The New Thai King’s Reign of Fear

The New Thai King’s Reign of FearThe overwhelming success of the reign of the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand, who died on Oct. 13, 2016, has evidently become an entrapment for his son Maha Vajiralongkorn, who has failed to follow in the footsteps of his much-revered father but instead is a mirror image. Some analysts have expected Vajiralongkorn to be…

MOAB Attack Signifies Longer US Stay, No Strategy

MOAB Attack Signifies Longer US Stay, No StrategyIf the US military’s use of the gigantic bomb that destroyed the Islamic State’s cave complex in Afghanistan’s Spin Ghar mountains signifies anything, it is not the availability of superior weapon systems or firepower, it is Washington’s intention to remain the leading actor in the Afghan conflict, one that apparently thinks a military solution to…

Jakarta Gubernatorial Runoff a Squeaker

Jakarta Gubernatorial Runoff a SqueakerMillions of Jakarta residents are set to cast their votes in a heated second-round gubernatorial election tomorrow, April 19, that is both a test of secular democracy in Indonesia and of President Joko Widodo’s political clout in delivering back to office one of his chief lieutenants, the incumbent, an ethnic Chinese-Christian, Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja. Arrayed…

Tension Ratchets Up on Korean Peninsula

Tension Ratchets Up on Korean PeninsulaDonald Trump and Kim Jong-un are engaged in a game of intimidation and one-upmanship that has China, desperate for stability on the Korean peninsula, warning that tensions could spin out of control. Kim, audaciously pushing the envelope, and Trump, the beneficiary of a tutorial from Chinese President Xi Jinping, may yet escalate from rhetoric to…

Indonesian Farmers Seek to Stop Cement Plant

Indonesian Farmers Seek to Stop Cement PlantDozens of women who have taken turns staging a heated protest – their feet encased in cement “shoes” – at the State Palace in Jakarta against the construction of a central Java cement factory have been catapulted to national attention after one of the women died of a heart attack.  The plans for the factory…

Breitbart’s Fake News on Immigration

Breitbart’s Fake News on ImmigrationThe conservative Breitbart news blog in the United States has assumed uncommon importance although its former executive chairman, Stephen K. Bannon, appears to be in a turf war with President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, that could result diminishing his power.  It is regularly cited as a source by President Trump. Breitbart continues to deliver…

US Attack on Syria a Step in the Wrong Direction

US Attack on Syria a Step in the Wrong DirectionUS President Donald Trump may be proving to have far more bark than bite – for which all must give thanks, so far. Trade war is not imminent and other Trumpisms are getting bogged down in Washington and the courts. But he is also backtracking on the one issue on which he might have started…

BJP aims at Delhi elections as Hinduization spreads

BJP aims at Delhi elections as Hinduization spreadsMunicipal elections in Delhi later this month have become politically significant for Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party at a time when its political opponents and critics are gradually resigning themselves to maybe as much as a decade of increasing Hindu nationalism in India’s social and political life. The BJP is launching an intense vote-winning campaign…

Indonesia’s Rogue Bank

Indonesia’s Rogue BankIn a country replete with financial scandals, there are few with as many twists and turns as Bank Century, whose near failure in 2008 spurred fears of a systemic collapse of Indonesia’s financial system before it was taken over by Bank Indonesia, the central bank, and fashioned into what became Bank Mutiara. The  bank is…

US Faces Growing Troubles in Asia

US Faces Growing Troubles in AsiaA bit more than two months into the new administration in Washington, DC, the US is arguably facing the severest threat since World War II to its military and diplomatic ascendency in Asia, a situation President Donald Trump seems, from his public statements, not to understand. And, although the president compounded the problems with his…