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Alliance Internalized: The Securitization of US-Thai Relations

05/17/2021 @ 9:00 am - 10:30 am

As the bedrock of the treaty alliance between Thailand and the United States was outward-oriented against the common external threat of communist expansionism, relations between Bangkok and Washington understandably became adrift after the end of the Cold War. Bilateral ties sunk to an unprecedented low during Thailand’s existential economic crisis in 1997-98 but perked up in new realignment in 2003, when Bangkok was designated a US major non-NATO ally (MNNA). Since then, two-way relations have been mired in the vicissitudes and machinations of Thailand’s domestic politics and the US’ moving balance between foreign policy interests and values. The Thai-US alliance has entered a new phase under the new reign from 2016 whereby Thai national security conception, practice and enforcement have broadened. As internal security to protect and promote Thailand’s ruling regime becomes paramount, the “securitization” of Thai foreign relations is likely to determine Thailand’s dealings abroad indefinitely.

Presenter: Dr. Thitinan Pongsudhirak is the Director of the Institute of Security and International Studies (ISIS) and Associate Professor of International Political Economy at the Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University. He has held visiting positions at John Hopkins’ SAIS, Stanford University, Yangon University, and Victoria University in New Zealand. He received his BA from the University of California at Santa Barbara, an MA from John Hopkins SAIS, and a PhD from the London School of Economics. He has published books and articles on a range of topics including on Thailand’s politics, political economy, foreign policy, and media as well as on ASEAN and East Asian security and economic cooperation. He has published more than 800 op-eds in news outlets such as The Bangkok Post and the International New York Times, and his comments and views are frequently quoted in international and local media.

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Moderator: Ann Marie Murphy is a Professor at the School of Diplomacy and International Relations, Seton Hall University, Senior Research Scholar at the Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University, and 2019-2010 ASEAN Research Program Fulbright Scholar. Dr. Murphy’s research interests include international relations and comparative politics in Southeast Asia, U.S. foreign policy toward Asia, and governance of non-traditional security issues. Dr. Murphy is a founding partner of the New York Southeast Asia Network and is currently completing a book on the impact of democracy on Indonesian foreign policy with the generous support of the Smith Richardson Foundation.

This event is part of the Southeast Asia Views America: Perceptions, Policies & Prospects virtual conference.

This event is organized by the Weatherhead East Asian Institute at Columbia University and cosponsored by the New York Southeast Asia Network (NYSEAN), the School of Diplomacy and International Relations at Seton Hall University and the APEC Study Center at Columbia University.


9:00 am - 10:30 am
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