Thailand’s Polarized Politics: Entrenched Elite & Implications for U.S. Policy


James Stent

Bank of Asia (Retired)

Friday, June 28th, 2024


Over recent decades, the popular aspirations in Thailand for a fully democratic and more just society have run up against entrenched resistance and repression from an elite determined to defend its political control and economic privileges. Polarization between the contending forces has steadily increased.

Our guest, Jim Stent, will describe the underlying cultural and historical issues leading to polarization and will outline the issues at stake today between the contending forces. His presentation will include a discussion of how this domestic political drama conditions the geostrategic rivalry in Southeast Asia between China and the United States, and what the U.S. needs to do to retain the good will of Thailand, a major non-NATO ally.

Jim Stent worked for 18 years in Bangkok at Bank of Asia, a Thai Bank, serving as deputy president of the bank. He began his banking career with Citibank and, later, Crocker National Bank before joining the Bank of Asia. He has served on the Boards of Directors of banks in Thailand, China, Myanmar, and Mongolia. Mr. Stent received his B.A. degree from the University of California Berkeley and Master of Public Affairs from the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs where he focused on development economics. He speaks and reads Chinese and Thai. He now divides his time between residences in Thailand and California.

Date and Times

  • Friday, June 28th, 2024
  • 11:15 AM: Registration
  • 11:45 AM: Lunch
  • 12:30 PM: Speaker Presentation & Questions


  • Salad: Arugula & Field Greens Salad with Sliced Pear, Pomegranate Seeds & Toasted Walnuts with a Champagne Vinaigrette
  • Bread & Butter
  • Entree: Baked Chicken with a Ratatouille of Eggplant, Zucchini, Bell Pepper & Roasted Tomatoes Creamy Polenta & Sautéed Green Beans
  • Vegetarian Alternative: Portobello Mushroom Ratatouille of Eggplant, Zucchini, Bell Pepper & Roasted Tomatoes with Creamy Polenta & Sautéed Green Beans
  • Dessert: Coffee Crunch Cake over a Caramel Drizzle with Whipped Cream


  • $36 for World Affairs Council members
  • $41 for guests

Vaccination Requirements

Until further notice documentation of COVID vaccination will not be required to attend in-person events.


If you encounter difficulties with our online registration or wish to audit the presentation please email to reserve a spot by the registration deadline.

WACMB will accept auditors to this event, requiring notification to the WACMB office no later than Sunday, June 23, 2024 to Auditors will be allowed entry at 12:20 pm.

Registrations are due by Sunday, June 23, 2024


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