Greed the unseen peril on Myanmar’s road to democracy


The international surge in investments, and political opportunism, are doing little to help Myanmar’s already weak civil society evolve in the interest of all. JONATHAN BOGAIS reports. In 1941, US Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis (1856–1941) wrote: ‘We must make our choice. We may have democracy, or we may have wealth and power concentrated in […]


Anxiety persists over India’s new government


Early signs are mixed that India’s new prime minister, Narendra Modi, can deliver on his promise to create a genuinely inclusive sense of nationhood. Why are many people in India apprehensive about the country’s new government? The Bharatiya Janata Party won 282 seats in the 543-seat lower house, and with its allies, it won close […]

Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan government unmoved by UN report on human rights abuses


With backing from powerful friends, Sri Lanka remains immune to international concern over its human rights record. Damien Kingsbury reports. A certain predictability has developed in the public exchange on the human rights situation in Sri Lanka. In keeping with this predictability, the recent UN Human Rights Commission report on Sri Lanka’s continuing serious human […]

China, Vietnam

China and Vietnam square off in war of attrition over disputed waters


China’s deployment of an oil rig in waters near the strategically located Paracel Islands has severely strained bilateral relations with Vietnam, writes Carlyle A. Thayer The Paracel Islands (Hoang Sa in Vietnamese and Xisha in Chinese) are a group of approximately 30 features (small islands, rocks, reefs and sandbanks) lying at the northern end of […]


Erdoğan moves against ‘parallel state’


The rift between the Gülen movement and Turkey’s ruling party is widening, says DAVID TITTENSOR. The Gülen movement, which its 72-year-old founder, retired imam Fethullah Gülen (pictured), denies is even a movement, is both political and not political—that is, it is not a political party and, to date, appears to have no intention of making […]


Malaysia struggles to escape the middle-income trap


Malaysia’s economic reforms are under question, writes GREG LOPEZ. The term ’middle-income trap’ possibly first entered Malaysia’s official policy lexicon when Premier Najib Razak (pictured below) referred to it as Malaysia’s greatest development challenge. He noted: We have become a successful middle-income economy. But we cannot and will not be caught in the middle income […]