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  • OPINION

    Thai justice system overhaul overdue

    Oped, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 31/07/2020

    » Thailand's current talk of the country is undoubtedly the scandal centring on Red Bull scion Vorayuth "Boss" Yoovidhya for the 2012 hit-and-run resulting in the gruesome death of a policeman on a motorcycle.

  • OPINION

    Give Thai youth movement a chance

    Oped, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 24/07/2020

    » The coronavirus reprieve for the government of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha is ironically over as Thailand's youth movement for political change has resumed in earnest.

  • OPINION

    Covid success coming at a heavy price

    Oped, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 17/07/2020

    » It was a matter of time before the government of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha became a victim of its own misguided success in handling the coronavirus pandemic. By presiding over a public mindset of "zero" local virus infections, the government raised unrealistic expectations at a high price. The fiasco that transpired in Rayong last week, when an infected Egyptian air force official was allowed to roam in a shopping mall and thereby fuelled fears of "second wave" infections, should serve as a wake-up call for an overdue change in virus-fighting strategy.

  • OPINION

    Domestic drivers of superpower rivalry

    Oped, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 10/07/2020

    » The coronavirus pandemic is fundamentally global but its impact is mainly local because of the international system of state sovereignty, borders and divergent national interests. What is needed to cope with, contain and overcome the pandemic is more international cooperation and coordination. But we are seeing less international efforts to fight the virus together and more self-help where every nation fends for itself. The upshot from this fractured and fragmented international system during Covid-19 is the primacy of domestic determinants of international outcomes. Nowhere is this reality clearer than the competition and confrontation between the United States and China.

  • OPINION

    Undue politicisation at finance and BoT

    Oped, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 03/07/2020

    » Thailand's economic growth projections continue to head south as the coronavirus crisis unfolds in the second half of the year. In its most recent forecast, the Bank of Thailand anticipates a sharp contraction of 8.1% this year, worse than the 5.3% it predicted in March. Downside macroeconomic risks are substantial as the Covid-19 pandemic could still degenerate and cause further global health and economic havoc. In this dire environment, Thailand will need steady and seasoned hands to oversee macroeconomic levers. Yet both the finance ministry portfolio and the BoT governorship now face uncertainty and potential politicisation that bode ill for effective and autonomous fiscal and monetary policies.

  • OPINION

    Geoeconomic implications of Covid-19

    Oped, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 26/06/2020

    » The longer the coronavirus pandemic wends its way around the world, the more it takes on permanent features. As case infections still persist virulently, especially in the US, Brazil, Russia and India, states, societies and individuals are being forced to make adjustments. There will be winners and losers in the geoeconomic competition for market shares and supply chains. Those with more effective public health systems will stand in good stead with opportunities to re-emerge less scathed and better positioned to carry on, whereas others with less adequate health infrastructure will face more risks and disadvantages. For the first time in generations, health security has become the main determinant in the fate of nations and peoples.

  • OPINION

    Thailand's strategic path is rudderless

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 19/06/2020

    » As the coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc worldwide, domestic tension and pressure will compel three broad responses from the various afflicted countries. First, these countries may react to virus-induced domestic challenges by blaming and taking it out on outsiders. Alternatively, they may be so preoccupied at home that they become marginalised abroad. In other instances, countries that have coped effectively with Covid-19 will be able to regain their footing faster and move on sooner as the rest of the pack remains bogged down in acrimony and discord.

  • OPINION

    Top brass, technocrats, politicos all same

    Oped, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 12/06/2020

    » When ostensible technocrats become ambitious politicians, supervised by army generals and beholden to patronage-driven elected politicians, the result is a power struggle, internal party turmoil, and a country being governed to nowhere. This is the current state of Thailand's ruling Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP), the head of a motley and fractious 19-member coalition of minor and micro parties, some represented by one single MP, propping up the government of former coup leader and current Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha. Yet in the face of the opposition bloc that is weak because it has been weakened, after the third-largest winner the Future Forward Party from the last election was dissolved earlier this year, the PPRP is on course to be in office for the foreseeable future, as a new poll is not due for another three years. These dire dynamics suggest Thailand will continue to be rudderless, stuck in a quagmire of its own making, with headwinds that may lead to a reckoning tempest.

  • OPINION

    Thai-Australian ties in the regional mix

    Oped, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 05/06/2020

    » Unlike the externally originated coronavirus pandemic, the mass protests in the United States in the aftermath of George Floyd's wrongful death at the hands of police officers in Minneapolis are internally driven. Seen from outside, the public fury, street demonstrations and ensuing violence over the fatal suffocation of Floyd, a black man, yield geopolitical ramifications. If the US is socially unwell and geopolitically unreliable, regional states in Asia will have to respond accordingly in view of the US-China rivalry and competition. A case in point is Thailand-Australia relations in the regional mix.

  • OPINION

    Thai Airways a microcosm of Thailand

    Oped, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 29/05/2020

    » Not so long ago, when air travel was not so commonplace, Thai nationals studying and working abroad could feel like they were half-way home when they saw Thai Airways (THAI) planes on tarmacs around the world. It was a symbolic comfort to know that getting on one of the national flag carrier's aircraft would eventually end up getting them home. As THAI has entered a massive and unprecedented reorganisation plan, the national airline is a microcosm of Thailand itself.

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