In an interview last week, Thailand’s army chief said that the military was currently facing a “hybrid war” waged by its enemies. While his comments were lacking in specifics, the characterization nonetheless highlighted the broader evolution of the Thai military’s threat perception within its contemporary political and security environment.
As I have observed before in these pages, the development of Thailand’s military and its threat perception has occurred alongside amid the evolution of the political and security environment in Thailand. Key developments in that regard have included the struggle against communist insurgents during the Cold War, the intensification of the insurgency in the country’s south since the 2000s, and a pattern of occasional military interventions into the country’s politics, with the last one coming in May 2014. That coup first brought Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to power, which he retained in an election held earlier this year