chamlong Srimuang for a public, televised dressing down.

In 2005 and prior to the 2006 coup the monarchy operates through proxies, led by former prime minister, and Privy Council president Prem Tinsulanod, dubbed by Chai-Anan Samudavanija Thailand’s “surrogate strongman”. Prem exerted considerable control over military and bureaucratic appointments, and intervened in the formation of government coalitions in 1994 and 1997. During the 1990s, Prem worked through a series of weak coalition governments to help preserve royal prerogatives and influences. It seems highly possible that Prem helped Thaksin escape conviction by the Constitutional Court in August 2001, when he faced charges of assets declaration violations. As incumbent prime minister at that time, Thaksin’s aim was to displace network monarchy, and to replace it with a much more centralized form of political control. The crisis in the South that began in 2004 was simply the most blatant manifestation of this political project.

The national level tensions between the competing network of Thaksin and the palace provided a context and background for the renewed Southern violence, creating a space in which other forces could emerge and operate. The South had come to symbolize all the problems faced by Thaksin and his government, and all the deficiencies of his authoritarian mode of leadership. “The South” was no longer about the South, but it was about the legitimacy of the Thaksin’s government, and of the Thai state itself.

3. Thailand’s external threats

Thailand contradiction also can come from its external threat of the neighbouring countries to an extent Thailand’s economic policy and domestic issues is too certain was influenced by its external threat of the neighbouring countries. Such threat can come in two forms, either it be at the perceptions level or the reality stage.

3.1 Vietnam

During the Vietnam War 1961-1975, Thailand was used as an important element in the Pentagon’s “forward positioning” strategy. USAF deployed a combat aircrafts to Thailand during the conflict and many of the US Airmen were stationed in Thailand rather than South Vietnam. But the level of operation was dubbed as clandestine by the Thai’s government to an extent no pictures can be taken by the public except by the Military personnel for documentations.

The involvement of Thailand’s junta military into Vietnam War during that time had boom the nation’s economic prosperity to an unprecedented stage where critics claimed that this is the first time globalization had reached Vietnam. The presence of the U.S. Army had brought the Thailand’s economy to prosperity and also precipitates the sex trade industry and tourism industry of an American personal which was stationed in Vietnam. The effects lingers after the war which those who served in Vietnam during the war came back and told its friends in United States about Thailand’s tourist attractions. There are arguments also that arms trafficking also was rampant after the Vietnam War due to the influx of U.S. weapons cache, but this arguments much still need to be proved.

The “Domino Theory” where Communism prevails in Southeast Asia also put Thailand in full alert during the War. If the Vietnamese Communist soldiers came marching in into Thailand, the Southeast Asia Free State shall send their soldiers to fight war at the Menam Chao Phraya Valley rather than their own soil. That is why Thai’s government allowed the U.S. presence in Thailand’s North eastern regions.

North-eastern region of Thailand housed a community of a Vietnamese mixed in with the Chinese throughout the country. Some of the Vietnamese wanted to move to Communist North Vietnam, but they were not necessarily Communist sympathizers. Indeed, attempts by North Vietnamese Communist to organize the Vietnamese in Thailand were dealt strongly by the Thai government.

3.2 Laos

Laos is once a former region of Thailand’s located at the Northern area. It was secedes to French colonizers in the 1893 to avoid war with the French which at that time residing at the French Indochina and ever since there are arguments saying that Laos is belong to Thailand. Laos had been embroiled in its Civil war throughout 1950’s and by the early 1960’s the conflict was threatening to spread into Thailand. Major fighting broke out in December 1960 and spread far enough to cause casualties among Thai civilians living along the Mekong River.

Thailand was a constitutional monarchy and traditionally maintained pro-western stance in foreign affairs. The fighting in Laos was of great concern to the Thai government and feared if Laos would fall to the Communist, “Domino Theory” would place the entire region, including Thailand in jeopardy. In 1968, the North Vietnamese Army launched a multi-division attack against the Royal Lao Army. The attack resulted in the army largely demobilizing and leaving the conflict to irregular forces raised by the United States and Thailand.

3.3 Cambodia

Cambodia is a state located at the East of Thailand. Historically, Khmers people of Cambodia had been waging numerous wars with Siam. Khmer culture had influenced Siam greatly, to an extent small issues such as the construction of Angkor Watt can precipitate riots. Much to the interconnection between Thailand and Cambodia, Angkor Watt was sacked by the Thais and completely abandoned after the war in the 14th Century. The Mekong River which goes through Cambodia also contributes much to the political stability of Thailand. The Mekong was the frontline between the emergent states of Siam and Tonkin (North Vietnam). After the Vietnam War, the tensions between the U.S.-backed Thai government and the new Communist governments in the other countries prevented cooperation on use of the river.

During the Khmer Rouge regime which came into power in 1973, the conflicts had contributes to the influx of Cambodian refugees to Thailand, and created a strain of the relationship between two countries. The Thai’s military was put on full alert when the Vietnamese army attacked Cambodia, fearing the Domino Theory.

3.4 Burma

Burma, the hermit Kingdom of South East Asian. Neighbouring Thailand to its West border, Burma had a long history reservation with the Thais. Burma will always be considered as a threat to Thailand no matter when. There were numerous wars which had been fought between the two countries. So much so that Thai’s and Burmese hated each other, but critics claimed with the recent September 2006 Thailand’s military coup, Burmese junta military had an excuse in not to embrace democracy and considered Thailand as one of the country which is in the same league of an authoritarian rule.

Political instability in Thailand will be greeted well in Burma, especially for its military junta to retain its authoritarian rule and superfluous border for the opium, drugs and arms to be flowed in into Thailand. Critics also claimed that much of the rubies and jewellery which came from Burmese mines were trafficked into Thailand before it reaches the International markets. Arms trafficking and the Burmese refugees precipitated by the Junta military suppressions of the Burmese intellectuals is also an issues and a test to Thailand’s—Burmese relations.

