Pavin Chachavalpongpun speaks at the Southeast Asia Seminar on 8 November 2017.
Thai foreign policy is traditionally shaped by the changing international environment. The coup of 2014 has exacerbated the political conflict and powerfully prescribed the way in which the country pursued its relations with the outside world. This talk argues that changing international circumstances have allowed the military regime to entrench itself in the political realm and to exploit the latest global trend to achieve self-legitimization. In this new trend, China has emerged to shift the regional balance of power and contest the hegemony of the US, now with President Donald Trump at a wobbly helm. Elsewhere, democracy and regionalism is being seriously challenged, as seen in Europe and Asia. Riding on such trend, the Thai military government is steering the country closer towards not-so-democratic states in the region while moving its foreign policy away from its traditional allies in the West. The military government is taking advantage from the growing anti-democratic tendency as a way to fulfil its legitimacy on the global stage.