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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

    '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.

  • OPINION

    Debunking two myths of the 2014 coup

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 19/10/2018

    » As momentum towards the next general election gathers pace, the two main myths that underpinned Thailand's most recent military coup in May 2014 deserve debunking. Both are associated with the military's role in politics. Seeing through these two perpetuated myths leaves us with the reality that all players in Thai politics are in pursuit of power and vested interests. All pretence to the contrary is sheer falsehood, hypocrisy and political manipulation.

  • OPINION

    The annals of Thailand's military dictators

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 12/10/2018

    » As Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha eyes longer-term power beyond the next election, his eventual legacy will be compared to other military leaders who have come and gone as heads of past Thai governments. Had he left office or stepped down to run for it earlier, Gen Prayut might be in a better place. As things stand, his tenure and subsequent exit from the political scene does not appear promising for how he will be seen in hindsight.

  • OPINION

    Thailand's new military and new politics

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 05/10/2018

    » Most likely not in accordance with his preference, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha is finding out that the military high command he seized power with during the May 2014 coup will be fundamentally different when he leaves office.

  • OPINION

    China's Belt & Road impact on Thailand

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 28/09/2018

    » As China's ambitious Silk Road Economic Belt (SREB) and Maritime Silk Road (MSR) -- popularly known as the Belt and Road Initiative, or BRI -- continues to make ripples and waves in international affairs, its likely impact on mainland Southeast Asia warrants attention. Unlike many of the countries on the Eurasian landmass and along waterways from the South China Sea through the Indian Ocean to eastern Africa, Thailand and its immediate neighbours are not directly on the BRI path.

  • OPINION

    Remembering Chai-anan Samudavanija

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 21/09/2018

    » In death, as in life, Chai-anan Samudavanija always outshines. More than two decades after he left an academic career for policy work and a public intellectual role, Chai-anan's scholarly output is still cited more than any other social scientist. His passing, at 74, reflects Thailand's circuitous political trajectory and the shortcomings of the country's higher education. Until Thai academic standards are better incentivised and upgraded, few scholars are likely to scale international heights of scholarship and thought leadership anywhere near Chai-anan's achievements.

  • OPINION

    Belt and Road is China's 'manifest destiny'

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 07/09/2018

    » No national project of global reach carries as much stake and attracts as much attention as China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Conceived in 2013, the BRI is the colossal brainchild of President Xi Jinping and his government.

  • OPINION

    Asia at risk of being its own worst enemy

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 31/08/2018

    » The broad unravelling of the post-war liberal international system is no longer a matter of dispute. Its manifestations over the past decade from the disintegration of the Middle East as we knew it and the de-integration of the European Union with "Brexit" and anti-migration sentiment to the United States' unilateral turn against openness and liberal values so fundamental to its rise all testify to a murky and portentous international environment. Similarly, the global trading system no longer works like it used to as multilateral trade liberalisation has given way to plurilateral and bilateral free-trade agreements.

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