THAILAND: Do-It-Yourself Premier

"We must take one step backward in order to take 100 steps forward," declared tough, chunky Field Marshal Sarit Thanarat, 51, and with that convenient philosophy in mind last October, he took over Thailand's government, abrogated the constitution, dissolved the Parliament, abolished political parties, and set up martial law. Since most of the democratic trappings of the country were more apparent than real, Thailand did not seem to mind such highhandedness at all. Weeks ago, as the Buddhist Lenten season of Purima Pansa began. Thai temples gleamed with new coats of gold in keeping with the old adage. "When the...

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