Walt, The Origins of Alliances , p. Waltz, Theory of International Politics , p. Rothstein, Alliances and Small Powers , pp.
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Morrison and Suhrke, Strategies of Survival , p. Confidential communication, Bangkok-based journalist, March Confidential interview, former Thai security official, Bangkok, March 6, Interview with Kavi Chongkittavorn, Bangkok, January See Pasuk and Baker, Thailand , p. Richard S. Confidential interviews with Thai security analysts, Bangkok, March 7, Article Metrics Views.
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Challenging the view that the Bangkok-centered state actually had control and legitimate claims over many peripheral areas now naturally considered part of Thailand including the restive Malay-Muslim southern provinces , Thongchai Winichakul boldly takes on the nationalist strains of Thai historiography.
His narration of different methods of mapping the nation in the 19th century also makes for an extremely engaging read. Edited by R. Cambridge University Press, A former academic-turned-politician, Anek Laothamatas argues that the fragility of Thailand's democracy stems from a rift between the rural and urban sectors. Those in rural Thailand see democracy as a means of gaining immediate benefits from local politicians, while Bangkok's urban middle class believes that democracy should bring forth professional experts with programmatic goals.
The numerical dominance of the rural sector often enables it to elect politicians devoted to its interests, thus rankling the urban middle class.
This, in turn, pushes the middle class to support military coups as a way of eliminating corrupt politicians. The result is a country deeply split in terms of its perception of democracy, where the rural people have the numbers to impose their vision, but the urban people the capacities and networks to reject and overturn that choice. The current political crisis fits nicely into Laothamatas' framework. When published in its Thai version, this article generated extensive public discussion.
By Yoshifumi Tamada. Trans Pacific Press, Purchase at Amazon.
Yoshifumi Tamada, a professor at Kyoto University, has mined a wealth of data on Thai politics and crafted a distinct and insightful argument on the elitist nature of Thai democracy. He argues that the middle class in Thailand is by no means a force for democracy. Furthermore, he claims that the framers of a "people's constitution" in -- heralded as a major act of political reform -- were driven by elitist concerns that do not strengthen a truly people-oriented democratic regime.
The book thus provides a sharp critique of the liberal political reforms undertaken in Thailand. Pacific Review 18, no. Contrary to the widely held view in Thailand that the king stands above politics, Duncan McCargo argues that the king is not a neutral actor but in fact often exercises political influence through his proxies, most notably Prem Tinsulanonda, the president of the Privy Council and former army chief and prime minister. McCargo's thesis, conceived initially to explain the struggle between the monarchy and former Prime Minister Thaksin over authority in southern Thailand, provides a compelling frame for understanding the coup and the tensions that have boiled over afterward.