Thailand: Shifting Ground Between the US and a Rising China 

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Since the World War II, Thailand has positioned itself as a key strategic ally of the United States, serving as a bulwark against communism in Southeast Asia and as a base for American troops during the Vietnam War. In return, the United States has provided millions of dollars in military and economic aid, while staunchly supporting the country's despotic regimes. However, recent decades have seen a striking reversal in Thailand's foreign relations, with China, once a sworn enemy, now treated as a valued ally by the Thai junta. This shift reflects China's growing status as a world power, and it represents a major setback to American efforts at curbing the spread of Chinese influence in Asia. It has also had a dramatic impact on Thailand itself, as the country's ruling elite seek to follow the Chinese model of authoritarianism combined with neoliberalism. In this up-to-date study of Thai foreign policy, Benjamin Zawacki provides a compelling account of Thailand's modern history and its changing role in the world order, from the beginning of its alliance with the United States in 1945 to the 2014 coup and beyond. Featuring extensive interviews with more than seventy high-level figures in Thailand and the United States, including deposed prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, the book offers unprecedented insight into the inner workings of the Thai elite and their dealings with the United States and China. As the Sino-American rivalry escalates, Southeast Asia will become an increasingly important theater in global affairs. Understanding the current transitions of power in Thailand are essential for comprehending the profound implications of China's influence, not only for the region, but for the wider world.

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