3.5 Malaysia

Perhaps one of the nations that do not have much international strain issues with Thailand is its Southern neighbours, Malaysia. Being one of the most settled democracy states in Southeast Asia after Singapore, Malaysian took a passive role on the border issues with Thailand. All of the international and bilateral issues with Thailand were solved through ASEAN, APEC or United Nations collectively.

But with the growing political instability in Southern Thailand and after 88 Malays Muslim are found dead on the military trucks, the conflict had reached a new level of intervention by Indonesia and Malaysia and brought a strain for Malaysian-Thailand’s relation. Being Muslim nations, Malaysia was pressured by the dominant Malays populations to intervene in the Thailand affairs to defend the Muslim populations of the South. Thailand claimed and accused Malaysia in harbouring imam and Islamic teachers which responsible in instilling the Jihad creed in Malay Muslim which impulse the Police Station attack in 2004 and these imam was claimed by the Thai’s government to be hiding in the state of Kelantan. This was denied by Malaysian government claiming that Thaksin was diverting the Thais attention of the gravity of the Southern Thailand’s situations.

Other than the issues of Southern Thailand’s problems, relatively relations with the Malaysian government had been cordial between the two countries. Perhaps its one of the ASEAN principle in not meddles into another neighbour internal conflict. Thailand had been capitalizing on the Malaysia’s cheap petrol even though such dealings are considered illegal. Other than Southern Thais problems, small misunderstanding between the two enforcement agencies such as customs and border patrol arises, but not to a great length which and precipitates conflict between the two countries.

4. Thailand’s related issues

4.1 Thailand’s drugs and prostitutions problems

Research and statistics had indicated that some 2.5 – 6 million people were habitual drugs users in Thailand, with up to 3 millions of still in school. In 2002, Thaksin Shinawatra and his effort in fighting the drugs problems of Thailand had created a policy consisted of border blocking (most of the methamphetamine is produced in Myanmar), public education, sports, and promoting peer pressure against drugs use. This policy of war on drugs even though very popular with the Thais, generally it is acknowledged as ineffective in fighting drugs lords as a whole.

In September 2004, George W. Bush announced in the Annual Determination of Major Illicit Drugs Producing and drug-Transit Countries to remove Thailand from the list of major drug-transit or major drug producing countries.

Since the Vietnam War, Thailand had gained international notoriety among travellers from Japan, Korea, and Western countries as a sex tourism destination. In Thai society, visiting prostitutes is considered common. It was estimated that in 2003, prostitutions had contributes to the USD 4.3 billions per year of nations GDP, about 3% of the Thai economy. Prostitutions have been technically illegal in Thailand since 1960, when the law was passed under the pressure of the United Nations. The prohibition however was not enforced, instead the government had instituted a system of monitoring for sex workers in order to control the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.

4.2 Institutions set up

The collapsed of the democratic elected government in the September 2006 launch coup by the Military junta had proved how fragile democracy is in Thailand. Thais had never experienced what would be called as settled democracy to their own preference of using the Network Monarchy as a checks and balance between the elected government and the civil society. This act and traditional way of check and balance seeing by the international community as un mature politic solution in showing disagreements with the elected governments.

Perhaps the traditions of the Thais itself in choosing elected representatives towards mode of personalities and their popularities rather than their educational background and political strength had created a tension on the issues of political legitimacy of the Thailand’s democratic peace practices. Bridget Welsh, an assistant researcher of the John Hopkins University had stressed out that democracy is more than a popularity contest where it requires more meaningful representations.

What was needed in changing the traditional politics of Thailand and most of the Asian democratic mechanism practices is to ensure democracy prevails by institutionalized the political parties in its efforts to reach grassroots and provide channels for feedback, at the same time offering a variety of clear policy platforms and to hold vigorous internal leadership elections and debates.

The peoples of Thailand are more prone in inclining their preferences towards individual popularity. This creates a time bomb in precipitates future problems when politicians gets into trouble over personnel matters, such as Thaksin’s faced during his allegedly corrupt business dealings. When such popular leader was marred by political tensions and when leadership institutions was too closely tied to a single person, the whole nations suffers because of the bond created by the traditional thinking of the whole masses.

As crisis develops, personalized parties are inclined to throw up another individual as the country’s saviour which is a particularly common phenomenon in Southeast Asian nations such as Thailand and Philippines. This will lead to further instability where the people are deprived of a legitimate feedback system that they can have confidence in, which will resort them to take their anger and dissatisfaction to the streets to submit their grievances.

Free media and civil society is needed in Thailand and should be allowed to flourish where such an institutions can channel the voice of the people and make governments more accountable. Thailand and Southeast Asian regions need competitive elections, stronger and more representative’s political parties and a vibrant civil society.

1.Rethinking Thailand’s Southern Violence, 2007. Duncan McCargo, NUS Press Singapore;
2.Thailand’s Economic Recovery, 2006. Cavan Hogue, ISEAS, Singapore;
3.Studies in Thai History, 1991. David K. Wyatt, Silkworm Books; and
4.Thaksin: Business Politics in Thailand, 2005. Pasuk Pongphaicit, Silkworm Books.

Are limitations on the way war is waged practicable?

By: Ahmad Syah Ejaz Bin Haji Ismail


In the history of mankind civilizations, we had fought countless war. Either it is for the purpose of gaining a new territory or for the purpose of the feudal lord greed’s, the fact that war is very much close to human instinct can’t be denied. War evolved from small scale skirmishes to the grand bloodshed that were fought in numerous ways either it be pitched battles or aerial warfare. The main fact is that mankind had suffered and at the same time gained new knowledge through wars which truly a major thrust factor in mankind evolutions.

Mankind’s historical background in war started by tribe’s war to the war that is fought based on ideologies that cannot be quantified. From the weapons that are made off from Mother Nature (spears and dagger) to the weapons and tools that are moulded to be so deadly for the sake of waging war; designed solely for certain victory. In war, peoples died, and most of them would be the one that fights the battles that occurred and there too would be collateral damaged where innocent civilians that are inadvertently involved in such a battles too suffered the same consequences as by the fighting man.

