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Sittipat, Nattaporn (2019) Domestic Elites, Military Regimes, and Thai Foreign Policy Making. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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It is generally acknowledged that Thai foreign policies in military regimes are subject to international pressures, leading the leaders to make policies to ensure the survival of the nation. Although existing literature on Thai foreign policy in military regimes discussing the effects of international pressures on Thai foreign policies is comprehensive, studies on what the features of the instability of the ruling coalitions in Thai military regimes are, and how this instability influences belligerent Thai foreign policies are relatively thin. In this thesis, I challenge the existing literature on Thai foreign policy in military regimes by arguing that the instability of ruling coalitions in Thai military regimes has two features: The conflicts among the elite groups in the military regimes and an inability of the military groups to use military force to resolve these conflicts. I also argue that the instability within the ruling coalitions of the military regimes has had a profound effect on Thai foreign policy making, precisely because the instability encourages the military groups to turn to utilise foreign policy as a means to stabilise their domestic power. I will illustrate my arguments in the case of Thai foreign policy which includes an analysis of the Japanese invasion of British Burma in 1941, during Phibunsongkhram’s administration, the Laos Crisis from 1961 to 1962 during Field Marshal Sarit Thanarat’s administration, and the Khmer Rouge and the Vietnam Invasion in 1983 during General Prem Tinsulanonda’s administration. This thesis is useful for the study of Thai foreign policy in military regimes because it fleshes out an account of the influence of elite groups’ disunity on foreign policy making that was neglected by the existing literature on Thai foreign policy in military regimes. However, it should be noted that by using only the three historical cases of Thailand, the main arguments advanced in this thesis are limited to explain foreign policy making of military regimes in other countries outside the selected cases.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses
Supervisors Name: Dafydd Fell
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 21 Jul 2021 10:06
Funders: Other

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