Politics in Thailand

Politics in Thailand

Politics in Thailand

Politics in Thailand

Excerpt

Thailand is not an important nation in terms of international power. It has a small population (perhaps 25,500,000). It can muster only a small army. It commands no important trade routes. Its economic potential does not appear to be very great and remains little developed even though Thai farmers contribute over 1,000,000 tons of rice to the international market each year. The kingdom's gross geographical product in 1950 has been estimated to have been only about one and a quarter billion dollars, of which 57 per cent originated in agricultural and extractive industry.

From the point of view of the Southeast Asian peninsula, however, Thailand is a nation of importance. Its size and potential are not out of proportion to those of its major neighbors--Burma, Vietnam, and Malaya--and are considerably greater than those of Laos and Cambodia. Given the strategic importance of this area south of China, east of India, and north of Indonesia, the study of Thailand has an extrinsic and immediate interest. As a member of the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization and an avowed adherent of the Western side of the Cold War, Thailand's nature and future are of particular interest to the United States of America and its allies.

As a political phenomenon Thailand also has genuine intrinsic interest. The fact that of all the nations of South Asia . . .

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