Southeast Asia

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Snapshot,
David A. Welch

We have come to appreciate that our rapidly increasing technological sophistication -- which has brought such benefits as safe and convenient air travel -- carries with it potential costs. It gives us greater ability to destroy, of course. But, it can also lead to the creation of vulnerable, tightly-connected, and inadequately resilient systems. And in those systems, individuals and organizations are often the weakest links -- as the recent Malaysia Airlines disaster makes clear.

Snapshot,
Eduardo J. Gómez

By some measures, the BRICS have squandered their years of plenty. Even as they poured money into building dynamic economies and gaining global power, they neglected to invest in their own populations. Another group of nations -- Mexico, Colombia, and Singapore -- has struck a better balance and, as a result, makes a better model than the BRICS for other emerging economies.

Snapshot,
Alexander Kasterine

Wildlife trade bans are failing because they have run into the same basic problem as the war on drugs. Prohibitions on trading wildlife products such as tusks and timber have ultimately made them more valuable. And criminal organizations have moved in and taken over the market.

Letter From,
Duncan McCargo

Railing against the Yingluck Shinawatra-led government in Thailand might provide some instant gratification for Bangkok’s frustrated middle classes, but these are the moves of people who are in deep denial about political realities: Thailand’s urbanized villagers -- among whom Yingluck and her brother, Thaksin, remain popular -- are the country’s future.

Snapshot,
Stanley A. Weiss and Tim Heinemann

Most of Myanmar’s most desirable natural resources are located in the ethnic-minority-dominated borderlands that surround the country like a horseshoe. If Western businesses attempt to invest in those areas without also pushing the central government for greater federalism and dialogue, it will be playing a direct role in a slow-motion apartheid.

Comment, Jan/Feb 2014
Karen Brooks

Indonesia confronts a host of political challenges, and a crucial election in 2014 will determine whether it delivers on its promise or returns to stagnation. Meanwhile, the nearby Philippines, now an outsourcing powerhouse, has been racing ahead under the stewardship of President Benigno Aquino III.

Comment, Jan/Feb 2014
Thitinan Pongsudhirak

The Southeast Asian countries that line the Mekong River -- Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam, along with China’s southern Yunnan Province -- are finally fending for themselves, and then some. As trade barriers fall and borders open up, the region’s growth depends on an improving transportation network and overdue political reforms.

Snapshot,
Sonia Shah

The main challenge to eradicating malaria is a lack of will to do the job -- and not among donor countries. Despite its tremendous burden on affected societies, malaria, in the most heavily infected places, is considered a "relatively minor malady," something akin to the common cold.

Letter From,
Elizabeth Segran

After months of protests over the results Malaysia's contentious election last May, the revolutionary spirit has largely died. Here's why -- and why the calm might not last.

Letter From,
Sebastian Strangio

The Cambodian national election this Sunday will almost certainly propel the country’s sitting prime minister, the 61-year-old Hun Sen, into his fourth decade of rule. Washington's recent push to cast Hun Sen in the role of regional pariah is counterproductive, undermining both the wider aims of its pivot to Asia and any chance of nudging Cambodia in a more democratic direction.

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