When it comes to great power relationships, Thailand prides itself on two things. The first is its nearly 200 year diplomatic connection with the US. The second is its flexibility, captured by its ‘bending with the wind’ approach to foreign policy. John Blaxland claims that Thailand is like a bellwether for Southeast Asia. Based on surveys with over 1800 Thai officials, Blaxland claims that China’s influence has caught up and eclipsed that of the United States, with this tendency amplified by the Trump presidency and the perception of US political interference. At the same time though, strong affinities exist within the military for a continuing relationship with the US, especially in terms of security guarantees, training, and doctrine.
John Blaxland is Professor of International Security and Intelligence Studies and Head of the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre at the Australian National University, and Director of the ANU Southeast Asia Institute. He holds a PhD in War Studies from the Royal Military College of Canada, and is a graduate of the Royal Thai Army Command and Staff College and the Royal Military College, Duntroon. His full bio can be found here.
- Center for Global Affairs NYU School of Professional Studies