Thai Military Power: A Culture of Strategic Accommodation
- About the Book
Being at the centre of the vital Asia–Pacific region, Thailand is important. But, despite its large population and powerful military forces performing significant roles in state and society, Thailand has little military power. Why is this? Using strategic culture as an analytical framework, this book portrays the Thai state as an accommodative actor. When Western empires dominated in Asia, Thailand ‘bent in the wind’ to preserve its independence by a limited trading of territory and sovereignty. This policy continues today in different forms. A key feature is that military organizational culture reinforces a state ideology of royalist nationalism, in turn reinforcing the national strategic culture. Significant here is internal political acceptance not just of military domination in civil–military relations but also of the Thai military’s limitations in state-on-state combat. The author finds such ‘underbalancing’ – not responding to threat, or responding inadequately – elsewhere in Southeast Asia, too.
- Dr. Gregory Raymond is a research fellow at the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre of the Australian National University where he researches Southeast Asian security. A former Department of Defence official, he worked at the Australian Embassy in Bangkok between 2005 and 2008 liaising with the Thai military.