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  • OPINION

    The politics of the Chadchart juggernaut

    Oped, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 01/07/2022

    » In countries where integrity, competence and popular legitimacy in leadership are valued -- for example, in Scandinavia, Singapore or Taiwan -- Bangkok governor Chadchart Sittipunt would be considered fairly average. He would merely be another good leader who exudes modesty, humility, capability and authenticity, always in touch with and answerable to his constituents.

  • OPINION

    Thailand's bankrupt Myanmar policy

    Oped, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 17/06/2022

    » Few signboards foretell the global issues of our time better than what is addressed at the annual meetings of the Shangri-La Dialogue (SLD) in Singapore. After a pandemic-induced two-year hiatus, the most recent SLD covered the gamut on the main stage, from the United States-China geostrategic competition and military modernisation to security cooperation and climate change. The only anomalous single- and small-country focus in a special session was Myanmar.

  • OPINION

    Asean/SE Asia and the cycles of history

    Oped, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 10/06/2022

    » The simmering geopolitical tensions between the United States and China and Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine have turned the tide of history back to its historical norm. It is easy to see the global stage today as full of tension, confrontation, and conflict in a recurrent fashion. But it is worth recalling that merely 30 years ago, the world was in a different phase where a lasting peace seemed viable.

  • OPINION

    Election-related agencies need overhaul

    Oped, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 03/06/2022

    » In any respectable democratic system, a winning poll candidate who secured an overall majority of electoral support would take office with the earliest effect. Not in Thailand. When Chadchart Sittipunt trounced 29 rivals by gathering 1.38 million or 51% of the votes cast in Bangkok's gubernatorial election on May 22, the capital's electorate had to hold their breath in suspense to see whether and when the Election Commission (EC) would validate his runaway victory.

  • OPINION

    Chadchart's effect on Thai politics

    Oped, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 27/05/2022

    » Among the myriad of implications over Chadchart Sittipunt's thumping triumph in Bangkok's gubernatorial election last Sunday is the restoration of Thailand's self-confidence and Thais' sense of belief that tomorrow will be better than today. After years of political decay and entrenching economic stagnation stemming from societal divisions, Mr Chadchart brings into office what has been described as a "rainbow" coalition made up of people from different walks of life and political party lines, transcending the progressive and conservative sides of the political divide.

  • OPINION

    Capital poll portends Thailand's rule

    Oped, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 20/05/2022

    » Never has Bangkok's gubernatorial contest been so much about Thailand. The poll this Sunday is not just about how Bangkok will be run but how Thailand will be ruled. Beyond the usual grievances and issues that traditionally hang over Bangkokians' lives and livelihoods are larger forces at work. Whoever comes out on top will have much to say about the bigger national election that has to be held by this time next year.

  • OPINION

    America, Asean in geostrategic drift

    Oped, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 13/05/2022

    » As Southeast Asia's renowned regional bloc, Asean has been wanting to have its cake as well as eat it. Its summit meeting with the United States in Washington this week is a testimony to trying to have it both ways. When Washington cares less about Asean, the nominally 10-member grouping frets about the lack of attention and priority. But when the US cares more, some Asean members are sceptical about its intentions and interests. This summit is likely to show that the US and Asean member states are less in line and increasingly unaligned.

  • OPINION

    The local politics of Thai soft power

    Oped, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 29/04/2022

    » It was yet another passing storm in Thailand's overflowing teacup. The overnight sensation of 19-year-old rapper Danupha "Milli" Khanatheerakul at the recent Coachella Music Festival in the United States has shaken Thailand to its core foundations and revealed much that is still right and all that is wrong with this country. At issue are the ramifications from her global showcase of Thailand's sticky rice and ripe mango on the Coachella stage in view of her talent and political standing against the local conservative establishment.

  • OPINION

    Endgame dynamics in Russia's war

    Oped, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 01/04/2022

    » Five weeks into Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the tables are turning dramatically amidst the fog of war. As the Ukrainians have stood their ground better than anticipated, the Russians have been put on the back foot. The centre of gravity in the war now appears to be shifting eastward away from Kyiv towards Crimea and the Donbas region. As endgame discussions emerge, all major parties in the conflict are behoved to arrive at a viable settlement and common denominator without overplaying their hands.

  • OPINION

    Russia's war causes regional disarray

    Oped, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 18/03/2022

    » President Vladimir Putin's decision to invade Ukraine from Feb 24 is deeply consequential for Southeast Asia, both as a region and Asean as a regional organisation. Even though this region is relatively far away from the cut and thrust of Russia's war in Ukraine, Asean has already encountered new internal divisions stemming from the raging conflict in Europe. As a result, Asean's age-old approach of consensus will likely become more problematic in the search for new and more effective ways of cooperation among like-minded member states.

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