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The Soldier and the Changing StateBuilding Democratic Armies in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas$
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Zoltan Barany

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691137681

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691137681.001.0001

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After Military Rule in Asia: South Korea, Thailand, and Indonesia

After Military Rule in Asia: South Korea, Thailand, and Indonesia

(p.178) Chapter 6 After Military Rule in Asia: South Korea, Thailand, and Indonesia
The Soldier and the Changing State

Zoltan Barany

Princeton University Press

This chapter discusses three Asian states: South Korea, Thailand, and Indonesia. The “good” case, South Korea, has been remarkably successful in consolidating democracy and carving out a proper place in the new institutional architecture for its armed forces. The “bad” case is Thailand where, after a promising though difficult fifteen-year democratization process, the military overthrew the elected government in 2006. Finally, the “interesting” case is Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim-majority state, where, against the expectations of most experts, the armed forces' political presence and influence have gradually diminished since 1998. The chapter explains why Korean officers have become the servants of the state, why their Indonesian colleagues have more or less given up their intention to run their country, and why members of the Royal Thai Armed Forces (RTAF) have been far more reluctant to relinquish their political role.

Keywords:   South Korea, Thailand, Indonesia, democratization, armed forces, political presence, Royal Thai Armed Forces

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