Politics and the Southeast Asian Armed Forces

  • P.N. Abinales


This paper seeks to discuss Southeast Asia’s armed forces and their political impact on their respective societies in the light of the deepening transnationalization process in the region. It shall outline the points of similarity that broadly identify the nature of these military establishments in the regional context. It shall also indicate the distinctions among these armed forces to stress the fact that no armed forces are entirely similar to the others. Armed forces occupy important positions in State apparatuses. They are part and parcel of the State leadership and the decision making power bloc. The extent of their corporate interests spans not just the State but also the whole society. They influence State internal policies and external relations. Anti-communism has been the most enduring ideological value/belief among armed forces in the region. Most of them are organically linked with the United States and other Western powers.