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American political interference in Thailand

By Ong Dam,

Feb 22, 2023


 

For decades, Thai-US relations were based on fear of communism. American military defeat in Vietnam and the temporary withdrawal from the region caused Thailand and communist China to develop connections to deal with conflicts such as the Cambodian civil war. Thailand has become less fearful of communism and China since the cold war, evident in Thailand's policy of amnesty and negotiation with communists and the excellent relationship between the Thai government and the royal family towards China. Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn is the recipient of China's Friendship Medal. The US attempts to reassert itself in southeast Asia is a policy of preventing improved relations with China. More often than not, it tries to turn militaries in the regions against China.


Thailand's culture is historically collectivist while maintaining a relatively high tolerance towards individuals due to Buddhist influence. The United States has and continues to promote American political and cultural ideas, such as capitalism, individualism, and bourgeois democracy, to prevent the influence of communists and other perceived threats to American hegemony through US-funded organizations, including the CIA, USAID, Peace Corps, United States Information Service (USIS) and currently the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) as well as military cooperation and funding of elements of the Thai military. US attempts to support and influence both the conservative and authoritarian Thai military, and reformist elements of Thailand's citizenry have created much confusion and pain to the detriment of all parties involved - except for the US military-industrial complex, which benefits from the demand of conflicts to supply.

Whether one is a believer in American-styled democracy, communism, or even Thai conservatism, the US policy in Thailand harms the development of all 3 in place of needless destruction by weapons made in the US used by militaries against activists - both of which are trained and funded by US taxpayer money. Those with expertise in this topic have a variety of preferences however are unified in their lack of satisfaction with US policy in Thailand. Many Thai government bureaucrats and citizens fear attracting the attention of the US in fear of escalation, which is why there is relatively little awareness of this issue. The end of the US's dysfunctional meddling in Thailand and other nations will require increased awareness and education of locals and Americans. American Citizens must realize that entanglement with distant countries results in bloodshed and hypocrisy and should instead advocate for solving problems domestically.

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