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Strugglers: the new poor of the 21st century


Author: Nancy Birdsall, Center for Global Development Mohamed Bouazizi is the Tunisian street vendor whose protest by self-immolation sparked the Arab Spring in December 2010. Bouazizi was a typical ‘struggler’. In crude income terms, a struggler is a member of a group wedged between the world’s poor (those living on US$1.90 a day or less, […]

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US foreign policy is failing in the Philippines


Author: Luke Lischin, National War College In spite of the United States’ renewed focus on great power competition in the 2018 National Defense Strategy, the war against terrorism will remain salient to US strategy. In few places is this clearer than in the Philippines. The United States’ ongoing efforts to bolster its military aid under […]

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The ruins of Bangladesh’s LGBT community


Author: Inge Amundsen, CMI What was once a fledgling lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka is now destroyed. In 2014 and 2015 the Bangladeshi gay scene was cautiously becoming more open. ‘Rainbow Rally’ pride parades were held and a gay magazine called Roopbaan was in print. But the […]

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Moscow’s mixed response to US arms in Asia


Author: Anthony V Rinna, Sino-NK Two of the United States’ key allies in the Asia Pacific, Japan and South Korea, have agreed to host US missile defence systems on their territory. South Korea has installed the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system, which became operational in 2017. In December 2017 the Japanese government approved […]

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Politics discourages and disenfranchises Malaysia’s youth


Author: Voon Zhen Yi, Centre for Public Policy Studies Observing the Parliament of Malaysia or indeed any of Malaysia’s 13 state legislative assemblies, it is noticeable that the corridors of power are packed with the elderly. There are no elected politicians between the ages of 15 to 24 in the country, and more than 70 […]

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Abe getting schooled by Moritomo scandal


Author: Aurelia George Mulgan, UNSW Canberra The Japanese public are gripped by daily developments in the Moritomo Gakuen scandal. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife are at the centre of allegations surrounding the heavily discounted sale of state-owned land to an ultra-conservative school operator with whom they previously had close personal ties. The scandal […]

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Rebuilding trust in the global economic system


Authors: Christopher H Lim and Tan Ming Hui, RSIS The global financial system is in a frail state. Global debt reached a record high of US$233 trillion in the third quarter of 2017. The global debt-to-GDP ratio has grown beyond expectations since the 2007–08 global financial crisis, and governments will struggle to pay off the […]

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Japan buckles up to join China’s Belt and Road


Author: Shutaro Sano, NDA In June 2017 the Japanese government suddenly reversed its original position on China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and announced that Japan would cooperate and provide financial backing for the US$1 trillion cross-border infrastructure development project. The extent of Japan’s cooperation remains to be seen, but this move may help Japanese Prime Minister […]

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A long election season looms for Indonesia


Author: Muhammad Sinatra, Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS) Malaysia The year 2018 will be an eventful year for Indonesian politics. In June 2018, 171 regional areas will simultaneously take to the polls to elect new mayors, regents and governors. These provincial elections will be followed by the general elections in 2019. The provincial […]

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What is Xi doing to the world?


Author: Rosemary Foot, Oxford University Scholars and policymakers have long been preoccupied with ascertaining whether China is intent on overturning or supporting the dominant norms of global order. Maoist China appeared as a revolutionary challenger to global-order norms, whereas Deng Xiaoping’s China came predominantly to be seen as adapting to international society and beginning to […]

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