Daily Archives: April 11, 2009

Gideon Rachman

I interrupt my holiday briefly to note that the last two national leaders that I have interviewed for lunch with the FT – Abhisit Vejjajiva, the prime minister of Thailand and Mikheil Saakashvili, the president of Georgia – are facing similar sorts of problems this weekend: mass demonstrations in Thailand and Georgia, aimed at levering them out of power. The abandonment of the Asean summit in the Thai resort of Pattaya – after the breakdown of security there – is a deep humiliation for the Thai government

 I interviewed Abhisit last January and Saakashvili about a year ago. Could I have inadvertently put a curse on them both?

Then again, there are more profound connections between the two crises. Both leaders are western-educated economic liberals who have been hailed abroad as champions of democracy. But both are now having their democratic credentials seriously questioned at home, and are threatened by popular uprisings. Both are desperate to stop the demonstrations against them, but also to avoid a violent crackdown. Read more