James Wise was Australia's Ambassador to Thailand from 2010 to 2014. He also worked in Thailand from 1995 to 1998, when he was Deputy Head of Mission at the Australian Embassy. He is now an independent consultant providing assessments and presentations on trends in the political economy of Thailand. James was an Australian diplomat for over 30 years. In addition to two postings to Thailand, he was High Commissioner to Malaysia (2003-2007) and had earlier postings to the Soviet Union (1987-1991) and Papua New Guinea (1983-1985).
An insightful analysis of Thai political history which views the complexities of modern Thailand from both a western and a Thai perspective.--Dr Robert Copper, author of CultureShock Thailand Judged in terms of its overall purpose of providing an introduction to Thai politics for the general reader, this book is an undoubted success ... Thai specialists, meanwhile, will find many of Wise's observations insightful and thought-provoking. Recent incidents of protest and counter-protest indicate that Thailand's long-standing political conflict is no nearer to resolution; as such, this book is both timely and likely to remain relevant for the foreseeable future--James Warren, Journal of the Siam Society Ultimately, Wise argues that there are two legitimacies among Thais today. The traditional legitimacy sees Thailand as existing within a karma-based, palace-centric moral hierarchy. Meanwhile the modern legitimacy views elections as sacrosanct and sovereignty deriving from the people ... It is outstanding and certainly deserves attention from readers interested in how Thailand's past has influenced its present and possible future--Paul Chambers, Kyoto Review of Southeast Asia The way in which Wise has harvested and synthesised insights from across the breadth of Thai studies is one of the great strengths of this book, and perhaps what makes it a particularly useful book for those new to trying to understand Thailand--Greg Raymond, New Mandala