Thailand is one of the world’s last remaining military dictatorships, and the last in Asia. While we are familiar with the Thai military’s frequent interventions in Thai politics, we know rather less about its external security role. As rivalry between the superpowers, the United States and China, has grown in recent years, Thailand’s strategic position in the East Asian region has become increasingly important. But what do we know about Thailand’s “strategic culture”? How does the country’s security elite, including the military, think about “war, force, and security”? This is the subject of Greg Raymond
’s timely new book, Thai Military Power: A Culture of Strategic Accommodation
(NIAS Press, 2018). At a time when the Thai military, and in particular, its controversial relationship with Thailand’s monarchy, are under great scrutiny, the subject of this book has implications not only for Thailand, but for the broader region.
Listeners to this episode may also enjoy listening to Lee Morgenbesser, Behind the Facade: Elections under Authoritarianism in Southeast Asia
(SUNY Press, 2016) and Shane Strate, The Lost Territories: Thailand’s History of National Humiliation
(University of Hawaii Press, 2015).
Patrick Jory teaches Southeast Asian History in the School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry at the University of Queensland. He can be reached at: email@example.com