Thailand is now hopelessly divided.
There are no leaders who enjoy sufficient respect to drive a grand bargain between its polarised parties.
The age and frailty of King Bhumibol Adulyadej make intervention by him a forlorn hope.
Its tourist industry has been holed below the waterline, investor confidence badly shaken – and with two airports out of action, the capital is now cut off from the rest of the country.
Thailand is an example of what happens when a society becomes divided to the point of paralysis and neither faction is willing to abide by the term of the other faction. W. Scott Thompson at the IHT argues that Thailand has always been vulnerable to a logjam but always had a monarch to clear it. Now the monarch can’t clear it and everyone is waiting to see what happens next.
There exists in many countries mechanism for clearing a stoppage. Sometimes it takes the form of a “governor general” representing a notional monarch. At other times it is the intervention of a respected organization like a church or The Emperor. In still other countries is reverence for a constitution. But when politicians decide to traditions, they sometimes succeed in destroying the only thing that will save their bacon in a crisis.