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  • 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

    Facing up to Thailand's role as Asean chair

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 09/11/2018

    » As Thailand gears up to chair Asean next year, a sense of deja vu is setting in. The last time Thailand held its rotational turn at Asean's helm from July 2008 to December 2009, it was undermined by domestic street protests that ended up disrupting top-level meetings and abruptly sending Asia-Pacific leaders home prematurely. Owning up to what transpired, it has to be said that the Thai hosting of Asean-centred summits back then was an utter fiasco.

  • OPINION

    Regional order in East Asia after summits

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 17/11/2017

    » While Asean-related leaders' meetings tend to come and go with a lot of spectacle and brouhaha without much lasting substantive impact, the recently concluded summits of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation in Vietnam and the United States-Asean and the East Asia Summit in the Philippines will be seen in hindsight as highly consequential. The geopolitical and geoeconomic positions of just about all attending countries were more or less known before hand. This most recent summit season was about the policy orientation and preferences of the US under President Donald Trump.

  • OPINION

    Obama's Asian pivot faces uncertain fate

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 02/12/2016

    » As President-elect Donald Trump continues to stir up a hornet's nest in Washington and elsewhere in America, the outgoing and lame-duck presidency of Barack Obama looks spent, its foreign policy agenda at risk of reversal and dismantlement. This is a pity because Mr Obama had his heart in the right places. He tried to make the world a better place but ultimately fell short.

  • OPINION

    Turkish, Thai democracy and dictatorship

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 22/07/2016

    » For coup-prone Thailand, Turkey's failed putsch has generated huge but ephemeral interest. When elements of the Turkish military rolled out the tanks and tried to seize power in Ankara and Istanbul, spectators in Bangkok naturally coalesced into two broad camps along the Thai divide, either for or against the putsch.

  • OPINION

    Post-Obama America's 'rebalance' to Asia

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 24/06/2016

    » As the United States' presidential election kicks into higher gear with the upcoming nominations of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump as the Democratic and Republican party candidates vying for top office, Asian countries, and Asean in particular, are concerned about what will happen to outgoing President Barack Obama's "rebalance" (also known as the "pivot") strategy to Asia. The "rebalance" is likely to be a lasting legacy of President Obama's foreign policy accomplishments. It has provided Asian countries from Myanmar and Vietnam to the Philippines with a counterbalance to China's increasing regional footprints. But the future of the rebalance hangs in the balance.

  • OPINION

    Responding to guerrilla-style global terror

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 20/11/2015

    » The coordinated terrorist attacks against multiple targets in Paris last Friday were neither the first nor the last we will see from militant Muslims espousing extremist strands of Islam.

  • OPINION

    Western folly in Middle East quagmire

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 27/11/2015

    » Democracy is not for every region. Nowhere is this more evident than in the modern Middle East. As individual regimes and the entire region disintegrate and revert back to their familiar past of tribal wars and internecine strife that are answerable only to force and strength, not international rules and norms, it is instructive to look back at the origins of the current phase of violence and mayhem.

  • OPINION

    Myanmar reflects Asean domestic dilemmas

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 06/11/2015

    » Myanmar's momentous elections on Sunday have a familiar ring to them. Now, just like 25 years ago, the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD), spearheaded by Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, is poised to thump the military-led Union Solidarity and Development Part (USDP) by a resounding margin.

  • OPINION

    NE Asia summit shows SE Asia weaknesses

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 13/11/2015

    » Although it papered over differences, the recent resumption of a summit meeting among China, Japan and South Korea has cooled bilateral tensions in Northeast Asia with longer-term implications for Southeast Asia.

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