Thread: Why Thailand?
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Old 11-21-2008, 01:12 PM   #17
Avalon Senior Member
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 31
Default Re: Why Thailand?

I agree that Southeast Asia has a lot of attractive aspects for getting through the coming changes. For myself, I am riding things out nearby in the highlands of Vietnam.

For those thinking about going to Thailand, to my mind there are a few key considerations:

1) As others have mentioned, elevation. While today the Chaophraya delta (i.e. Bangkok and surrounding lowlands) is one of the world's major rice-growing areas, it's very possible the whole river plain will become part of the sea before 2012. Therefore I'd avoid the Chaophraya delta and the southern peninsula, which is also too close to the sea. The highlands around Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai and surrounding areas seem much better geographically speaking.

2) Look out for a war scenario involving at least Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam in the 2009-2015 timeframe. The basic cause of this war would be a need by all three countries for fresh water in the wake of a massive rise in sea levels. Currently both Thailand and Vietnam are self-sufficient in terms of rice production based on the Chaophraya and Mekong deltas, respectively. However, if those areas go underwater (which NASA and other scientific groups think is a good possiblity over the next 50 years), the natural source of fresh water (for both drinking and rice cultivation) which both countries will look to is the Tonle Sap lake in Cambodia. This could easily re-ignite the war which raged between Thailand and Vietnam over control of Cambodia between the early 18th century and the 1830s. (In fact it was only French colonialism which really brought an end to this conflict.) Already we see nationalists in Thailand urging aggressive and provocative military actions on the eastern border with Cambodia, while Vietnam has dominated the Cambodian political system since 1979 and many of its old maps (like Thailand's) show territory that is now "Cambodia" to be part of Vietnam. This is not to argue that either Thailand or Vietnam have a legitimate right to invade Cambodia, but we can see that the seeds of war are being sown as we speak. Moreover, there is a distinct possibility that the United States might get involved in such a war (on the Cambodian side) since the U.S. Air Force is reportedly considering setting up a base near the western Cambodian town of Battambang. If Thai forces were to threaten that area, it's not clear what the U.S. response might be since their main motivation for basing there is fear that the Thai government may seek to close U.S. military bases now in Thailand.

3) As a general rule, one can expect religious conflict to increase over the next several years as hard economic times set in. Therefore, it's probably best to avoid areas where Muslim and Buddhist Thais live close to one another. The more religiously homogenous areas are likely to be safer.

This is just to point out a couple of issues to keep in mind for ground team members in Thailand. Obviously it's not going to be especially easy to ride things out in any part of the world. So best wishes to team members there. Updates will be much appreciated!

Last edited by eugene_vn; 11-21-2008 at 01:36 PM.
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