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The United States-Thailand Alliance. The United States-Thailand Alliance is the post-conference assignment by Young Leaders at The Future of US Alliances.

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Presentation on theme: "The United States-Thailand Alliance. The United States-Thailand Alliance is the post-conference assignment by Young Leaders at The Future of US Alliances."— Presentation transcript:

1 The United States-Thailand Alliance

2 The United States-Thailand Alliance is the post-conference assignment by Young Leaders at The Future of US Alliances in Asia, a US- Thailand-Philippines conference held Oct. 28- 29, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. A group of US and Thai Young Leaders provide an overview of the US-Thailand relationship. This visualization delivers a next generation perspective on ways to strengthen the alliance and lessen law enforcement cooperation, nontraditional security, military-to-military relationship, and developments with a rising China.

3 SCOPE Law Enforcement Cooperation Non-Traditional Security Military-to-Military Relationship The Alliance and a Rising China US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva shake hands during July 2009 bilateral meetings in Bangkok

4 ILEA-Bangkok The International Law Enforcement Academy – Bangkok was opened in 1999. ILEA seeks to support criminal justice institution-building in Asia, providing anti- crime and counter-narcotics capacity building to officials from across the region. The U.S. supports ILEA through funding as well as providing instructors from agencies including the FBI and DEA. Joint United States - Thai Oversight Committee which oversees the policies and operation of the Academy, meets in August 2010. Personnel attend a Computer Crime Investigation Course Students examine a facility diagram during a course on International Seaport Interdiction Training

5 Combating Transnational Crime USAID supports the New Life Center Foundation which protects rescued victims of human trafficking and tribal girls at risk for labor exploitation. Customs Agents at Los Angeles International Airport seize opium which they detected concealed inside rattan furniture arriving from Thailand. US Ambassador Eric John visits Laem Chabang port in April 2010. The US and Thailand collaborate on multiple inspection systems. Thailand signed a declaration of principles to participate in the Container Security Initiative in June 2003; joint US-Thai inspections target high-risk cargo containers. The Megaports Initiative, which provides passive radiation scanning equipment and training, went live at Laem Chabang in March 2009. Thailand continues implementation of its comprehensive anti-human trafficking law that came into force in 2008, including legal training and efforts to raise public awareness.

6 Countering Narcotics Thailand is one of 11 countries in which the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has established Sensitive Investigative Units (SIU). Personnel are vetted rigorously and receive specialized training to join SIU. The highly skilled SIU cadre work closely with the DEA to targeting drug trafficking organizations. The 2009 total seizures of methamphetamine pills in Burma, Thailand, and China amounted to more than 93 million, a threefold increase from the approximate 32 million pills seized in 2008. US and Thai personnel conduct training to increase the capacity of the Royal Thai Coast Guard in carrying out vessel boarding. Working closely with the Royal Thai Police, the Southern District of New York indicts Eight Leaders Of United Wa State Army (UWSA) in Eastern Burma on heroin and methamphetamine trafficking charges Viktor Bout being extradited to the Southern District of New York from Thailand. The indictment charges Bout on four counts of terrorism.

7 Impacts of Climate Change on Thailand Sea-level rise & storm surges Bangkok especially vulnerable – Hurt tourism Reduced agricultural & fishery yields yield Health-related problems, such as dengue Increased landslides

8 Thai Governments Response Becoming aware and issued National Strategy on Climate Change for 2008-2012 However many shortcomings: – Capacity gap – Weak enforcement of laws – Lack of in-depth studies – Anemic public participation

9 Effects on State & Society Worsen urban problems, especially in Bangkok – Spur discontent & put pressure on government Inflame rural discontent Flux of migrants from mainly Burma and Cambodia – Increase tensions with Burma Tensions with China over Chinese Mekong Dams

10 US Lower Mekong Initiative Launched in July 2009, the US will spend $187 million to help 4 Mekong countries in: 1)Climate change adaptation 2)Infrastructure development 3)Health 4)Education Key part is "sister-river" partnership between the Mekong River Commission and the Mississippi River Commissions Opportunity to increase ties with Thailand

11 Cobra Gold Cobra Golds roots can be traced to 1965 and Operation TEAMWORK, a Thai-US naval exercise. First combined exercise designated Cobra Gold was 1982. Largest multinational exercise in the world, with 10 observer nations in 2010. Training ranges from peacekeeping to humanitarian assistance and amphibious operations. US and Royal Thai Marines carry out gunnery drills during Cobra Gold 1996. Royal Thai and US Special Forces soldiers at Camp Pawai train on proper techniques for an intravenous infusion as part of Cobra Gold 1998. Forces from Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Thailand and the US coordinate Cobra Gold 2010 operations.

12 Capacity Building Large force aerial exercises such as Cope Tiger boost readiness and interoperability. Royal Thai Navy interest in acquiring submarines is supported by interactions with US submariners. Amphibious operations have been part of training since Operation TEAMWORK and remain critical due to regional geography. US and Royal Thai Marines train to conduct amphibious operations Briefing officers from the Royal Thai Navy frigate HTMS Chao Phraya on submarine operations aboard Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Louisville (SSN 724) US and Royal Thai Air Force officers discuss flight operations during Cope Tiger, one of over 40 joint Thai-U.S. exercises held annually.