Same goes by the purpose why mankind fought war, the objective is evolving from time to time. Disagreement that arise from territorial beings to resources and to ideologies and religions, the fact that war will remains to stay in mankind culture is inevitable and prolonged. War will not only be fought among the region or states, but also within the states and peoples that lived in the states. But I will only focus on the war that will be fought among the states in this article.

Definitions of war

The definitions of war that will be covered by this article are the war and battles that is fought in violent way which involved killing the other foe or opponents. War can be fought in many forms; it can be absolute war or total war.

According to Clausewitz, absolute war is impossible which disregards of human morality and mankind positive nature. He would prefer that so much so that mankind want to win certain war, there will be a limit for them to fight war. Mankind will fight war in another perspective which will be called total war.

No doubt that the purpose of waging war is to disarm the enemy and making the enemy to comply with your will. But with the absolute war doctrine and beliefs, such an outcome will only be served if the enemy is completely paralyzed and be brought down by force. Such a tactics can be fought in two ways either it be strength of all available means or strength of all the wills.

In ensuring such a method to work on the enemy ones must have to use an act of uttermost violence in all of ways achieved without compromise in which states fight to war natural extremes. Such an extremities will only be worked if there are no grafted political and moral moderations. Such methods had been used by Genghis Khan when he invaded the west and shrouded the region with the middle ages where knowledge had gone in flames and scholars be burned to death.

The objective and the culture of Genghis Khan Warfare in that kind of military act can be seen as not to gain new grounds, but for the sake of pride, killing and plunder. The only method that was used was sheer violence without compromise. But much had changed since that day of the invasion of Genghis Khan when he entered Baghdad. Mankind had evolved and the political structure too had expanded bringing forwards the power of the collective thinking. But still the war needs to be fought even though it is the last resort of settling disputes.

Total war concept

Carl Von Clausewitz believes that the way war will be fought in the future is what can be symbolized as the total war concept. Total war means that all the ways of waging war using all available means including political and diplomatic and to an extent economic solutions. War is not only be fought by the armed uniformed man on the battle grounds, but also by the workers and scientist that are developing the arms in home factory. Plus the politicians and an army commander that are making decisions which will alter or influenced the war perhaps 10, 000 miles from battle ground.

Before this, mankind only understand the concept of absolute war where the outcome of the war will be determined by the fighting man and army generals on the battle grounds. Neglecting the much important numerous organisation that are standing behind the military power that were responsible in developing weapons, arsenal and to an extent geared up all the food supplies for the soldier on the battle fields.

According to Roger Chickering, total war requires the mobilization not only of the armed forces, but also the whole populations. The most crucial and determinant of the war is the wide spread, indiscriminate, and deliberate inclusion of civilians as legitimate military targets. Such a milieu of fighting total war only occurred after Napoleonic era when mechanized weapons and industrial revolutions start hitting the European country. Especially when weapons factory starting equipping fighting man with musket in mass productions.

Mechanized arms and vehicle became very much important when such things contribute tremendously in shorten the war by promising great success. War is evolving and will not stop to evolve with the mankind knowledge spanning to pseudo new idea and new tactics to win war. The modern warfare nowadays evolutions was started with Genghis Khan in his tactics of waging war. Even though that Genghis Khan is known for his ferocious ways in waging war and will always be remembered especially by the Iraqis and Iranian as brutal conqueror and dictator, his contribution towards the modern warfare doctrine is undeniable.

Absolute war

His tactics of absolute war especially in making the enemy comply with his inquiry is unconventional in his time. One of the tactics that was used in his era is Siege warfare. This was done by blocking the reinforcement or the escape route of the enemy making them lack of food and reinforcement is unconventional at his time. Such a tactics was used by Hitler in his Siege of Leningrad which lasted for 29 months to weaken the Red Army that was forted at the city of Leningrad which eventually make that city succumbed to the Third Reich.

The other famously tactics that was used by Genghis Khan at his time in waging war is the feigned retreat. Such a tactics of diversions is intended to break the enemy formations and to lure small groups of foe into premeditated ambush which will promise big victory. But still the way and the purpose of Genghis Khan in waging war is absolute war which intended to definitely cripple the enemy military ability. When Genghis Khan entered Baghdad and Samarkand, and he wipes out the whole populations disregard whether they be the standing army or civilians. Thus the purpose of him waging such war was not resources or mankind knowledge, but pride and plunder.

Such a brutal tactics of fighting war is fought until Napoleon Bonaparte came and brings a new revolutionary tactics and war strategy where another matters is considered important rather than be the uniformed soldiers.

Perhaps the first revolutionary war commander that brought the concept of total war into publics knowledge is Napoleon Bonaparte. It is not peculiar when such a man who coined the Total War concept (Clausewitz) came from this era by watching how Napoleon wage war in Europe. Napoleon is a visionary military leader which brought a new concept of waging war. He himself developed new relatively few military innovations to fight a war. His placement of artillery into battles and his reorganized the military apparatus to the divisions within the army corps, as the standard all-arms unit have become standards doctrine in virtually all large modern armies.

In his Italian Campaign which he fought in the year 1797, he used the artillery tactics, where he mobilizes it to support his infantry. An in his Egyptian expedition 1798-99 he used a wide propaganda to proclaim the French as the liberators of the people from the Ottoman Empire and praising the precepts of Islam. Such a conduct can be seen as the total war concept where war is not only be fought by the muskets of the soldiers but also by the ink of the stamping machine. During Napoleon era also is the first time where industrial revolution is booming, and musket was being produced in large quantity. Ensuring such a production is high; ones must have a strong economy and enough resources in funding the war that is fought at the frontlines of the battles.

