The Mess in the Middle East

The Mess in the Middle EastThe “Great Game” being played in the Middle East with Syria and Iraq as the center rings bears a superficial similarity to the power political maneuverings of the dominant European states in their African and Asian periphery during the 19th century. There is a somewhat closer resemblance to the Spanish civil war in the mix…

Historic Climate Pact Endangered

Historic Climate Pact EndangeredUS President Donald Trump’s campaign promise to “cancel the Paris Agreement” is one step closer to reality after leaders from the Group of 20 richest economies backtracked on pledges to allocate $100 billion per year by 2020 for climate change response. The trend will hit hardest in countries that are not only vulnerable to climate…

Obama’s Tilt to Asia: Too Little, Too Late

Obama’s Tilt to Asia: Too Little, Too LateDonald Trump is encountering a fusillade of criticism alleging that his approach to Asia is creating a vacuum that will be eagerly filled by Beijing.  But those making this argument would be much more honest if they acknowledged that part of the blame lies with Trump’s predecessor as well. That Barack Obama deserves some censure…

Philippines’ Duterte Buckles to China

Philippines’ Duterte Buckles to ChinaA submerged extinct volcanic ridge at least 3,000 meters underwater that is 350 km. east of the Philippines’ coast appears likely to be the next flashpoint between Manila and Beijing, at least partly because the Duterte administration is at sea over strategy. On March 9, Delfin Lorenzana, the Philippines Defense Secretary, told reporters that satellite…

China Braces for ISIS impact

China Braces for ISIS impactIn Chinese President Xi Jinping’s call for building a “great wall of iron” to shield his country against a possible infiltration by the Islamic State, or ISIS, lies China’s acknowledgement that it is as much vulnerable to this threat as any other country. That is forcing a clear change in Beijing’s traditional security concepts and…

India’s Treasured National Park Under Fire

India’s Treasured National Park Under FireIndia’s Kaziranga National Park, a stunning forest refuge on the banks of the Brahmaputra River south of the Himalaya mountain range, has become the center of worldwide concern over charges that it is a killing field of tribal people in the name of protection of park animals. Survival International, the London-based tribal rights organization, issued a…

Korean Democracy: Alive and Well

Korean Democracy: Alive and WellSerious concerns have been raised about the erosion of democracy in Korea under two successive conservative governments and, in particular, the current Park Geun-hye administration, which has just been booted from office. The critics have cited party infighting, history textbook controversy, Park’s uncommunicative leadership style, passage of an anti-terror law, a clampdown on street protest,…

Torture, Rape in Myanmar

Torture, Rape in MyanmarWhen soldiers went searching for militants in Myanmar's Rakhine state last October, the result for members of the Rohingya minority was disastrous. Villages were burned, men were killed, women were sexually abused. And when one woman complained of rape, she was accused of lying by the office of the country's leader, Aung San Suu Kyi,…

Reining in the Philippine Mining Industry

Reining in the Philippine Mining IndustryJustina Yu, the mayor of an obscure town in Davao Oriental Province, has had a passion for the environment since she moved to a rural town in Mindanao on her wedding day five decades ago. In her new home she had a view of a mountain that she felt was calling her, watching it shrouded…

Book Review: A Swiss Myth’s Pinoy incarnation

Book Review: A Swiss Myth’s Pinoy incarnationIt is an unfamiliar bond, but the largely hidden one between the Philippines and Switzerland is being celebrated anew. The Philippine national hero paid a compliment to the, albeit mythical, Swiss one. Now the compliment has been returned with a prize-winning novel by a Swiss about the Philippine hero. Jose Rizal is primarily remembered as…
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