The Thai delegation to the Southeast Asia Treaty
Organization (SEATO) conference in Bangkok in 1955
Courtesy National Archives
Diplomacy has served Thailand well, enabling the kingdom to manage its foreign affairs flexibly and relatively unencumbered by intrusions of major foreign powers. Remarkably adaptive to shifts in international currents, Thailand has almost always aligned itself with the dominant power in the region in its effort to ensure security, increase trade, and preserve national independence. In the 1980s, its primary concern was to normalize relations with Cambodia and Laos--relations that were complicated by the Vietnamese military presence in these countries.