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  • OPINION

    Global turmoil and Thailand's political reset

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 21/12/2018

    » As the world moves into 2019, there is a consensus that the roughly seven-decade-old rules-based liberal international order no longer works. Either it has to be fundamentally revamped to suit new realities and the international distribution of power and wealth, or it will be increasingly violated and marginalised. In a remarkable parallel, Thailand's hitherto political order that lasted about seven decades also requires adjustment and recalibration.

  • OPINION

    Global disarray as institutions falter

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 17/08/2015

    » The international system as we know it is unravelling. Rules and institutions that were set up seven decades ago no longer hold the same weight and authority as they used to. As we grapple with an exacerbating global disorder, established powers and players and old rules and institutions need to be revamped and reinvented to accommodate new realities. Otherwise global tensions will mount, most probably accompanied by confrontation and conflict.

  • OPINION

    Politics of regional trade liberalisation

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 20/09/2019

    » As multilateral trade negotiations have become unworkable, regional and bilateral alternatives are on the rise. In Thailand's neighbourhood, the most consequential of these trade vehicles is the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). As it missed the boat on the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), Thailand as Asean chair this year should finalise the RCEP expeditiously and find a way to accede to the CPTPP in the near future. Although the Thai political situation remains murky and contentious, there is enough domestic policy consensus on low-hanging fruits, such as regional and bilateral trade liberalisation, that should be reaped without further delay.

  • OPINION

    The evolving Thai political fault lines

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 05/07/2019

    » Over the past five years under military government, it is clear that Thailand's political polarisation has not been bridged. It has, in fact, expanded into new fault lines. Apart from the longstanding yellows versus reds revolving around supporters and critics of the established political order premised on military, monarchy and bureaucracy, we now have a clear demarcation between pro- and anti-junta and authoritarianism versus democratisation camps. Newer fault lines are generational and ideological in orientation. While some of these divisions are global in nature, bringing them in line towards a new consensus in Thailand will necessitate a kind of leadership and compromise without which the country will be unsettled for the long term.

  • OPINION

    Seeing Asean straight as Thailand chairs

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 21/06/2019

    » When Asean organises big meetings, the tendency for the host is to talk up a brouhaha. So it goes with the 34th Asean summit under Thailand's rotating chairmanship this year. By year's end, several hundred Asean-related meetings will have taken place, highlighted by the final annual summitry in October-November that will include top leaders from China, India, Japan, Russia, the United States, among others.

  • OPINION

    Asean chairmanship has many limitations

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 16/11/2018

    » Just as all politics is ultimately local, all regionalism is mostly domestic. Such is the case with Asean. Whichever of the 10 member states chairs Asean, its role and performance tends to be domestically rooted. To envision and drive Asean forward requires deft leadership, bold ideas and smart diplomacy that must extend beyond and transcend parochial domestic concerns. No Asean member has shown this sort of farsighted regionalist ambition in recent years. Thailand appears on course to be no different when it chairs Asia's most durable organisation next year.

  • OPINION

    The Trump-Kim summit and its aftermath

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 15/06/2018

    » The unprecedented and dramatic summit meeting between President Donald Trump and Chairman Kim Jong-un, the current leaders of the United States and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (otherwise known as North Korea), will go down in history as another case of "better the devil you know than the devil you don't". Since the Korean War stopped without a permanent truce in 1953, the world has become accustomed to the North Korean regime as a menace to regional peace and stability with ominous global ramifications because of its nuclear weapons.

  • OPINION

    Will Asia-Pacific tensions lead to conflict?

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 26/08/2016

    » There is now a consensus among practitioners and analysts alike that the rules and institutions that have governed international affairs so effectively since the end of World War II are increasingly dysfunctional or altogether malfunctioning. This alarming phenomenon is broadly referred to as the "unravelling" and "disorder" of the global system. It afflicts the world trading system, featuring elusive multilateral agreements, and the international financial system, beset with regular bouts of crisis and disruptions.

  • OPINION

    Let Thai electorate be referendum winners

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 12/08/2016

    » Amidst the wide-ranging fallout from Thailand's second-ever referendum results, one clear outcome that should not be downplayed and marginalised is that Thai voters have more or less collectively spoken yet again. Their preference this time is to approve a military-inspired constitution that codifies longer-term military supervision of Thai politics. This sobering reality from Thai voters is not music to pro-democracy ears but it must be heeded.

  • OPINION

    Thailand being left behind by neighbours

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 08/04/2016

    » If Thailand were to revert and regress from a burgeoning democracy to an entrenching military-authoritarian rule of three or four decades ago, it would not look so out of place in Southeast Asia's mixed neighbourhood of absolutism, communism, and competitive authoritarianism.

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