Thailand’s Monarch Seeks to Return to the Kingdom of Siam

Thailand’s Monarch Seeks to Return to the Kingdom of SiamThailand, once known as the Land of Smiles, is a country today seemingly trapped in a perpetual nightmare, headed by a half-mad king determined to return the country to the era before Pradjadhipok, or Rama VII, the seventh king of the House of Chakri and the last absolute monarch of the country after the military…

Trump Budget Cuts Endanger Developing Nations’ Clean Energy Plans

Trump Budget Cuts Endanger Developing Nations’ Clean Energy PlansIf US President Donald Trump has his way, developing countries will struggle more than ever to clean up their energy programs. Clean energy innovation is one of the main casualties of Trump's detailed budget proposal for 2018, released yesterday. It is US research networks that drive the low-carbon innovations that many developing countries benefit from. The budget also includes…

Philippines’ Duterte Raises Concerns with Martial Law Edict

Philippines’ Duterte Raises Concerns with Martial Law EdictIn a move that to critics called up the bad old days of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos, Philippine President Rodrigo has placed the southern island of Mindanao under martial law, which allows the president to call out the armed forces to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion. Duterte made the decision on…

President Trump’s Flying Circus

President Trump’s Flying CircusPresident Donald Trump’s ability to lose friends and influence for America seems endless. The once US-led Trans Pacific Partnership involving countries on both sides of that ocean may effectively be dead following the US withdrawal in January from the group it had struggled so hard to build. But in a gesture of what amounts to…

Vietnam: Steady as She Goes

Vietnam: Steady as She GoesNormally, the eviction of a member from the Politburo of a ruling Communist Party would be a sign of internal friction and potential political instability. In the case of Vietnam, with its unparalleled history of collective leadership such an event was barely thinkable, especially just a year after the reshuffle of top posts at the…

Malaysia Goes After Influential Opposition News Portal

Malaysia Goes After Influential Opposition News PortalThe Malaysian government, having gone after social media platforms and a long list of other social critics, is now turning its attention to Malaysiakini, the most influential of the country’s independent news portals, and increasing its detention of social activists. Amnesty International and Article 19, two international rights organizations, have condemned the government’s decision to…

The Izumo Deployment: Japan’s Hat In the Ring

The Izumo Deployment: Japan’s Hat In the RingThe maiden deployment of Japan’s largest post-WWII warship, the JS Izumo to a South China Sea cruise at a time when the US and China in particular are contesting for political and military primacy in the region has set tongues wagging in many parts of the world, particularly in Beijing.  It is Japan’s biggest foray…

A New Look at North Korea

A New Look at North KoreaThe Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has been in the news a lot lately, with the DPRK testing new missiles and the United States moving a naval strike group off the Korean peninsula.  The commentary almost always revolves around strategic issues, especially North Korea’s nuclear program. But in focusing so narrowly on the country’s military and…

India Shies Away from the OBOR Party

India Shies Away from the OBOR PartyChinese President Xi Jinping's highly-choreographed One Belt One Road Summit in Beijing last weekend, touted as China’s “grand coming out globalization party,” saw attendance from presidents, prime ministers and global leaders from 28 countries. However, one country was conspicuous by its absence from the megawatt show: India. The event was aimed to map out China's…

China’s OBOR Vision: No Development Masterpiece

China’s OBOR Vision: No Development MasterpieceThe One Belt-One Road summit held last weekend in Beijing is fundamentally the elaboration of a Chinese dream wherein participant countries appear only as facilitators and fade away when compared with the gains China would make out of it. A look at the extent of money China is planning to pour in justifies the contention…
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