Some Thoughts On Hong Kong’s Protests

Tear gas. Violence on the streets. Airport closures. The view from Bangkok on the Hong Kong protests is almost one of weary familiarity. Not exactly déjà vu; the nuances mean that resemblance with Thailand's color-coded movements will never be reached. But the parallels are there and they are eery. This makes it particularly interesting to [...]

A Taste of Defeat

Attention in Thai politics has been focused this week on the cabinet's oath-taking error. The episode is worrying for several reasons. This was succinctly summarized by Parit Wacharasindhu: if it was an unintentional gaffe, it casts doubt Prayut's ability to handle complex issues; if it was intentional, it puts into question his respect for a [...]

US-China Relations Beyond 2020

I recently wrapped up my internship at the Bangkok Post, and my lead piece for this week's Asia Focus section was published today. In the world's preeminent superpower, the race to elect the new president is starting to yield clues about the future of its foreign policy. The narrowing gap between China and the United [...]

Prime Ministers and Parliaments

Every Wednesday at noon in the UK when parliament is in session, the British prime minister enters the House of Commons. For half an hour the prime minister must quell the curiosity of a roaring crowd of MPs who relentlessly ask questions, captive in the chamber until the speaker decides the house has heard enough. [...]

On Buffalos and Desserts

Wading into the replies section on any political tweet or Facebook post is almost always like intentionally jumping into a well filled with poisoned water. Social media has never been the arena for intellectual discourse and well-reasoned arguments, but rather a breeding ground for angry insults and cheap shots. Thai social media, however, may be [...]

Much Ado About Nothing

Anyone paying attention to Thai politics in the past week would have felt like parliamentary meetings have turned into fashion shows. Debate has raged fiercely as the Future Forward Party raised the issue of the dress code for MPs. Outraged was sparked when the party spokeswoman wore traditional regional clothing to a meeting. Twitter erupted [...]

Shinzo Abe’s Constitution Dream

My new commentary for the Bangkok Post's Asia Focus section on Japan's upper house election and Shinzo Abe's dream of amending the constitution. 'When the country is strong, and the risk of war small, when there is no threat of being attacked from without," the Japanese novelist Natsume Soseki once said, "then nationalism ought to [...]

The Fault in Our Cobras

When Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha ran for a second term, he did so with the slogan 'munkong, mungkung, yungyuen' — stability, prosperity, sustainability. Three months after the election, his government looks neither stable nor sustainable. Instead, it reminds us of British prime minister Theresa May's 'strong and stable' image that proceeded to produce the weakest [...]

Mission Impossible in Hong Kong

My new commentary for the Bangkok Post's Asia Focus section on Hong Kong's protests. Events have taken a different turn than anticipated since this was written, but given that the extradition bill probably hasn't been defeated for good, it's still worth analyzing how China is unlikely to let this slide. A million people on the [...]

Thailand’s First Election Since Military Coup Loosens Junta’s Grip on Power

My new article in openDemocracy analyzing the likely future trajectory of the Prayut administration: Last week, the leader of Thailand’s military junta, Prayut Chan-o-cha, easily won a parliamentary vote against his pro-democracy rival Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit to secure another term as prime minister.At first glance, it seems like a resounding victory for Prayut, a former army [...]

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