Effects of global economic conditions on the Thai military functions (1980s to present)
Bruneau, Thomas C.
Looney, Robert E.
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This thesis analyzes the effects of global economic conditions on Thailand's military functions from the 1980s to present. The theoretical model is based on Garrette and Lange's framework (1996) of the change of economic conditions on domestic politics. The thesis has found that Thailand's economic integration into the international economy does not directly affect its military's functions. Nevertheless, the export-led growth strategy for the economic growth since the 1980s has created a middle class and resulted in a shift of political power among domestic actors from the military to the private sector. The role of the middle class in limiting the military's role in the political arena has been evident since the people's protest in 1992. According to the change in power of domestic actors, the thesis concludes that the Thai military's functions in the near future will be less aggressive and involve more compromise with elected politicians. Additionally, the military will readjust its role and mission in Thai society in order to maintain its prerogative. In the author's point of view, if and only if both serious political instability and a collapse of the Thai market economy are uncontrollable by the existing government, then the Thai people shall demand the Thai military to directly intervene.
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