13 Force Modernization Thailand is pursuing a three-phased program to bolster 18 F-16A/B block 15 aircraft with the Mid-Life Upgrade. Foreign Military Sales among several aspects includes spare and repair parts, support equipment, technical data, and personnel training. The MH-60s utility supports Royal Thai Navy maritime patrols and disaster relief operations. AH-1 Cobra being overhauled for Royal Thai Air Force in preparation for Foreign Military Sales. Royal Thai Navy acquired MH-60S through Foreign Military Sales, the first international customer of this Sikorsky helicopter. Royal Thai Air Force pursuing F-16 upgrades through Foreign Military Sales.

14 Military Education IMET was established with Thailand in 1951 and more Thais have trained under the program than any other nation. While assistance programs to Thailand were suspended from September 2006 through December 2007, the effort to reinstate it moved quickly once the Secretary of State certified to Congress that a democratically elected government was in place in Bangkok. US Ambassador Eric G. John congratulates Royal Thai Air Force Wing Commander Lt. Col. Jumphol Chantakamma, the first Thai officer to attend an IMET funded course once the U.S. reinstated funding in February 2008. He was selected to undertake English language training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas before attending the Air Command and Staff College at Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama. Royal Thai Army Lieutenant Colonel Nattawut Sabyeroop is honored as the 1000 th graduate of the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies (APCSS) Executive Course in December 2002.

15 Access and Sustainment Thailand remains a critical ally, providing essential sustainment facilities for US forces operating in the region and beyond. Familiarity and working relationships facilitated the effective response to the December 2004 Tsunami. A US Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules operating from Utapao Naval Air Station, Thailand during Operation UNIFIED ASSISTANCE. Lt. Gen. Robert Blackman Jr., Commanding General, III Marine Expeditionary Force meets with Gen. Boonsrang Niumpradit, Chief of Joint Staff, Royal Thai Supreme Command Headquarters, at Utapao during Operation UNIFIED ASSISTANCE. Marines and Sailors man the rails onboard USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49) as it prepares to moor at Sattahip Naval Base, Thailand during Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) during July 2009.

16 Thai-U.S. Military-to-Military Ties An alliance for over 50 years, but relations that date to the Treaty of Amity and Commerce of 1833. Security assistance programs supporting Royal Thai modernization and training. A long history of training engagements, included over 40 joint exercises each year. Logistics support that sustains US forces. An Airman from the US Air Forces 51st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron marshals an A-10 at Korat Royal Thai Airbase. US and Royal Thai Marines evacuate a colleague onboard a Royal Thai Navy SH-60 Seahawk helicopter during Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) July 2009. Advancing the MH-60S Foreign Military Sales program to bolster the Royal Thai Navys utility helicopter capability.

17 The US-Thai Alliance and the Rise of China: Challenges and New Directions

18 The Sino-Thai-US Background Although approximately 15% of Thais have Chinese ancestry, this has not always translated into a close political relationship. As a medium-size power in Asia, Thailand viewed post-World War II China as aggressive and considered Communism to be a threat. Thailand sided with the US and provided assistance to the US during the Korean War and Vietnam War.

19 1973: Turning Point Sino-Thai Relations In 1973, with a democratically elected government in Thailand amenable to opening relations with China, China offered to sell Thailand oil at friendship prices. Thailands Deputy Foreign Minister then visited China in 1973. In 1975, Thailand established formal diplomatic relations with China. Thailand and China became de-facto allies against Vietnam after Vietnam invaded Cambodia in 1978.

20 Thailands post-1978 Special Relationship With China Thailand has been able to play a key role as a bridge between China and ASEAN in the South China Sea disputes, as well as during the Taiwan Straits Crisis. China also helped Thailand after the Asian Financial Crisis in three major ways: 1) China gave $1 billion to the IMF bailout package for Thailand – its first-ever IMF contribution. 2) China participated in the Chiang Mai Initiative extending a credit line of $2 billion to Thailand. 3) Beijing earned Thai goodwill by not devaluating its currency

21 From the Plan of Action in 1999 to the Coup of 2006 The Plan of Action for the 21 st Century signed in 1999 and initiated by Thailand called for cooperation in trade and investment; defense security; judicial affairs; and science and technology with China. After the 2006 coup ousting Prime Minister Thaksin from power, the US cut military aid to Thailand worth $24 million. China responded by offering Thailand $49 million.

22 The Final Tally Has Chinas Charm Offensive worked in Thailand? Yes. 70% of Thais rank China as their closest friend. Only 2% view Chinas military power as a threat. In 2005 the PLA naval ships and a Thai frigate conduct joint exercises in the Gulf of Thailand for the first time. In July 2007, China and Thailand conduct Strike 2007, a 13-day exercise in Guangzhou involving two teams of 15 special forces from each country. In 2008, the China and Thailand conduct Strike 2008, the first Sino-Thai military exercises held in Thailand. There are plans to further enhance the security relationship.

23 Redefining the US-Thai alliance Whether or not Thailand is leaning toward China or balancing the US against China, the US-Thai alliance can focus on: 1) Mutual support in counterterrorism: Thailand can offer material assistance and support staff to the US overseas while the US can provide training and sell arms to Thailand to fight the insurgency in the South. 2) Establishing a unified strategy for the democratization of Burma, with the US providing assistance to Thailand in managing the refugee issue. 3) Coordinating disaster relief, pandemic reduction strategies, climate change policy, and peacekeeping missions. 4) The US can support China and Thailands warm relations, while reaffirming the long-term presence of US bases in Thailand.

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