Malaysia’s Kleptocrat-in-chief Visits The Donald

Malaysia’s Kleptocrat-in-chief Visits The DonaldWhen Prime Minister Najib Razak of Malaysia meets US President Donald Trump at the White House on Sept. 12, as nearly as it can be determined, it will be the first time America’s chief executive has ever met with a foreign leader being pursued by the US Justice Department for corruption. Najib is infamously known…

India’s Modi Strengthens his Cabinet

India’s Modi Strengthens his CabinetNarendra Modi has carried out his most significant government reshuffle since becoming India’s prime minister three years ago, with ministerial moves that strengthen three top posts while at the same time balancing the political interests of different states and illustrating the limited talent available at senior levels. The headline-grabbing appointment is that of Nirmala Sitharaman, 58, who…

With ASEAN Toothless, The Region Needs a New Naval Pact

With ASEAN Toothless, The Region Needs a New Naval PactThe security challenges facing the Southeast Asian region increasingly call into question the relevance of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, whose inability to assert international law stems from its blind hope that Beijing will hold up to its promises, which has been a failed hope indeed given China’s actions in ignoring all the littoral…

Book Review: China at War

Book Review: China at WarHistory, whether written by academics or popular writers, is usually delivered in easily recognizable chunks with familiar faces – the Pacific War, the Korean War, the Chinese Revolution, etc. But it is often the links between events that tell a more coherent story. Hans van de Ven, professor of Modern Chinese History at Cambridge University,…

Book Review: The General vs. The President

Book Review: The General vs. The PresidentHarry S Truman ascended to the presidency of the United States on April 12, 1945, a plain-spoken career politician and product of the political machine of Boss Tom Pendergast in Kansas City. It is clear that Douglas MacArthur, regarded arguably as the greatest American general of World War II, regarded him as little more than…

Uber-Style Attack on the US$60-trillion Global Securities Industry

Uber-Style Attack on the US$60-trillion Global Securities IndustryA few years ago, Arifa Khan, a former investment banker with Credit Suisse and UBS, realized that she had found the power to do to investment banking what Uber has done to the private taxi industry. The current investment banking model, the London-based Khan believes, with a good deal of justification, is inherently rigged against…

Indonesia’s Woeful Education System

Indonesia’s Woeful Education SystemIndonesia’s education system is saddled with a long series of difficulties including poor education funding, arbitrarily changing educational curricula, political favoritism, with teachers’ jobs dependent on the sufferance of principals and many other problems. That has led to a ranking by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Program for International Student Assessment of 62nd…

Japan Under North Korea’s Missiles

Japan Under North Korea’s MissilesJapan awoke Wednesday to television news and civil defense instructions to take cover in secure buildings or underground as a North Korean ballistic missile passed over parts of Hokkaido before landing in open sea. “Missile Passing, Missile Passing,” screamed a public service announcement. Commuters faced train delays even as far away as Tokyo. “All lines…

India and China in a Water War

India and China in a Water WarWith more than 32 million people hit by floods in four Indian states so far this year, New Delhi is growing increasingly frustrated over China’s refusal to share current river data despite bilateral agreements requiring Beijing to pass on the information for downstream flood control. The data from upper riparian China to lower riparian India…

Malaysia at 60: The Promise Fades

Malaysia at 60: The Promise FadesOn Aug. 31, Malaysia will celebrate – if that is the proper word – the 60th anniversary of its founding with its people subdued and with a government widely regarded as a kleptocacy. It is wracked with a continuing scandal that has robbed the exchequer of an estimated US$11.4 billion lost to fraud and mismanagement…