HomeAsia-Pacific Social Science Reviewvol. 10 no. 2 (2010)

Understanding Civil-Military Relations Today: The Case of Thailand with Implications for Emerging Democracies in Asia

Paul Chambers

Discipline: Social Science, Politics, Military



Like other young Asian democracies, Thailand has seen its military play a leading role in the country’s authoritarian past. Yet despite the advent of democracy, vestiges of authoritarianism have continued to linger. This study analyzes relations of civilians and soldiers with regard to their balance of decision-making power in the case of Thailand, introducing a framework for analyzing civilian control. Yet exactly how has the civil-military balance-of-power shifted in Thailand? In what areas of civilian control do the armed forces today hold the most sway? What does continuing military involvement say about contemporary state Thai politics? What are the implications of our analysis for the study of civil-military relations, especially in emerging democracies of Asia? This study addresses these questions.