December 3, 2010

Ending Our Isolation in Asia

The recent release of Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest, after deeply flawed elections that allowed the military in Myanmar, also known as Burma, to tighten its half-centurylong grip on the country, raises numerous political questions: What comes next for her? Will the ruling junta engage her newly reconstituted National Democracy Party? Will other political prisoners be freed?

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March 21, 2010

Will a King’s Death Kill Democracy?

Sixty years ago this week, King Bhumibol Adulyadej arrived back in Thailand. The 22-year-old had lived abroad most of his life. Named king four years earlier on his brother’s death, he was coming home for his coronation. The royal navy was drawn up for review. A jet squadron soared overhead. Half a million people lined the streets in celebration. As one biographer writes, “To astrologers, the heavens proved the great event: three days before Bhumibol arrived, hail fell on Bangkok for the first time since 1933.”

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January 10, 2010

Rivals and Partners

BANGKOK — Last fall, a rare opinion poll was conducted across China. It asked a simple question: What do you perceive as the greatest threat facing China? The range of answers was interesting — but even more interesting was the way the survey was reported in India.

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April 18, 2009

India: Wary on Obama

NEW DELHI — Leaders here can’t get enough of the American president. He’s “the best president vis-à-vis India in the past 50 years,” said a former diplomat. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told him, “the people of India deeply love you.” One official proposed awarding him the Bharat Ratna (Jewel of India), the country’s highest civilian honor.

Another nation in the throes of Obamania?

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April 10, 2009

A System That Works is Democratic Enough

THAILAND – What do you call a democracy in which women cannot vote, slavery is openly practiced, elected office is reserved for wealthy white landowners, and national laws define an entire race of people as three-fifths of a human being?

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