This paper traces experiences of the Royal Thai Armed Forces in UN peacekeeping missions. A relatively small troop contributor at first, Thailand later took a high-profile role in the UN operations in East Timor during 1999-2005, and has continued since then to support several UN peacekeeping forces. The paper first discusses the rationales, development, and current status of Thailand's contributions. It then goes on to explore how, and to what extent, tasks and duties assigned under the UN peacekeeping framework to the dispatched forces, as well as experiences and lessons the Thai armed forces gained from their participation in missions, contribute to the diffusion of norms and the development of functional competencies relating to peacekeeping and human security protection within the Thai military. The paper finds that while the dispatched forces received invaluable benefits in terms of prestige, economic rewards and learning experiences from the peacekeeping operations under the UN command, including approaches to humanitarian assistance during the time of acute conflict and monitoring human rights violations, the human security norm underlying these functional competencies has yet to be fully internalized by the military as an institution. Yet, there are some areas, especially in civil-military affairs where competencies developed from the internal security operations and international peacekeeping operations can be mutually reinforcing.
- civil-military affairs
- norm diffusion
- peacekeeping operations
- rationales for providing peacekeepers
- United Nations