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.
Long a staunch US ally and once a reliable partner in the region, under the nose of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton Thailand has morphed into a threat to regional peace and serial human rights abuser.
The U.S. policy toward Thailand is an exercise in pragmatic preservation and avoidance of open disagreement. A true ally should make reasonable requests to bolster long-term relations with the Thai people.