Thailand and the Philippines have very different military traditions. Nevertheless both militaries are profoundly involved in their countries’ politics.

This lecture examines ways in which soldiers came to, and continue to, influence political developments in Thailand and the Philippines.

Video Sections:

Military Politics in Thailand:
Military Politics in the Philippines:

Banner:  MANILA, PHILIPPINES- JUNE 12: Military academy perform at The Philippines Independence day on June 12, 2014 in Manila. Tony Magdaraog /

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Dr. Mesrob Vartavarian is a Visiting Fellow at Cornell University’s Southeast Asia Program. He studied history at UCLA (BA/MA) and Cambridge (PhD) and began his career as a scholar of early colonial South Asia but has since shifted his research focus to modern Southeast Asia with an emphasis on the Philippines. His interests include colonial state formation, plunder politics, borderland insurgencies by ethnic minorities, postcolonial praetorian regimes, and Cold War-era conflicts across insular and mainland states. His publications have appeared in Modern Asian Studies, the Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient, South East Asia Research, Kyoto Review of Southeast Asia, and the IIAS Newsletter. Dr. Vartavarian is currently working on a monograph-length study of the Philippine military after Marcos.