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 [...]

Parliament is Messy. Rightfully So.

"Democracy is messy, and it's hard", Robert Kennedy once said. "It's never easy". Autocracies, on the other hand, are fast and efficient. No wonder the so-called benevolent dictatorships are so attractive; why risk the messiness of democracy when you can get things done at the stroke of a pen? With the commencement of the new [...]

Principles and Parties

Watchers of American politics will be familiar with Texas senator Ted Cruz's statement that he is a Christian first, an American second, a conservative third and a Republican fourth, which led to much derision about whether that order actually holds true. The question of whether one holds party over country is one that continues to [...]

What Thailand’s Democrats Must Decide

I have finals coming up and so I don't have much time to write, but given that the Democrats will soon be electing a new party leader, I wanted to offer a few thoughts. That the Democrats performed catastrophically in the most recent election is a well known point. The extent of the electoral collapse [...]

After Coronation, A Return to Political Reality

(MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP/Getty Images) May your unity in expressing to me your goodwill augur that everyone, and all sides, shall take action for the further prosperity of our nation.King Maha Vajiralongkorn The coronation of His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn was, politically speaking, a moment where everything in Thailand paused. All eyes were focused on the official [...]

In Thailand, Pessimism Once Again

"If voting made a difference", Mark Twain once wrote, "they would never let us do it." In Thailand, this has more than a hint of being true. The election was never going to resolve many of Thailand's problems. The power of the pen, as a popular hashtag went, was never going to be enough to [...]

Democratic System More Than Just Popular Vote

My new article in the Bangkok Post: Sontirat Sontijirawong, secretary of the Palang Pracharath party, recently complained about the media labeling different parties “pro-democracy” and “pro-dictatorship”. PPRP, Sontirat argued, had run in an election and won 7.9 million votes. It has engaged with the democratic process and as such Palang Pracharath is just as pro-democracy [...]

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