Is Xi Jinping China’s Brezhnev?

Is Xi Jinping China’s Brezhnev?Is President Xi Jinping destined to become a Chinese version of the former Soviet boss, Leonid Brezhnev? If so, history may look back on January 2014 as Xi’s “Brezhnev moment.” In 1964, Nikita Khrushchev, the leader who had begun the de-Stalinization process a decade earlier, was overthrown in a Kremlin putsch masterminded by Brezhnev, who…

Thailand’s Geographic Divide Also Defines Bangkok

Thailand’s Geographic Divide Also Defines BangkokThe clock is ticking in Thailand over anti-government protests, with the fabric of the nation itself seemingly in question. The confrontation has reached a stage where some may even begin to question the nation’s presumed homogeneity, long regarded as Thailand’s greatest strength. Every day it seems to get worse. On Monday, the government announced it…

Is Time Running Out for Najib?

Is Time Running Out for Najib?Forces aligned with former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad appear to be attempting push embattled Malaysian Premier Najib Tun Razak into giving a time frame for his eventual departure from office and naming a successor, sources in Kuala Lumpur say. The sources say that successor could be hard-line Home Affairs Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, 61, who…

Thailand’s Comic Opera Continues

Thailand’s Comic Opera ContinuesThe growing lack of security and the Thai opposition's illegal occupation of Bangkok intersections and key government ministries are having a dire effect on the economy, with one major Japanese auto company, Toyota, warning that investment could be affected. Last week, the government warned that the protests could take a full 2 percent off the…

Journalist Group Uncovers Chinese Millions in Overseas Trusts

Journalist Group Uncovers Chinese Millions in Overseas TrustsThe close relatives of some of China’s most powerful men and women including President Xi Jinping and former Premier Wen Jiabao have maintained secretive accounts in offshore tax havens, with the connivance of some of the west’s biggest accounting firms and banks, according to an explosive study by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. The…

Mahathir Wing of UMNO Turns The Screws on Najib

Mahathir Wing of UMNO Turns The Screws on NajibPressure is continuing to rise against Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, the latest in the form of an exclusive interview with Mahathir scion Mukhriz in the Malay-language newspaper Berita Harian Sunday expressing concern that the ruling national coalition could lose the next national elections under Najib’s guidance. Mukhriz’s statement, carefully couched to describe Najib’s…

The Paracel Islands Battle: 40 years later

The Paracel Islands Battle: 40 years laterThis Jan.19, it will have been 40 years since China wrested control of the Paracel Islands from Vietnam, then South Vietnam. East of Vietnam and south of China’s Hainan Island, the Paracels remain a sore point between the two neighboring countries, already embroiled in other territorial and maritime disputes. Prior to the 1974 invasion, occupation…

Japan’s Abe Isn’t Placating the Right

Japan’s Abe Isn’t Placating the RightWhen people ask why Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe decided to worship at Yasukuni Shrine against the advice of most of his advisers, one of the most common answers is that he is placating his right-wing supporters. Abe, say his supporters, ‘is not nationalist; he’s a pragmatist’. But a better view is that Abe is…

India’s Latest Defense Scandal

India’s Latest Defense ScandalFew eyebrows were raised when India was forced to scrap its US$770-million helicopter deal with Italian defense group Finmeccanica's AgustaWestland earlier this month. It was only the latest in a long and depressing litany of defense procurement scandals stretching back at least to the mid-1980s. The pact for the supply of 12 choppers, three already…

Thailand’s Thaksin Thinks He Can Outlast the Protesters

Thailand’s Thaksin Thinks He Can Outlast the ProtestersThaksin Shinawatra, the ousted premier who nonetheless has run Thailand for the past seven years through surrogates and guile, is like the Cheshire Cat. There is nothing for his enemies to pursue except his disappearing smile, now here and gone there. That smile appeared recently in an unnamed Asian city where Thaksin had dinner with…