Napoleon doctrine

Armies do not only depends on the gunpowder or the cannonballs, but also the food supplies which is brought to the frontlines of the battles from the heart of French capital, Paris by carts and horses. The reason why Napoleon lost to Russian in Moscow was that Russian was burned to the ground and ravaged in everything by the retreating Russian while Napoleon tactics was to gain the food supplies left by the Russian people of Moscow. The freezing winter of Russian land had brought Napoleon armies to its knees and it was one of the reasons why they lost the Allied Austrian-Hapsburg family. So much so many writings had been done on Napoleon mistakes, but Hitler once again repeat the same when his Wermacht army is left to fight in Stalingrad wearing army uniforms which are issued for summer campaign.


The third phase of evolutions of war came when Industrialization era came into Europe. It was once being tested during the American Civil war where mechanized machine of war became very much important and shape the modern warfare of the present world. War is not only being fought on the frontlines of the battles, but also at the productions line also known as the factory which reside at the heart of the nations. It can be proved when Japanese Empire army lost the World War II even though they had paralyzed the U.S. Pacific fleet. The Japanese Empires do not lose due to their inferiority of military might, but due to the American military productions at home.

That is one of the reason why Eisenhower were very much reluctant to invaded France before the Germans productions machine states is destroyed to the ground completely. And even though numerous bombings had been issued by the Allied during the pre- D-Day, the six months battles of post D-Days is still fought hardly because German war factory was not crippled by the daily bombings of the Allied nations.

The questions which arises is that whether such a way of waging war should be limited or not is not the question at all. The point is that there will always be limitation for mankind to wage war. Proved from the evolutions of warfare, the armoury and arsenal or military capabilities are always limited. The weapons of mankind will always limited and non-lethal enough to fight war. So in this industrial effort in finding the most lethal weapons and arsenal of human warfare, human knowledge and his capabilities will be spanning to an unprecedented new frontier of warfare history.

Purposes in waging war

The objective of human purposes of waging war too is a factor in the limitation of mankind to wage war. Those days, where populations are not important, when Genghis Khan and his armies wage war in Eastern Europe was completely holding on his beliefs of absolute war. What happened on the enemy territory is not so imperative to Genghis Khan Armies. Nowadays, the purpose off waging war is not the annihilation, but for the sake of resources. For you to gain such resources, you need to grasp the land or region intact or at least in pristine order. Waging war is expensive, so mankind will asked themselves, what will they gained by waging war. Such and objective in gaining grounds is a limitation for ones armies to meticulously conduct the warfare.

Same as the evolutions of the modern warfare, strategies used in gaining and ensuring victories in war also contribute very much on how the war is waged. In the evolutions of warfare, nowadays mankinds prefered the war be fought in total war concepts. Leaders that spearhead on the way war is fought in new kind of strategies and skirmishes concepts. When the American Civil war is fought 200 years ago, mankind never venture in the concept of submarine and navy sealed. But the opportunity arises from such war and the very much needed victory for both sides had pressured mankind and his knowledge to find a new solutions and ways to shorten and ensured victory.

In the Great War where humans tends to be more subdued by their own fears, they only ventured into the passive warfare which is creating trenches and relies the outcome of the war on machine guns and artillery bombings. So much so that the war is considered the bloodiest war which mankind said that it will be the last war ever fought, the war is fought for almost five years and would be stopped only by the machine of the British engineering when Winston Churchill as the War Minister at that time suggested the method of using tanks. Once again the concept of total war where factories and workers at home contribute very much on the war effort to produce tanks in great numbers to stop the war and ensured victory.

The Germans had taken the Great War to a new concept of weapons of mass destruction when they used the mustard gas in sealing victory. So much so that the gas used proved to be very effective in killing enemy foe at the other end of the battle front, human realizes that they had gone too far in creating the weapons. So after the victory had been sealed by the allied nations, they convened and decided on such weapons shouldn’t be used anymore in the future as an act of good faith in fighting war. Such decision is concluded via good faith and un-written consensus which nothing can ensure it won’t be used again.

Machines in warfare

Realizing that tanks used very effectively by the British during the Great War which destroyed the morals of the German armies, Hitler again ordered his generals in building and developing such a mechanized tactics and ventured into some kind of a revolutionary warfare strategies called the Blitzkrieg. The effectiveness of waging war tactics by Hitler till this day mould the doctrine of skirmishes of the modern war such as United States combat doctrine and Great Britain’s in tanks divisions and support infantry for the tanks.

The revolutionary way in waging war which evolved in the history of 100 years of mankind warfare will keep on evolving and new concepts of warfare will be introduced. The limitation of the lethal weapons used by mankind is the factor for them in finding ways to subdue the enemy, disarm them and ensure that they will succumb to the victor power. During the Vietnam War when it is the first time conventional soldiers of the United States Navy had to fight a new ways of guerrilla warfare of the North Vietnamese Army. Tactics of hit and run and ambushed of the U.S. troops stationed in Vietnam really crippled the war effort that they don’t know on how to wage war for such a tactics.

Even though such territory had been subdued, it doesn’t promised complete victory and such victory can only be ensured by war of attritions. The usage of air vehicle in Vietnam is used widely after learning from the Malayan Emergency where the British had used the Helicopters in very efficient way in transporting troops and supplying the combatants at the front. During the Vietnam War, the U.S. army only concentrate the war effort on the pitched battles neglecting totally on the political and social issues in Saigon. Such a tactics eventually taken its toll when the President of South Vietnam is assassinated and was replaced by a number of coup de’ etat.

Such political instability had contribute to show that South Vietnam under the auspices of the American government is not stable enough to govern and intended to manipulate and capitalize the peoples of Vietnam as a whole. Even though sheer weaponry and armoury used in the conflicts with deadly consequences, it still didn’t promise victory as had hope by the top military brass. It proved that the modern warfare strategies of waging war should be based on the concept of total war.

