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  • OPINION

    Thailand's murky, muddled road ahead

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 31/03/2017

    » In a new era of transformative technologies and tectonic geopolitical shifts, standing still is tantamount to falling behind. This is what Thailand is doing. Its recent news flow indicates the country is mired in a regressive holding pattern.

  • OPINION

    Political fallout from the Dhammakaya case

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 17/03/2017

    » To the average bystander, the recent brouhaha over the Dhammakaya temple raises many questions with few answers and just about no clarity.

  • OPINION

    Dire airport, culture hub belie 'Thailand 4.0'

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 17/02/2017

    » Thailand is prone to policy faddism. Several years ago, the AEC (Asean Economic Community) was all the rage until it officially came into being with a whimper at the end of 2015. Back then, hardly a day went by without some kind of a workshop or conference in Thailand about the AEC. But it all did not add up to much, as Asean today is hardly more economically integrated than it was more than a decade ago when the AEC was conceived. In fact, Asean is more internally divided and beset with more geopolitical tensions and troubles than we have seen in many years. Yet Thailand went head over heels for it until a new fad arrived.

  • OPINION

    Combatting corruption starts at the top

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 03/02/2017

    » There is something fundamentally similar and entwined about the need to tackle Thailand's endemic corruption and the imperative to reform its education. Education reforms and corruption eradication appear to be the two highest policy and social priorities over the decades but they have made little headway. In view of recent international assessments, Thai education has fallen even farther behind compared to recent years. Similarly, according to Thailand's declining ranking in international indexes such as that of Transparency International, the scourge of corruption in this country has deepened.

  • OPINION

    Trump, Southeast Asia and Thailand

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 20/01/2017

    » No newly inaugurated president of the United States in the contemporary era is more controversial nor as derided as Donald Trump. Already, there have been pre-inauguration insinuations and plots among his critics and detractors to see him eventually impeached or at least occupy the White House for only one term. Without much experience in public service, the real-estate tycoon catapulted himself into American political life, and his country's electoral system produced him as the winner in the election last November, even though he lost the popular vote to his opponent by more than 2.8 million votes out of 128.8 million.

  • OPINION

    Thailand's prospects for 2017 and beyond

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 06/01/2017

    » Thailand and the world at large are concurrently going through a rut that comes with the transitional end of any long era. For the world, this period is known as the postwar liberal order that was constructed and led by the United States in the aftermath of World War II. As constituent states in the international system have benefited immensely and risen to challenge and rival traditional US power and prestige, Washington appears intent on shirking its global leadership role. The unfolding result is a fluid and precarious global canvass, underpinned by tectonic power shifts and manoeuvres and geopolitical tensions and volatility -- a subject which warrants a separate analysis.

  • OPINION

    The time and need for civilians in cabinet

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 16/12/2016

    » In view of the royal transition that has transpired, Thailand's interim period since its military coup in May 2014 has now entered a new phase. When the military seized power back then, the Thai public largely put up with what became a military dictatorship, spearheaded by Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha as prime minister and leader of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO). This rough bargain, whereby the military stepped in to be the midwife of the royal transition, has passed. It is time to recalibrate and prepare for a return to popular rule by placing more civilian technocrats in government in the upcoming cabinet reshuffle.

  • 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

    Implications from a divided America

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 18/11/2016

    » In the immediate aftermath of the presidential election outcome in the United States, many Americans are dazed and divided. As Donald Trump has beaten Hillary Clinton against the vast majority of pre-election polls that had forecast otherwise, his supporters are calling it fair and square with a convincing victory in the Electoral College that elects presidents based on the popular vote.

  • OPINION

    America's presidential poll and Thai-US ties

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 04/11/2016

    » As the current presidential cycle in the United States closes with elections on Nov 8, there will be a global sigh of relief that it is finally over. The longest electoral contest in the world's ostensible bastion of democracy has become increasingly dysfunctional and malfunctioning. It has become a gruelling competition to see who is the least worst to put up with rather than who is the best to lead, resembling a drawn-out political circus, tinged with Hollywood dramatic effects and unbecoming of a country that is supposed to lead the community of democracies.

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