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Book review: Thai, Myanmar militaries bounded by politics, power, profit

Sense of entitlement has given generals the upper hand

Myanmar's junta chief, Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, presides over an Armed Forces Day parade in Naypyitaw on March 27. Like Thai leader Prayuth Chan-ocha, who also came to power through a putsch, he comes from a martial culture that believes generals are the best guardians of the country’s national ideology.   © Reuters

BANGKOK -- Shortly after Myanmar's military staged a coup on Feb. 1, the self-annointed junta chief, Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, sent a letter to Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, who came to power in his own coup in 2014. Min Aung Hlaing saw in the irascible former Thai army commander a man he could emulate since Prayuth had become the region's standard-bearer for successfully running a military-dominated state and in the process transforming himself into the premier of an elected, pro-military government.

Both men come from martial cultures where the military is not subject to civilian control but rather where the armed forces feel entitled to be political overlords, in the belief that the generals are the best guardians of their country's national ideology.

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