Diplomatic strategy in waging war

The concept of deceptions and diplomatic war strategies had been fought since the day of the modern warfare can be traced. For an example during the Japanese Empire military might build up, the Japanese administrations try to be seen as diplomatic and friendly towards the American government instead at the same time their aircraft carrier is stemming for Pearl Harbour. The concept of Diplomatic strategy is fought in ensuring the treatment of the POW’s or certain civilians that resided in particular areas. During the World War II, so much so that the Allies and the Nazis hated each other and embroiled in the bloody battles of the front, but they agree on the treatment of the POW’s captured during the war.

The types of arsenal used in war and warfare strategies also contribute to the outcome of the war. Mankind had tried and will never stop to find new ways of making the arsenal lethal enough to kill the other side of the front. Even though the bombings of Japan during the war is considered lethal and damaging enough to the Japanese industries, the American still used the atomic bombs which was dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. After seeing the effect of the atomic bomb on Japan, the U.S. top military brass again ventured into some kind of ways in making the weapons more lethal by introducing the nuclear weapons.

The inventions of new gear and new counter measures of saving the fighting armies from the bullets and shrapnel of battle grounds had thrust and pressed the war industry at home to be more efficient and better from the other side of the ideology. What had been experienced during the Cold War where the lethal weapons of nuclear warhead is considered not lethal enough; mankind had developed new kind of counter measures in countering an air attack from the Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles of Soviet Union. President Ronald Reagan with his ideas and efforts of the Strategic Defence Initiative or popularly known as the Star Wars agenda had brought the Cold War to a whole new levels where Nuclear Weapons is considered obsolete thus it cannot penetrate the shield developed from the SDI’s. It then brought the Soviet Union to its knees that the Communist coffers couldn’t cope with the expenditure that should be spent on the counter measures projects.

After the Cold War, the analysis that was done by the military administration especially in Pentagon had proved that mankind values of life are precious. Seeing such situations, man powered should be limited especially in the warfare or tactics which is considered negligible for mankind to risk their life such as aerial reconnaissance. So the military administration had put the an un manned air vehicle on air without man in the aircraft. It proved to be very effective and reliable that the reconnaissance that was done in Afghanistan is powered by human capabilities in California. But the limitation occurred when such projects is at the high cost and the question is that either mankind is willing to spent so much money on that kind of military agenda.

American industrial might

Living in the unipolar world of the 21st Century, we cannot shunned the facts of the Americans military might. There is no more balance of power which resided for the past 40 years during the Cold War era. Such situations gives absolute power for the United States to control war and to an extent determined how the war should be fought. The war industry of the U.S. alone conquering more than 50% of the arms supplies of the world. Thanks to the leftover of the Soviet Technologies, the world can still turn for their help in building the military might of a certain nations. But such a venture is limited and inferior. How do you compare the M1 Abram’s tanks of the United States Army with the much obsolete technologies used in building the PT-91M tanks of the Polish war industries?

To an extent the American government had the veto power to veto such a business dealings done by the American war contractor to the Third Words in purchasing arms and war technologies. The Chinese in trying to find ways in making their ICBM missiles more precise and such intentions was seen by the U.S. as a threat to the Chinese Taipei. Sooner or later when the Chinese managed to get such knowledge capabilities, it will brought the warfare strategies to a whole new levels where the Americans will again equipped the Chinese perceptions threat with their nuclear warhead.

United Nations

With the emerging power of Non Governmental Organisation and non state actors such as NGO’s and IGO’s that was supervise by the great superpowers and great human ingenuity, mankind shunned in fighting war and try to seek a new solutions in ending disputes. It creates some sort of an international pressure for the warring states to put a limitation on the tactics in waging war. If certain states ventured into some kind of inhuman methods of waging war, there will be sheer pressures on them from the internationals community through IGO’s and thus economic sanctions will be implemented to put them into stop.

The meddling of third parties power into in human conduct of waging war as had been exemplified in the Balkans is another testament of how International awareness had increases and the power of the media that was played through the non governmental institutions really matters. During the Balkans war, the reason that NATO interfered in such conflict was the international pressured received bye EU to end the genocide which was carried out by the Serbs. Unfortunately such strength of human awareness through media excess does not work in the states of African where there is no personal interest of the great superpower to interfere into the domestic problems of Africa.

But such problems that occurred had been brought up by the attentions of the public through rock concert that was spearheaded not by the leaders of the first world, but through the rockers musician such as Bono and Bob Geldolf. In this 21st Century of interdependent society, the factors which will pressured international community to react in putting a limitation to the way war is fought is not solely put on a shoulder of the first world, but collective awareness through international community. Using mines that was once considered an act of inhuman way in waging war was brought up to the world attentions not by the President of the United States, but by Princess Diana and her foundations after seeing millions of innocent civilians losing their leg in the farm land and the after effect of using such weapons was insurmountable to bear.

Geneva Convention

Mankind too after realizing the bad effect of the unsupervised war had agreed in moulding a convention in overseeing the conduct of the war. Geneva conventions which emphasized so much on the issues of how POW’s and civilians should be treated is a method on how human realize that war should be limited. By having Geneva conventions, the warfare strategy is considered as more civilized thus that mankind realize war is the method in ending disputes which was the last resort apart from diplomatic solutions.

In the middle of the 20th Century, realizing that the world is not enough for everyone, Russian launched a Sputnik satellite to the outer atmosphere. By doing that, the Russian scientist had brought the attention of the world that war can be fought at the new level of the warfare. Space creates and brings new prospects for military generals in doing what can be considered as forward positions. Forward positions doctrine is not only can be implemented on the ground of the earth, but also at outer space.

By having a war in outer space, mankind will ensure that the earth can be inherit to their children thus that there is no limitations to the kind of weapons that can delivered the lethal solutions in ending lives, even though sometimes at the cost of the human’s own future. Space also promise unlimited resources to be used for the mankind in their natural endeavour either it be for survival or strength. By conquering space, mankind will push themselves at the edge of sheer knowledge and opportunity in making the future world as present.

