Southeast Asia

Burma’s Reform: an Opportunity or a Threat?

April 27, 2012 by

Luminaries smelled blood. Hillary Clinton, Kevin Rudd, and David Cameron came and went, openly advocating for continued democratic reform. All met with Ms. Aung Sun Suu Kyi. In the aftermath of grandiose state visits from such luminaries to Burma (officially known as Myanmar), Aung Sun Suu Kyi and military leaders face a long and difficult task to bring about political, social, and economic reforms in a country that has remained under a brutal military junta and isolated from most of the world since 1960.

Clinton Announces “Targeted Easing” of Sanctions on Myanmar

April 4, 2012 by

Two days after hailing Sunday’s parliamentary by-elections in Myanmar, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced that Washington would begin a process of “targeted easing” of longstanding economic sanctions against the Southeast Asian nation.

Do Elections in Myanmar Signal Real Change?

April 4, 2012 by

Is Myanmar’s leadership serious about reforms? Or were the elections mounted for appearances only? Here’s what Robert Lieberman, Tharaphi Than and Ian Holliday, among others, have to say.

Burma After Aung San Suu Kyi’s Election Victory

April 3, 2012 by

The by-elections held throughout Burma/Myanmar on 1 April initially look to have produced a stunning result for the National League for Democracy (NLD) and its leader, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. It was stunning for everyone, including for the party itself and the military which has ruled the country for just over 50 years.

Aung San Suu Kyi as Lawmaker

April 2, 2012 by

Following her historic victory in Sunday’s by-elections Aung San Suu Kyi takes on a new role as opposition lawmaker, after a 22-year existence as Myanmar’s most famous political prisoner. The 66-year-old’s presence in parliament will be fortified by other candidates from her National League for Democracy (NLD) triumphant in the landmark mini-poll on Apr.1. An informal tally by NLD has shown the party winning 40 of the 45 seats up for grabs in the 664-member bicameral legislature.

A Need for Pan-Asian Institutions in Asia

March 20, 2012 by

For over a decade, many relevant academic journals have prophesized the 21st century as the Asian century. The argument is usually based on impressive economic growth, increased production, trade and booming foreign currency reserves. Undoubtedly, the fact that Asia holds nearly 1/3 of the total world population doesn’t hurt its chances from overtaking the United States and Europe in many areas.

Do Country Acronyms Have a Meaningful Place in a Dynamic World?

March 10, 2012 by

When Goldman Sachs first coined the term “BRICs” in 2001, it did so on the assumption that these four countries were going to heavily influence the direction of the global economy. It turned out that China was much more influential than any of the other three, and that Brazil well underperformed the others based on its decade-long average GDP growth rate of approximately 3.5%.

Burma Release, Ceasefire Hailed by Obama, Rights Groups

January 14, 2012 by

The administration of U.S. President Barack Obama Friday hailed the release by the Burmese government of hundreds of political prisoners, suggesting that it went far toward satisfying Washington’s conditions for fully normalising ties between the two countries. In a statement released by the White House after the first releases were confirmed, Obama called it a “crucial step in Burma’s democratic transformation and national reconciliation process”.

China in the Background as the US and Myanmar Come Together

December 2, 2011 by

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived Wednesday in Naypyidaw, Myanmar, for a two-day visit amid signs that the Southeast Asian nation is enacting political and economic reforms to shed its pariah status on the international stage. The trip, which is the first by an American secretary of state in 56 years, represents a dramatic change in the geopolitics of the region.

Realpolitik and Rights Compete for Clinton’s Attention

November 30, 2011 by

Hillary Clinton’s historic trip this week to Burma – the first by a U.S. secretary of state since 1955 – will likely mix geo- strategic realpolitik with Washington’s more idealistic interest in promoting economic and political reforms in a country that it has tried to ostracise for most of the past two decades.

Is Burma moving towards a democratic reform?

November 29, 2011 by

The notoriously powerful military junta of Burma is loosening its grip. In an uncharacteristic move, former army general Thein Sein, who came to power in March, thwarted the Chinese-funded $3.6 billion Myitsone dam project in the state of Kachin, relenting to the continuous pressure from the Burmese citizens in that region. The Burmese government has recently released more than 6,000 jailed political prisoners.

The United States and the Asia-Pacific Region

November 26, 2011 by

China’s centralized policymaking continues to be at odds with a world system that strives to observe the principles promoted by the international community. At the Reuters Washington Summit, Undersecretary of State Robert Hormats stated that “There’s competition between the American economic model and the more state-centered economic model of China.”

The Puzzling Persistence of APEC

November 16, 2011 by

The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation has just concluded its annual summit in Honolulu, once President Obama’s home turf. It will probably be most remembered for the traffic jams it created in the Waikiki Beach area, to the consternation of residents and tourists alike. APEC’s continuing existence is a puzzle to many, for APEC’s record of irrelevance is rivaled by few other international forums.

2011 SAARC Summit

November 10, 2011 by

SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation) was established 26 years ago and held its 17th Summit Conference on November 10, 2011. The goal of SAARC is to enhance the prosperity of the peoples of South Asia through regional co-operation among the eight member states, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Maldives, Bhutan and Afghanistan.

Water and Bangkok, or making the impossible possible

October 26, 2011 by

Bangkok Mayor Sukhumbhand Paribatra said that on Wednesday it will become clear whether the Thai capital will be able to withstand the onslaught of water from the country’s flooded Northern provinces. Prime Minister Yinglak Chinnavat warned earlier that the issue with the outflow of river water may be compounded by the high sea tide at the end of the week.

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