Man in the Middle

Narong Sangnak / EPA

Face-off
The biggest political obstacle confronting Abhisit is the exiled former PM Thaksin, who still inspires rallies like the one in Bangkok on Sept. 19

His mates back in newcastle, where he was born, and at Eton, where he was schooled, knew him as Mark, a soccer fanatic who later scored first-class honors at Oxford. Today, Thailand's urbane Prime Minister, Abhisit Vejjajiva, says he dreamed of leading his Southeast Asian nation ever since he was a little boy, but he still seems more comfortable roaming the corridors of international diplomacy than engaging in the rough-and-tumble politics of his homeland. Just days ago, the 45-year-old economist headed to New York City to hobnob with world leaders at the U.N. General Assembly. In his...