Weapons of mass destruction

Mankind had tried to find many ways in creating a weapon of mass destruction. The purpose of such weapons is to kill and paralyze the enemy without risking the life’s of the own standing army. During the Great War, the usage of the mustard gas proved to be very efficient in killing enemy combatants without much recon the enemy positions. The gas act like a bullet itself killing and disable the enemy that were covered and hiding in their trenches.

In the 21 Century of modern warfare, mankind had tried numerous times using lethal gas in killing enemy with scant amount of biological agents. Anthrax which is in the form of powder cannot be determined with the naked eyes as the arsenal of mass destruction. It has the upper ability in making a surprise attack especially among the civilians and those that are making important decision for the armies on the battlefield. It can be proved when much of the anthrax attack had been delivered to the Congressman and the Senate members via mail and courier. But with the development of the Hazardous Material Team among the responsive emergency unit also known as the HAZMAT, mankind will again try another types of biological agents which is lethal enough in ensuring the purpose of the battle fought be won.

In the 21st Century after much monitoring of the way war should be fought by the United States and collective organisations such as United Nations, the kind of new breed way on how war is fought very much determined by the non-states actors. Having the upper hand that these non state actors are not bound by the constitutions of the world, they are freed in venturing into any types of warfare strategies and tactics that they want.

Even though such a power of being freed from the world governments looks very much dire and dangerous, but still this non state actors had limitations in their resources and knowledge or ability to fight war. They too are still confined by the states laws which they resides or operate in. If certain states that are protecting them do not adhere to the superpower concern on giving those terrorist to the world government or justice, then that particular states will bear the consequences of harbouring those terrorist. It can be seen in Afghanistan and Iraq. To an extent when seeing the fate befall onto those states, Muammar Ghadaffi that was once considered courageous enough in fighting the develop nations succumb to his own fear in integrate his nations to the world after post-Afghanistan U.S. invasion.

Such tactics of using Weapons of Mass destruction and the way the terrorist groups operating is to bring fear to the public and thus crippling the economic field of certain nations. The 911 attack on the U.S. World Trade Centre in New York was organized to attack the symbols of the U.S. economic power and not his military installation. Fear too can be considered as the weapons of mass destruction which they have the ability to create chaos in the share markets and bring down certain states economic viability.

The 21 Century world will be challenged by the demands of certain nations like Iran and North Korea to develop their nuclear weapons. Nuclear weapons is considered the most lethal weapon which can be used against humanity so much so that their development is at the height during the Cold War, but human tends to not to use it after seeing the consequences of similar power during the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings. But now, what was afraid is that not the states that will use such weapons, but on how to stop and stem of such a deadly weapons to be used against humanity by the non state actors.

The flood of the nuclear warhead which is seldom being monitor in the ex-Soviet nations is a much of a concern of the free world threat. Nuclear warheads can be bought in the black market by the terrorist and such weapons can be transported through conventional trade route to bring a catastrophe unto certain states. The usage of such nuclear warhead can be considered as an act of desperations, but can any debate be brought up that such weapons will not be used at all? If terrorist groups without hesitation in killing innocent civilians with an aircraft carrier during the 911 attack, such a method of using nuclear warhead too is certain to be. If it’s not due to the efficient security set up and AWACS systems of the developed nations, the way on how the unconventional war will be fought is a certain death towards the civilians.

Seeing the collapse of the Soviet Wall after the cold war had brought up new challenges and threat to the freedom of man, mankind and through governmental institutions is very much trying hard to trimming down the effect of the conventional and absolute war. The build up of the nuclear was is the main concern among states especially rogues states such as North Korea and Iran. Such capabilities of having nuclear warhead and installed it onto their ICBM is cannot be accepted because such capabilities will be used against humanity. United Nations through IAEA try hard in ensuring such technological capabilities is stripped off from the rogue states.

The dominations of the U.S. Military capabilities is the main factor in ensuring such balance of power among the free world will not be repeated. Balance of power should not be seek in this modern world but more cooperative and understanding of the free world. Future world will be fought more in diplomatic methods through debates on the tables of negotiations. Such war is evolving again that mankind had every thing to protect for themselves instead of venturing into nationalism agenda of waging war.


The limitation on the scale of waging war will always exists along the modern warfare doctrine of world states. Mankind had created a un-sign treaty on the issues of rules of engagement in precipitating war. Along the long history of modern warfare, Geneva Conventions and the power of collective thinking had come into being after numerous wars had been fought on the battle field.

Mankind realizes that being the only organism on Earth that can make differences in saving the planet, the limitation on the way war waged is practicable. With the growing awareness and needs for mankind to tackle on the issues of environmental problems, the demarcation line was draw on the kind of weapons that should be used on the battle field. New strategies in subduing the enemy without any destruction are another limitation for the modern warfare.

War exists and came into reality because mankind needs to settle disputes among themselves. Regardless of war, mankind had realizes that new solutions such as diplomacy is also essentials and effective in settling disputes. Such awareness is a major factor why limitation in waging war is practicable.


1.Enduring the freedom: A rogue historian in Afghanistan, 2005. Sean Maloney, Potomac Books Inc;
2.On Nuclear Terrorism, 2007. Michael Levi, Harvard University Press;
3.Deterring America: Rogue States and Proliferation of Weapon of Mass Destruction, 2006. Derek D. Smith, Cambridge University Press; and
4.Buying Military Transformation: Technological Innovation and Defence Industry, 2006. Peter Dombrowski, Columbia University Press.

Friday, 9 November 2007


10 November 2007 - Ellipsis.

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Leadership virtue in engaging battles

By: Ahmad Syah Ejaz Bin Hj Ismail


What is the value of a leader on battle ground? Why leader and military commander is very important? And why sometimes, a leader is considered as a “primadona” by the fighting soldiers during a military campaign? Why sometimes technology used does not really matters as more important is the man who is leading the assault as had been experienced during the Korean War? The answer to the entire question raised is the leadership quality and leaders are a human beings and not a machine.

