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  • News & article

    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.

  • News & article

    'My country's got' these socio-political ills

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 02/11/2018

    » The explosive Rap Against Dictatorship music video that has taken Thailand by storm has raised myriad socio-political questions and issues. Known in Thai as <i>Prathet Ku Mee</i>, the sensational music video has been viewed on YouTube more than 25 million times in just 10 days in a country of 69 million people, a feat in its own right and a record for its artistic kind in Thailand. How this five-minute rap song in the Thai language has done so much says a lot about where Thailand has been and where it is going.

  • News & article

    Semantics and Thailand's political divide

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 25/09/2015

    » Language can be about power as much as communication. It can tear societies apart or bring them together, depending on its design and application.

  • News & article

    Thailand's tale told via 'The Nation'

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 28/06/2019

    » Nearly five decades ago, The Nation newspaper started out as a pro-democracy, anti-military news organisation. It was fiercely independent and invariably hard-hitting vis-à-vis the powers-that-be. An English-language newspaper owned by Thais from the outset, it prided itself for having neither fear nor favour. Its lamentable expiry as a print newspaper today -- an online version will continue -- provides multiple parallels for Thailand's contemporary political history, ongoing polarisation and the changing nature of the business of journalism worldwide.

  • News & article

    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.

  • News & article

    HK protests in a regional perspective

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 11/10/2019

    » When Hong Kong's protest movement against the Extradition Law Amendment Bill began on March 30, few could have anticipated that it would become a full-blown popular revolt. The protesters initially opposed the bill because it would allow the Hong Kong government to detain and extradite fugitives to mainland China. Despite the suspension and subsequent withdrawal of the bill by Hong Kong's Chief Executive Carrie Lam, the protest movement has taken on a life of its own. As its end goals of universal suffrage, an independent inquiry into police conduct and Ms Lam's resignation harden, its endgame appears fraught with risks of intensifying confrontation and violence.

  • News & article

    What next with China as a superpower?

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 04/10/2019

    » The spectacular celebrations to mark the People's Republic of China's 70th anniversary of its founding were the culmination of a sweeping ideological struggle over the past century between two competing systems of socio-economic and political organisation. Under the stewardship of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) from 1921, China has now arrived as a 21st century superpower with an unprecedented hybrid of totalitarian control and a capitalist market economy, the successor state to the old Soviet Union whose demise nearly 30 years ago was attributable to its rigid collectivism over market capitalism.

  • News & article

    Developing by managing demographics

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 27/09/2019

    » Once upon a time, it was feared that the earth would become overcrowded and its inhabitants unable to find enough to eat. This fear has not only proved unfounded but it has gone in the opposite direction. What almost every nation fears now is a decline in inhabitants as the birth rate cannot keep up with the longevity of the aged and elderly, imposing unsustainable burdens on working-age segments of the population. Every region is afflicted with this demographic predicament, especially in affluent societies where the birth rate decline is acute, such as Japan.

  • News & article

    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.

  • News & article

    Superpower rivalry to put region to test

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 30/08/2019

    » More than 18 months in, the trade war between the United States and China is not having its intended effects. Despite a flurry of US-led tariff hikes on Chinese products followed by China's retaliatory tax increases on American-made goods since January last year, the government of President Donald Trump is not perceived to be winning the trade conflict. China has proved more resilient and resourceful than many had anticipated. What this means is that the trade war is going to last much longer than many had expected. It is also likely to spread to other areas beyond trade and degenerate into a full-fledged non-military war.

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