Security strategy under uncertainty : the behavior of Thailand in East Asian power shifts
Lee, Corene Qian
Date of Issue2017
College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences
With the looming power shifts in East Asia, it is crucial to examine Thailand’s strategic behavior towards China and the United States within the period of 1946 to 2016. As the ‘balance of power’ theory was not as well established for secondary states, the article aims to examine the conditions required for their preferred use of strategic behaviors such as balancing, bandwagoning or hedging. To have a better understanding of Thailand’s strategic behaviors, the article will focus on three periods of power shifts – Cold War, Post-Cold War and the 21st Century. In contrary to the predictions that countries only balance against or bandwagon with rising major powers made by the ‘balance of power’ theory, Thailand showed a preference in the hedging strategy to maximize gains of the alliances. Findings reveal that Thailand is currently hedging with both major powers, and at the same time exhibiting low-intensity bandwagoning with China. As Thailand practices the principle of pragmatism in her diplomacy and her minimal power asset in contributing to the defense alliances, the article argues that Thailand will most likely continue to adopt a hedging approach with either a low-intensity balancing against or bandwagoning with China in future.
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University