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 produces a portrait of the Thai state as an accommodative actor. The policy, which saw Siam ‘bend in the wind’ during colonial times to preserve national independence, continues to the present day in different forms. A key feature is that military organisational culture reinforces a state ideology of royalist nationalism that in turn reinforces the national strategic culture. This book helps explain why ‘underbalancing’ – not responding to threat, or responding to it inadequately – is occurring both in Thailand and elsewhere in Southeast Asia despite the challenges presented by a rising China. The book thus argues that the interplay of civil–military relations and military organisational culture retards the development of strong external defence postures – not just in Thailand but elsewhere in Southeast Asia.
About the author:
Dr Gregory Raymond is a research fellow at the Strategic & 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.Thai