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Particularly since the 2014 coup, claims have been made regarding a loss of American interest and influence in Thailand, and a related rise in that of the Chinese. In a project begun before the coup, a new book delves deeply into this question and provides a comprehensive response. Shifting Ground combines secondary research, over 90 high-level interviews, and the author's experience and analysis in tracing Thailand's two most important bilateral relationships from the Second World War to the recent coup. Alongside four former Thai prime ministers--including Thaksin Shinawatra in an exclusive interview abroad--dozens of foreign ministers, ambassadors from both countries, and other US and Thai policymakers in and out of uniform offer their insights, information, and opinions. Each era of Thailand's relations with the US and China over the past seven decades is examined in full: politics, economics, military affairs, rights and governance, diplomacy, royalty, soft power, and regional dynamics. Shifting Ground further applies the lessons learned in Thailand to elsewhere in Southeast Asia, a significant theatre in which the 21st century's "great game" between the global powers is already being played.
With endorsements from the New York Times, the Council on Foreign Relations, Time, and Harvard University, Shifting Ground is being released by Zed Books and the University of Chicago Press on 15 October 2017.
FCCT member Benjamin Zawacki was a visiting fellow in the Human Rights Program at Harvard Law School in 2014-2015, and a term member on the Council on Foreign Relations through 2016. He was Amnesty International's Southeast Asia researcher for five years, and served as a policy adviser to President Jimmy Carter and two other "elders" in Myanmar. A regular contributor to the media, he has lived in Thailand for fifteen years. He holds degrees from the George Washington University Law School and the College of the Holy Cross.
Foreign Correspondents' Club of Thailand
Penthouse, Maneeya Center Building
518/5 Ploenchit Road (connected to the BTS Skytrain Chitlom station)
Patumwan, Bangkok 10330
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