Internal Security Affairs and the Power of Thailand’s Pretorian State

14:00 to 15:30
Open Seminar

Stockholm Center for Global Asia invites to the following event with Puangthong R. Pawakapan, Associate Professor, Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University, Thailand.

Thailand’s internal security affairs have been dominated by the Thai army since the 1960s when the Thai state faced a communist threat. Counterinsurgency operations allowed the military to expand its role across Thai society and societal sectors normally considered civilian. In the process, it has succeeded in legitimizing its expansive socio-economic and political role and boosting its power. Ironically, the fall of the Communist Party of Thailand in the mid-1980s did not bring an end to the military’s power over internal security. Instead, the definition of internal security threats and operations were expanded and appears almost limitless today, covering all from forest land protection, human and drugs trafficking, poverty reduction, societal disunity, protection of the monarchy to democratization. All branches of the Thai armed forces are now involved in these ‘internal security operations’, which has become their major mission. In other words, it can be argued that internal security is the source of power and the true raison d’être of the Thai military. Its overwhelming power is systemic and detrimental to democratization and governance. The main objectives are to entrench its ruling power, to control the people, and to protect its independence from civilian control.

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Stockholm Center for Global Asia

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