The UK’s May, India’s Modi Go for “Strong and Stable”

The UK’s May, India’s Modi Go for “Strong and Stable”Any political leader must envy Theresa May, Britain’s prime minister, who has already virtually won the UK’s general election, even though it doesn’t take place for another month, without promising anything more than “strong and stable government.” She has avoided being questioned by the media and by critical voters, and has not explained how she…

Trump’s Meddling in Asia

Trump’s Meddling in AsiaUnited States President Donald Trump’s focus on North Korea is playing into Chinese hands and, by default, further weakening the US position in a Southeast Asia increasingly subject to Chinese carrots and sticks. Trump’s “war” on the North makes little sense either at a time when the South seems about to elect as president Moon…

Korean Presidential Favorite’s Historic Chance…

Korean Presidential Favorite’s Historic Chance…Anything can happen in Presidential politics – take, for instance, the United States – but it is all but certain that Moon Jae-in, a persistent anti-government foe, will be elected South Korea’s president Tuesday to succeed the acting president, Hwang Kyo-ahn, standing in for the impeached Park Geun-Hye. In the seventh presidential election since adoption…

Coming Soon: One Country, One System

Coming Soon: One Country, One SystemDespite strong official backing by Beijing, Hong Kong’s future Chief Executive, Carrie Lam Yuet-ngor, promised to heal the divisions in society. Yet in the runup to her installation on July 1, it appears increasingly that the healing of divisions is going to be accomplished by silencing one half of that divide. Actions and words in…

An Irrelevant ASEAN Limps to a Filipino Gala

An Irrelevant ASEAN Limps to a Filipino GalaAnybody wondering what useful came out of the 2017 Association of Southeast Asian Nations leaders’ summit in Manila over the weekend may read this brief communique. The answer is clear: very little besides what appears to have been quite a party. We, the Heads of State/Government of ASEAN Member States, gathered for the 30th ASEAN Summit…

Prabowo Reappears as an Indonesian Political Force

Prabowo Reappears as an Indonesian Political ForceIt is a stunning indication of the cynicism of Indonesian religious and political practice that, a day after he was soundly defeated in his bid for reelection as Jakarta governor, blasphemy charges against Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama were basically withdrawn by prosecutors -- reduced to a request for probation. Charges that Ahok, as the governor…

Malaysian Opposition Figure Calls Premier a Crook, Faces Suit

Malaysian Opposition Figure Calls Premier a Crook, Faces SuitMalaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, who as “Malaysian Public Official 1” is the target of what was said to be the largest single action ever brought under the US’s Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative, is suing Democratic Action Party National Spokesman Tony Pua for calling him a thief. The prime minister’ legal action against Pua has…

Usually Outclassed by China, India Scores a Few Points

Usually Outclassed by China, India Scores a Few PointsWhile international attention has been preoccupied with Donald Trump and his reactions to North Korea’s nuclear capability and the war in Syria, India and China have been provocatively needling each other over their long-running and potentially explosive border dispute in the Himalayan mountains. The world need not worry however because, instead of nuclear strikes or…

Thai Critic Faces Death Threat

Thai Critic Faces Death ThreatPavin Chachavalpongpun has become one of the most implacable critics of the country’s ruling king, Maha Vajiralongkorn, and the junta that took over the country in a coup in 2014. Now that may have put his life in danger from the country’s erratic and violence-prone king. Recently the military decreed that anybody who even read…

New Round of Repression in Malaysia

New Round of Repression in MalaysiaMalaysian authorities have increased the pace of their harassment of critics, according to human rights organizations in Kuala Lumpur, which political analysts view as a prelude to early elections. Ominously, five people have been kidnapped or disappeared and people are being arrested over Facebook postings and held for three or four days, critics say. Opposition…