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  • OPINION

    Remembering Chai-anan Samudavanija

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 21/09/2018

    » In death, as in life, Chai-anan Samudavanija always outshines. More than two decades after he left an academic career for policy work and a public intellectual role, Chai-anan's scholarly output is still cited more than any other social scientist. His passing, at 74, reflects Thailand's circuitous political trajectory and the shortcomings of the country's higher education. Until Thai academic standards are better incentivised and upgraded, few scholars are likely to scale international heights of scholarship and thought leadership anywhere near Chai-anan's achievements.

  • OPINION

    Belt and Road is China's 'manifest destiny'

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 07/09/2018

    » No national project of global reach carries as much stake and attracts as much attention as China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Conceived in 2013, the BRI is the colossal brainchild of President Xi Jinping and his government.

  • OPINION

    Asia at risk of being its own worst enemy

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 31/08/2018

    » The broad unravelling of the post-war liberal international system is no longer a matter of dispute. Its manifestations over the past decade from the disintegration of the Middle East as we knew it and the de-integration of the European Union with "Brexit" and anti-migration sentiment to the United States' unilateral turn against openness and liberal values so fundamental to its rise all testify to a murky and portentous international environment. Similarly, the global trading system no longer works like it used to as multilateral trade liberalisation has given way to plurilateral and bilateral free-trade agreements.

  • OPINION

    A trade war that is about more than trade

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 24/08/2018

    » The most dangerous risk from the ongoing "trade war" between the United States and China is that it is not fundamentally about trade. With each tit-for-tat escalation and retaliation from both sides, what the world is witnessing is a larger struggle between two grand competitors of the 21st century, underpinned by opposing systems of socioeconomic organisation, values and ideas about global order.

  • OPINION

    Myanmar needs new generation to lead it

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 10/08/2018

    » Southeast Asia suffers from a crisis of leadership whereby the old guard are unwilling to make way for new and younger leaders to emerge through compromise and accommodation to usher in change and reform while maintaining a measure of continuity.

  • OPINION

    Taking Cambodia's bogus election to task

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 03/08/2018

    » It was always a foregone conclusion that Cambodia's incumbent government of Prime Minister Hun Sen and his Cambodian People's Party (CPP) were going to win the July 29 election. Yet some observers anticipated a modicum of feigned legitimacy whereby a handful of smaller parties would gain a few seats in the National Assembly. Not bothering with any semblance of legitimacy, the CPP has apparently claimed all 125 parliamentary seats. Cambodia now has an elected dictatorship, naked and bare, in mockery of what passes as a free and fair election anywhere and in defiance of global democratic aspirations.

  • OPINION

    Prospects after Cambodia's fabricated poll

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 27/07/2018

    » While Thailand has a seemingly indefinite military government with no clear poll date, Cambodia is holding an election on July 29 with a foregone conclusion. After methodically taken apart oppositional forces, the incumbent government of Prime Minister Hun Sen, under the Cambodian People's Party (CPP), is set to win a landslide. At issue now will be what happens after the election. At least three dynamics are in play. How they intersect and enmesh will determine Cambodia's political future.

  • OPINION

    Maintaining what's left of rules-based order

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 20/07/2018

    » For anyone who is alive today, the world as we know it has never been so stirred and shaken. The international order based on a common set of institutions, rules and norms that used to be widely cherished and universally beneficial is unravelling before our collective and helpless eyes. From an emerging United States-China trade war and Beijing's militarised occupation of the South China Sea to Russia's revanchist annexation of Crimea, world order over the past several years has been breaking down. Those who once set the rules, principally the US, are breaking them, while aspiring new rule-setters, mainly China, have not found sufficient international reception. Rule-takers, such as the smaller states in Asean, suffer the most when set rules lose cohesion, lustre and abidance.

  • OPINION

    What the rescue of the trapped boys means

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 13/07/2018

    » Global news cycles over the past two weeks have been saturated by Thailand's gripping story of 12 boys from a local youth football team and their 25-year-old coach trapped in a labyrinthine and partially submerged cave complex in the Chiang Rai hills in the north of the country. Even after their successful rescue, the story continues.

  • OPINION

    Thai geopolitical balancing compromised

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 06/07/2018

    » Thailand is demonstrably famous for its foreign policy balancing. From the era of imperialism and two World Wars through the Cold War, Thailand's gifted geography and diplomatic finesse and skill shepherded the country's sovereignty and independence through the thick and thin of geopolitical headwinds. Whatever happens out there, the Thais (and their Siamese forebears) had a way to diplomatically navigate and geopolitically balance their national interests to stay out of harm's way.

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