The Nordic Institute of Asian Studies (NIAS), the New York Southeast Asia Network (NYSEAN) and the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre (SSEAC) invite to their second TS 4 webinar with Prof Pavin Chachavalpongpun examinining the ties between the United States and the authoritative institution of Thailand – the monarchy.
Thailand is the United States’ oldest ally in Asia. The two countries signed the Treaty of Amity and Commerce in 1836 which served as a foundation for strong bilateral ties. It is evident that the United States’ amicable relations with Siamese kings assisted greatly in strengthening the power of the throne. Bilateral relations were progressively solidified particularly during the Cold War when the two nations cooperated in their attempt to combat the threat of communism, even when Washington openly supported a series of despotic regimes in Thailand against democratic forces. King Bhumibol Adulyadej, Thailand’s most powerful and revered monarch, was reinvented into an all-time US protagonist. As Bhumibol strove to maintain his royal political hegemony, the US was ready to lend its support to Bhumibol’s “network monarchy” of which Washington became a kind of member ex officio. Washington invested massively in Bhumibol throughout the Cold War. But when the Cold War was over and the Thai political landscape changed drastically, the United Stated was rooted to the old network of the ailing king. Additionally, with the rise of China, a question must be asked: What must the United States do to maintain its influence over this old ally in Southeast Asia?
Find more information about the event and register here.
NOTE: Accounting for the time shift, this event takes place at 2am for Central European Time (CET). It is however possible to follow the discussion on SSEAC’s Youtube channel !