“Progressives — and other members of Thailand’s pro-democracy opposition parties — scored a stunning victory in the country’s elections.., dealing a major blow to military-backed incumbents. Their overwhelming success, which came as a shock to political observers of the region, indicated that Thai voters are interested in a change from the current military-led regime and sent a significant message in favor of a more representative government.
The progressive Move Forward Party, led by Pita Limjaroenrat, is projected to win 151 seats in the House — the highest of any group — while the populist opposition party Pheu Thai, aligned with former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, will likely win 141 seats. Collectively, the two parties will now hold at least 292 of 500 seats in the House.”
“The military has long had a hold on Thai politics, a grip only strengthened by military coups in 2006 and 2014. That latter coup was led by current Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, who ushered in a new constitution that gave the military unprecedented power over government. One of those post-coup reforms threatens Move Forward’s coalition: 376 members of parliament are needed to elect a new prime minister, and the 250-person Senate was appointed by the military.
Move Forward said Monday that several parties have agreed to join its governing coalition, giving it control of 309 of parliament’s 500 seats. That leaves Pita Limjaroenrat 67 votes short of the majority needed to become prime minister. It’s unclear whether the Senate will work to cobble together a military-aligned minority government, or split its support between the two factions.”
“Hundreds of active-duty U.S. troops are descending on the Mexican border this week, but they’re not authorized to make arrests, use their weapons or do much more than administrative work.
That’s making the military deployment — timed for the end of pandemic-era immigration restrictions — a classic no-win political situation for the Biden administration, which is getting hit from at least one prominent Democrat for perpetuating Trump-era militarization of the border, and from Republicans who say the mission will be utterly ineffectual.”
“Biden is responding to the expected end of Title 42, which has allowed the U.S. to deny asylum and migration claims for public health reasons. Officials say the expiration of Title 42 on Thursday will prompt an influx of Central Americans into the U.S.”
“Officials say they would have preferred to rely on law enforcement agents for the mission, but the Department of Homeland Security is short on people and money. So the administration is turning to what they have now, which is 1,500 active-duty troops. And officials say they will be there for only 90 days, until law enforcement can find contractors to do the work.”
“The 1,500 troops Biden is sending will be armed for self-defense only and are not authorized to use force, make arrests or otherwise act in a law enforcement role. This is in keeping with the Posse Comitatus Act, which prevents the active-duty military from enforcing the law inside the United States.
“Military personnel will not be permitted to support migrant processing and escort duties or other activities that involve direct participation in civilian law enforcement activities, be responsible for property seized from migrants, or require direct contact with migrants,” according to a statement from U.S. Northern Command.
Instead, they will be performing administrative tasks such as data entry, warehousing, and additional detection and monitoring support to free up Border Patrol agents to deal with the migrants.
They are joining 2,500 National Guard troops on active-duty status — also subject to Posse Comitatus — already doing similar work at the border since July 2022.
By contrast, Trump granted active-duty troops the authority to protect law enforcement agents if they engaged in violence in November 2018, a controversial move that put the military in direct contact with migrants.”
“Part of the reason Trump sent troops to the border in 2018 was to help build his long-promised wall along the Mexican border. The Pentagon was directed to send members of the Army Corps of Engineers to help lay miles of concertina wire and erect other barriers and fencing.”
“Trump also shifted billions meant for military infrastructure projects to finance the border wall. The move drew bipartisan opposition, but Congress wasn’t able to muster the support to stop Trump.
Biden canceled the project when he took office, but kept the National Guard presence on the border for other support missions.”