Nonaligned, Third World, and Other Ground Armies: A Combat Assessment

By Colonel Reuven Gal; Richard A. Gabriel | Go to book overview

The "Young Turks" were initially middle-grade officers who formed around a core of key battalion commanders. This group was depicted as a symbol of the rising disparity between the conservative rightist old guard of the political-military establishment and the foreign-trained younger officer with the new professional approach to military leadership. 59 The "Young Turks" were instrumental in gaining the prime ministership for the supreme commander of the armed forces, Kriangsak, in October 1977. Shortly after taking power, he attempted to depoliticize the officer corps.

The prime minister's annual appointment of military officers on October 1 has institutionalized the attainment of military positions through political means. The criterion for promotion within the Thai officer corps should be effective leadership rather than successful organizational politics. The development of the Royal Thai Army into a modern conventional fighting force has been constrained by the increasing politicism of the higher echelons of the Thai Army.


Conclusions

The Royal Army of Thailand can provide only a temporary national defense against invasion by the superior People's Army of Vietnam. The government of Thailand would have to rely on the regional interests of the United States and the People's Republic of China in order to counter such an attack. The Vietnamese military superiority has forced the government of Thailand to rely on the skillful use of international diplomacy to ensure national security.

The Thai government must initiate a more substantial military modernization program which will improve the combat-effectivenesss of the army's field units. A more difficult move will be to change the priorities of the Thai officer corps. The primary mission of the First Army regional command should be national security rather than political considerations. The Royal Thai Army must depoliticize its ranks in order to become an effective conventional military force.

Improvement in the Royal Army's future military capabilities will be dependent upon continual access to American military equipment and supply. The construction of another Soviet naval facility at Ream in Kampuchea in 1979 illustrates the growing Soviet military presence in Indochina. This emergence of Soviet power in Southeast Asia may result in the reopening of U.S. military bases in Thailand. The future security of Thailand may become increasingly reliant on the Asian security interests of the United States.


Notes
1.
John W. Henderson, Area Handbook for Thailand ( Washington, D.C.: U.S. Army, 1971), p. 42.

-97-

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Nonaligned, Third World, and Other Ground Armies: A Combat Assessment
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Maps, Figures, and Tables ix
  • Foreword xi
  • Preface xv
  • Acknowledgments xvii
  • Introduction xix
  • India and Pakistan 3
  • Bibliography 26
  • China 29
  • Bibliography 53
  • Vietnam 55
  • Notes 74
  • Notes 76
  • Thailand 79
  • Notes 97
  • Bibliography 100
  • North Korea 103
  • Notes 124
  • Notes 125
  • South Korea 127
  • Bibliography 150
  • Japan 153
  • Bibliography 172
  • Australia 177
  • Note 190
  • Bibliography 190
  • Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) 191
  • Bibliography 207
  • South Africa 209
  • Notes 221
  • Notes 222
  • Cuba 225
  • Notes 241
  • Notes 243
  • Yugoslavia 247
  • Notes 259
  • Notes 261
  • Index 263
  • About the Contributors 275
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