Blogs > HNN > GOOD NEWS - ARAB LIBERAL SECURED A FOOTHOLD IN 2004

Jan 4, 2005 4:16 pm


GOOD NEWS - ARAB LIBERAL SECURED A FOOTHOLD IN 2004



Barry Rubin is not Polyanna. So, when he says that Arab liberal are making progress, his argument is worth reading.

Here is an interesting example of the way they make their argument. On Thailand and tsunami support

THAILAND’S is one of Asia’s success stories. A country that was very poor some 25 years ago, it boasts today of being south-east Asia’s second largest economy--$143 billion strong, with its GDP growing at 8 per cent. Its confidence in its own strength was evident the other day when it stressed that it didn’t require international funds to tide over the tsunami crisis.

Dear readers, Thailand has come to this level in a matter of two decades, though its governance in the past had gone through periods of military take-over, and its economy through the Asian economic crisis of the late 90s. But, it recovered fast, and over the years turned its economic base largely from agriculture to manufacture, trade and exports. Today, it is the world’s largest exporter of rice. The economy got a fresh boost when telecommunications tycoon Thaksin Shinawatra became prime minister in 2001, riding the crest of a pro-development wave. Its progress is also linked in large measure to the trade deals it had seen through with the United States in the past years. Today, Thailand is America’s 18th largest trading partner.

Thailand had seen it all. It had passed through constitutional monarchy, military dictatorship and for the past about two decades democracy. There was a time when tourists from the various regions used to go there for cheap pleasures. But, now, people from the Gulf and other regions go to Thailand seeking standard medical aid and high class tourism. It has progressed in every field. Those who go there are those who feel America is too far, or that Europe is too expensive. Thailand has the infrastructure matching those of the developed world.

The proof of the soundness of Thailand’s economy is the confidence with which its officials say they do not need international funds to tide over the tsunami crisis. What they want is only volunteers or specialists to assist them.




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