Leader possesses individual ability of harnessing greatest energy to be used during battles. These energies does not only comprises of strength and physical conduct, but also divine factors, moral standards and ethical behaviours which cannot be extracted from machine and high tech gear. One of the magnificent traits that possessed by a leader is sheer influence to affect human behaviours in accomplishing a mission.

Harnessing human spirits and moral

In the historical background of human abilities, sometimes mankind needs a leader to remind them that the missions need to be accomplished. Mankind can be considered always lacking in every industrial of human war engineering achievement. But still the goal of achieving objectives needs to be achieved. A leader will try to the best of his ability to affect human behaviour to accomplish mission. Such can be proved during a military campaign where human energy and spirits easily wears out and thinned out after embattled hard battles. Thus a leader must use his human touch to oversee the soldiers on the field and taking care of their welfare needs, and such will affect the spirit and outcome of the conflict.

As had been experienced during the Vietnam War when Colonel Hal Moore the commander of the (7th Calvary Regiment) of the pitched battles took by American G.I.’s against the North Vietnam Army, he (Hal Moore) would very much be glad on the battle field fighting with his man rather than being in Saigon and directed the battles from a distance. Such leadership quality will then bring some spirits and morals among the fighting man that they are receiving orders from the good and accountable military commander rather than top brass that are directing an unseen battle. Such tactics used by Colonel Hal Moore had ensured success on the battle ground even though victory looks to much certain to be lost. Sheer perseverance of commanding conduct will ensure victory and not the much high tech aerial bombings by F4 fighting aircrafts and precisions artillery bombings during the battle of La Drang.

Arts of motivation

Another important trait which possessed by the human military commander/ leadership which cannot be contained by the technology is the power to motivate and contribute towards effectiveness. Military commander have the ability of seeing the problems that occurred during engaging in battles and had the ability of suggesting any methods or develop any strategic methods to help in the effort of waging war. Much of the technologies developed during World War II, Korean War or the Vietnam War came from the ideas of military commander after seeing the battle fought. As such they had the opportunity to settle up problems that arises. For an example during World War I, the fighter plane don’t know how to shoot through the propellers, and they just ventured in shooting enemies via machine gun that was mounted on the top of the plane wings. But after many experiments by the experienced combatants, the fighter pilots realized that they need a much effective ways in shooting down enemy planes, thus research and development is done to find a ways to shoot enemy through propellers which proved to be effective and accurate.

Leaders also have that capability in bolstering confidence in one’s own decision making. A leader is born and not develops. A chief is the one that is develop and will resort their skills to only minor task. But a leader will always take chances and risk their judgement to achieved goals. If Adolf Hitler does not risk their nation’s sovereignty from developing military capabilities fearing Versailles treaty shall fall upon them, they will not be the superpower pre-World War II. The ability and perseverance of making their subordinates to be confident on their decision making and military plans is one of the most important traits to achieve goals. Sometimes collective decision will only lead to filibustering the outcome of war and lengthen the decision making process. Great leader will veto any decision making and make a conclusion to ensure mission to be accomplished.

Gifted ingenuity

If it is not because of the Kennedy’s brothers (John F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy) during the Cuban Missile Crisis, the people of the world would have been living in the winter of nuclear fallout. The absolute power of the American Presidents during the Cuban Missile Crisis had saved the world which they resort to negotiations and diplomatic solutions and not the war which the American Military Chief of Staff would have wanted. The ability of the leader in seeing that balance of power is no more relevant in the future world such can be seen through the decision in engaging just only in the Cold War rather than hot war which proved had saved the lives of the world citizens.

The power of instilling passion and hope during combat is one of the most important traits of military commander during engaging in battles. Passion is the traits of the most important human quality in finishing up task, because passion can act as a drive force for the soldiers and military personal to deliver what they had been ordered. If anyone works on the conditions that they do not have passions, then the quality of the work would definitely be worse and not into great effects. During World War II, there are American army groups which engaging with the Japanese soldiers in Burma. They had one of the best army commander named Brigadier Frank Miller leading 3, 000 army personal engaging Japanese troops that was stationed in Burma. These American soldiers had marched 200 miles down into the jungle warfare and won each battle that they had fought. The factor of commanding General is the utmost important because General Frank Miller managed to instil passion within their combat soldiers after wearing out of supplies and energies during the jungle warfare.

Charismatic traits

The human factors which will lead human soldiers on the ground of warfare too are one of the most important traits in fighting a war. There are natural charismatic leaders among the people of the world that when they are put to the test of being an army commander, they will do it in flying colours. The name of George Patton, Douglas Mc Arthur just to name a few is the few selected army top commander who had the most magnificent traits in leading a fighting man into combat. This military commander does not come with another agenda in their guts except in leading their man to total victory. Patton always believed that he was the historical commander of the Carthaginian’s soldiers during the Greeks invasions of Sicily. He believed that war is the reason why he is born and he will lead his army to absolute victory. The funny side of it, he did it during the World War II.

The one that can be define and determined as a clear sense of mission is the leader. A leader which can put and mould a clear sense of mission can coax his fighting soldiers to be very effective in engaging war at the same time realize fully on what are they fighting for. When America invaded Iraq in 2003, there is no clear sense of objective why are they fighting the war. Is it because of the weapons of mass destruction or the despotic regime of Saddam Hussein? Or to an extent there are arguments saying that they fight the war for the oil resources which came in abundantly in Iraq. The sense of objectivity during the Iraqis campaign had put the fighting men in bewilderment. That is one of the reasons why the outcome of Iraq is seen as impossible to be settling up.

Differs during the American Civil war when Abraham Lincoln ventured and decided to fight the separatist of Confederate soldiers, the objective is clear which is to fight slavery and separatism of the Union. During the World War II, Americans are fighting the fascist regimes which are clearly against humanity. During the Vietnam War, American defines the purpose of fighting the war into ideologies matters which is very subjective. The Americans people at home don’t understand the reason why are they fighting war which can be concretely define, and that is the reason why they lost the war in Vietnam even the technologies used during the Vietnam campaign is at the state of the art.


