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…

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…

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…

Three Scenarios for Hong Kong’s New Chief Executive

Three Scenarios for Hong Kong’s New Chief ExecutiveCarrie Lam is the Chief-Executive-elect of Hong Kong as a result of the territory’s hermaphroditic electoral system, in which she won 777 votes from the 1,194-member election committee, a collection of tycoons and pro-Beijing special interests. "She is a Hong Kong lady. Ruthlessly pragmatic, mercilessly efficient," says an intimate observer of politics in Hong Kong.…

Pyongyang Finds an Ally in Moscow

Pyongyang Finds an Ally in MoscowOn Feb. 3, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un sent out Lunar New Year greeting cards to international allies. For the third year in row Russia was listed at the top of the list of friendliest countries, relegating China to second place.  Gone are the days when Beijing was by far the Democratic People’s Republic’s most…

Impeachment Mania in Manila

Impeachment Mania in ManilaFor the first time, the Philippines’ two highest officials face the threat of impeachment in the House of Representatives. President Rodrigo Duterte faces an impeachment complaint filed on March 16 by a bemedaled former putschist-turned-congressman, Gary Lejano, while Vice-President Leni Robredo faces one filed on March 20 by a perennial candidate, Marcos loyalist and political…