Who Benefits from Yingluck’s Exile from Thailand?

Who Benefits from Yingluck’s Exile from Thailand?Former Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has apparently fled the country in advance of a court verdict on charges brought by the current military regime that could have seen her face a long prison term. She is assumed to have joined her brother, the billionaire populist Thaksin Shinawatra, who has been in exile, mostly in…

Afghanistan is About to Become Trump’s Folly

Afghanistan is About to Become Trump’s FollyUS President Donald Trump’s much awaited “new” Afghan strategy almost certainly will have little to contribute to ending the war, let alone “winning” it for the United States. While criticism has focused on the cost of the war, both human and financial, that the US would have to defray, pouring more troops in Afghanistan is…

Duterte’s Drug War Stumbles on Allegations of Teen’s Murder

Duterte’s Drug War Stumbles on Allegations of Teen’s MurderThe apparent Aug. 18 assassination by police of a 17-year-old student appears finally to have kicked off widespread objection to President Rodrigo Duterte’s murderous drug war and its spate of extrajudicial killings. The killing of Kian Delos Santos, who was dragged from his home, handed a gun and told to run as he screamed that…

Malaysia’s Najib Gets a White House Pass

Malaysia’s Najib Gets a White House PassIn asking Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak to the White House, US President Donald Trump has extended an invitation to arguably Southeast Asia’s biggest crook among the region’s current leaders and one who has jailed or threatened the country’s opposition into near irrelevance. The White House didn’t answer a request for comment. But in a…

Duterte, the Philippines and a Psychopathic Reign of Terror

Duterte, the Philippines and a Psychopathic Reign of TerrorIt is time for the Philippines to face up to the fact that its president, Rodrigo Duterte, is a psychopath drunk on killing. The reign of terror he has initiated and promoted has in just one year claimed more victims than the Islamic State, al-Qaeda and other Islamist terror groups have in the whole of…

The Singaporization of Hong Kong’s Judiciary

The Singaporization of Hong Kong’s JudiciaryHow independent of its government is the judicial system of Hong Kong? The question has been brought into stark relief by two decisions last week by its Court of Appeal handing out serious jail terms to young activists and student leaders who had earlier been sentenced to (and served) community service for those roles in…

South Korean Rightists Want Atomic Weapons to Match the North

South Korean Rightists Want Atomic Weapons to Match the NorthSouth Koreans have almost unanimously shrugged off the threat of a holocaust they are sure is not about to happen in the confrontation between the United States and North Korea while rightists are using the crisis to demand that the South go nuclear-- matching the North’s nuclear weapons arsenal with as many or more. Kim…

China’s Moneybag Friends at Harvard University

China’s Moneybag Friends at Harvard UniversityThe level and sources of funding from China-linked tycoons and institutions for Harvard University is opaque and prodigious, and calls into question just how the dons at the US’s most prestigious educational institution handle the influence and remain unfettered academically and intellectually. Harvard is not unique in being a soft but influential voice on China…

US’s Tillerson Stirs up The South China Sea

US’s Tillerson Stirs up The South China SeaUnited States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s visit to Southeast Asia has exposed how the US’s current obsession with North Korea is undermining more important long-term interests. The only good thing one could say about the visit, which took in the Philippines – for ASEAN’s 50th anniversary – Thailand and Malaysia was that his words…

The Mystery Behind Singapore’s Expulsion of a Chinese-American Academic

The Mystery Behind Singapore’s Expulsion of a Chinese-American AcademicThe Singapore government’s decision to expel a high-ranking Chinese-American academic on the grounds of working for an unnamed foreign power has raised questions for which answers might not be obvious. It also raised an issue so sensitive that it is seldom openly discussed. The individual was Huang Jin, a former Brookings Institution Fellow and head…