The factor in being optimistic towards achieving goals too is of the important characteristic of a leader and not the technologies used. During the World War II, England had been at the brink of total collapse at the hands of the Nazis after series of the Blitz over the skies of London. The country had been brought up to its knees and ravaged by the Nazi’s bomb, and only one man stood up between total lost and victory. That man was Winston Churchill which believes that victory is very much certain despite the people of England had lost its hope after series of defeats either in Northern Africa, Singapore and Dunkirk, France. But as being the leader and Commander in Chief of the British military machine, Churchill had instilled a fighting spirits within the English people’s heart to never surrender.

His spirits of optimism in fighting the war and great oratorical skills to light up a fighting fire in the English people’s heart had gives hope to the British people. Being a leader which is focused and adamant in gaining victory and achieving successes goals, ones cannot run away from being the public persona and role models. General Patton is regarded as close to the soldier’s heart and much of what he did everyday during the war end up being on the front page of the American media. Churchill had instilled that in every English peoples there are Churchill to fight for what they believe. Such a beliefs till this day lasted when whatever happened in London or when Britain faced difficulties, they will remember Churchill and his victory signs.

Knowledge and personal industrial effort

A leader and commanding officer also had a self-knowledge in executing orders to achieve goals. The reason why Douglas McArthur had choose Inchon, South Korea, to land the American forces during the Korean War is his personal military skills of cutting the supplies of the North Korean armies by attacking their left flank and isolated the North Korean that are fighting in the south. General Patton decision to attack Sicily and managed to take the whole Island before the British under Montgomery is his (Patton) own personal commanding capabilities during waging war with the Germans.

A leader also needs to be visionary and far sighted. This is because leaders need to make decisions every second especially during crisis. This decision will lead to the outcome of the military campaign of certain battles. During the Battle of The Bulge, at Bastogne when Field Marshals Walther Model and Gerd von Rundstedt encircled the fighting American soldiers, they had offered a truce to the American fighting men. But one man stood up and answer “Aw, Nuts” in his own words. That man is General Anthony McAuliffe, and by doing that, he had instilled a fighting spirits among his own man plus some amusement under the cloud of total lost. Even though the Americans where outnumbered by the Germans in the Cold winter of Bastogne and were decapitated by being inferior in ammunitions and tanks, still the German army do not managed to take the ground and eventually the German soldiers back away and some surrendered by the emerging force of General Patton which arrived eventually to save the day.

Communications and oratorical skills

Greatest military commander in the history of mankind must have a trait of inspirational communications and oratorical skills. This is one of the most and number one traits which must be possessed by the great leader and military commander. The problems of conveying the right messages to the fighting man and the public which are supporting the war through the ballot box are crucial to ensure victory. John F. Kennedy managed to do that during the Cuban Missile Crisis where he brought up International Pressure in the Security Council meeting obscure what were the Soviets are doing in Cuba. By having International Pressures and the back up of the American public, he had paved the way of the sanctioning Cuba from military build-up.

The blockade of Cuba which was suggested by RFK after much lengthens debate during the Exx Comm meeting is another way of communication with the Russian politburo and Chief Secretary Khrushchev. During the World War II, American patrol units were equipped with transmitter radio to communicate with the commanding officer at the garrison ensuring that the right decision made after certain circumstances. The way Eisenhower deals with the big scale invasion and ensuring such information about the whereabouts landings and the drop zone for Operation Market Garden is one of the capabilities of him waging war at the same time not to let vital information fall into enemy hands.

When Douglas Mc Arthur invades the Philippines at the Palo Beach Leyte, after his landings, he commands the Philippines’ resistance to fight a war against the Japanese on their soil. His oratorical skills and good communications had brought up the spirits of the fighting man on that Island. But the Greatest Communicator of all is Ronald Reagan. The way Reagan handles the media in suppressing the Soviet Union especially during his visits to Berlin had shorten the Cold War period by promising certain victory. Communications and oratorical skills promised certain victory if the methods and variance is right.

Revolutionary idea

Great military leader brought with them revolutionary idea in fighting war. An act of revolutionary warfare had paved the way war is fought in this modern era. It started with Genghis Khan when he invaded the east European states and bring with them the way of absolute war of the Mongols. After that Napoleon brought with himself the way of fighting the modern war by setting up artillery as a supporting unit for infantry. He then manages to smarten the war organizations by creating divisions and the army corp. So much of the effectiveness of his Grand Armies, his military strategies had been copied by all the modern government in building up military mechanism.

Great leadership of the commanding officers brought along with them high standards of human values in waging war. The war is limited to certain extent that there shouldn’t be any absolute war. Therefore in engaging any battle according to the beliefs, mankind had created ways in fighting limited war especially using weaponry as a smart bomb and only effective towards the combatants and not the civilians. There are beliefs saying that war is a moral contest before any battle should be fought. Those that allied themselves with the heaven will certainly won the war even though there will be forfeiture. Such had been proved by various historical battles that happened such as during the Great War and the World War II.

As had been stated before, great military commander brought with themselves charismatic traits which overruled every traits and advantages that possessed by the technologies. Hope is imminent when we allied ourselves with these leaders. They tend to fight and be a sheer fighter and will not succumb to fate and other people’s perseverance. In combat, such leaders will lead his own army in setting up comradeship value such had been showed by Alexander the Great and Napoleon. Leadership traits especially in waging war are the number one factor in ensuring victories. Technology used is only remains as tool in securing victory and will not ensure victory.


McArthur, 2007. Richard B. Frank, Palgrave McMillan;
Thirteen Days: A Cuba Missile Crisis, 1999. Robert F. Kennedy, W. W. Norton & Company;
The Greatest Communicator: What Ronald Reagan Taught Me About Politics, Leadership and Life, 2005. Dick Wirthlin,Wynton C. Hall, Wiley; and
Napoleon Bonaparte: A Life, 1998. Alan Schom, Harper Perennial.

Faces of Tun Teddy

Faces of Tun Teddy