“Black Site: The Cold War and the Shaping of Thailand’s Politics” (DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2020.1717115) is the sixth article for a special issue for JCA’s 50th anniversary on the impacts of the Cold War in the region. It is authored by JCA editor-in-chief Kevin Hewison of the Department of Asian Studies at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA and the Centre for Macau Studies, University of Macau.
The abstract for the paper states:
The Cold War alliance between the USA and Thailand is well-known and well-documented. Rather than recounting the details of that alliance, this article examines some important political legacies associated with Thailand’s Cold War alliance with the USA, focusing on the period from the mid-1940s to the mid-1950s. The article examines efforts by the US Department of State and the Central Intelligence Agency to establish an anti-communist alliance that then had far-reaching impacts for Thailand’s political institutions. The focus is on three inter-related aspects of the bilateral relationship that, in the name of anti-communism, amounted to the destruction of nascent parliamentary democracy and the embedding of military authoritarianism: the abandonment of wartime ally Pridi Phanomyong; the elimination of his political allies; and the promotion of the military as a leading political force. The outcomes of these aspects of the bilateral relationship continue to reverberate for contemporary Thailand.