King Bhumibol Adulyadej
The Shah of Iran When Bhumibol came to the throne in 1946 the finances of the Thai royal family were in dire straits. Today
Millions are mourning the long-serving monarch.
The 88-year-old died in hospital, the palace said.
It is always possible that one side could budge with international prodding. But breakthroughs look as rare in Thailand these days as Americans were here 197 years ago. The impasse won't last forever.
A cartoonish dictator out of a Gilbert and Sullivan comic opera runs a not-so funny junta which jails opponents and suppresses free speech. The recent bombing of a popular Hindu shrine in Bangkok should act as the famed fire bell in the night.
As Thailand endures the second year of yet another coup, King Bhumibol Adulyadej is approaching the 70th year of his reign -- and his health is reputedly poor. In this Southeast Asian kingdom of 67 million, the question on everyone's mind is: When the music stops and the world's longest-serving monarch is gone, what -- or who -- will fill the void?
Thailand's best hope is genuine constitutional reform. Government power should be limited, especially to award economic favors. Federalism should rule, giving provinces more authority to serve communities at odds with the national government.
Thailand's capital has lost none of its frenetic motion or relaxed informality. But it is a bit quieter of late, with last year's demonstrators dispersed by the military. However, the junta, which took power in May, is not leaving.
I can't help but think about Jackson here in Bangkok, where pro-government "red shirts" and anti-government "yellow shirts" are clashing, reenacting their own version of "King Mob."
In that sense, those who wear the Red Shirts have the upper hand so long as the economy remains strong. However, the current