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 Events on 2022

Facebook Live - Russia’s War in Ukraine Two Weeks On: Consequences and Directions 

This public forum brings together comments and views from the ambassadors and heads of mission of the European Union, Poland, the United Kingdom, and New Zealand, as well as a former Thai foreign minister. Issues and topics to be addressed include the Russian invasion in view of the United Nations Charter and International Law, Ukraine's predicament involving domestic determination against Russia’s military operations, and Russia's dilemma in case the war drags on. We will also examine the role of the United States, the European Union, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation – whether this broad Western alliance can sustain sanctions and how they might handle the consequences from refugee and humanitarian crises against the backdrop of Russia’s advance and Ukraine’s vulnerabilities. ASEAN member states’ positions and postures, including Thailand’s, will also be discussed. 

Facebook Live – Biden and the U.S. Commitment Challenge in Southeast Asia 

This event is organized as a launch of Dr. Prashanth Parameswaran’s book, Elusive Balances: Shaping U.S.-Southeast Asia Strategy. As a seasoned analyst, researcher and writer on myriad Southeast Asia-related topics, Prashanth tries to explain in this timely book the patterns and dynamics in Washington’s commitments in its relations with Southeast Asia. In doing so, Prashanth discusses the challenge the United States faces in forging sustained, balanced commitment to match Southeast Asia’s growing importance over the past half-century. The book develops and applies an original “balance of commitment” model to analyze U.S. commitment to Southeast Asia over time and includes recommendations for moving forward under the Biden administration and beyond, amid intensifying U.S.-China competition and regional concerns about rising polarization and protectionism in Washington. The book illustrates that the U.S. commitment challenge in Southeast Asia is rooted not just in differences between administrations or divides between Washington and the region, but in the structural challenge of simultaneously calibrating adjustments between power, threats and resources – what the book refers to as the pursuit of “elusive balances.” After presentation of the book’s main themes and argument, we will be joined by Dr Van Jackson, also a well-known author and strategic thinker on American foreign policy in Asia who is based at the Centre for Strategic Studies in Wellington, New Zealand. He will tease out some of the key takeaways from the book in a robust fashion. 

Facebook Live – The Russia-Ukraine War and Prospects: Impact for World Order and Implications for Asia 


Facebook Live – Thai Politics Update: Polls, Players, Prospects 

While the coalition government of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha has shown signs of divisions and instability, it has managed to soon reach its fourth and last year in office, based on the last general election in March 2019. As the current four-year term of the House of Representatives will be completed just over a year from now, there is much debate and discussion about when the next nationwide poll will take place, which political parties will be contesting under what terms, and who the major players will be, including candidates for the premiership. In addition, the Bangkok gubernatorial poll is also at stake, expected to take place this year, possibly as early as May. When it comes to electoral politics, Bangkok is no Thailand but the capital’s gubernatorial outcome may be indicative of poll results elsewhere. Amidst polls and personalities, we will also assess the trend and direction of the youth-led protest movement that made much political splash in 2020-21. Has the student-led political movement lost ground, or does it still have traction and wherewithal to make its voices heard once again in future? How will these youths vote in the upcoming elections? These are some of the questions and issues the expert and experienced line-up of speakers will address in this public forum. 

Facebook Live – Myanmar’s Coup One Year On: Realities, Trends, Prospects 

This webinar focusing on the one-year anniversary of Myanmar’s military coup that took place on 1st February 2021. In view of the preceding decade of political liberalization, democratic reforms and civilian rule, it is hard to believe that Myanmar’s putsch and reversion to military dictatorship has come up to a full year. Unlike previous coups in the country in 1962 and 1988, the Tatmadaw (Myanmar’s armed forces) under the coup-appointed State Administration Council (SAC) this time has succeeded in taking power but not imposing control. By all accounts, Myanmar is locked in a civil war and at risk of a humanitarian catastrophe amid a nationwide uprising against the coup and military rule. International responses have been ineffective to broker a dialogue and return to democratic process. ASEAN’s attempts to mediate, highlighted by its “Five-Point Consensus” from April last year, also have gone nowhere. Under Cambodia’s current chairmanship, ASEAN is seen to be even weaker with less leverage in dealing with the SAC. Realities and trends on the ground are grim, and prospects are bleak. The situation is likely to worsen before any breakthrough can come about. 

(April 29, 2022) The local politics of Thai soft power 

It was yet another passing storm in Thailand's overflowing teacup. The overnight sensation of 19-year-old rapper Danupha "Milli" Khanatheerakul at the recent Coachella Music Festival in the United States has shaken Thailand to its core foundations and revealed much that is still right and all that is wrong with this country. At issue are the ramifications from her global showcase of Thailand's sticky rice and ripe mango on the Coachella stage in view of her talent and political standing against the local conservative establishment. 

(April 26, 2022) The age-old nature of the ‘new Cold War’ 

Russia’s war in Ukraine and the rise of China signal an ideological challenge to the Western order, of the kind thought buried with the Soviet Union. 

(April 1, 2022) Endgame dynamics in Russia's war 

Five weeks into Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the tables are turning dramatically amidst the fog of war. As the Ukrainians have stood their ground better than anticipated, the Russians have been put on the back foot. The centre of gravity in the war now appears to be shifting eastward away from Kyiv towards Crimea and the Donbas region. As endgame discussions emerge, all major parties in the conflict are behoved to arrive at a viable settlement and common denominator without overplaying their hands. 

(May 3, 2022) Asean tackling aid for Myanmar people 

Despite setbacks due to the unsettled domestic conditions inside Myanmar since the coup in February 2021, Asean is moving ahead to explore practical ways to provide urgent humanitarian assistance to the affected peoples of Myanmar, the number of which will soon reach one million. 

(April 26, 2022) Japan pushes new diplomatic profile 

During Golden Week, around the first week of May, Japanese politicians will usually spend time at home with their constituencies and families. Not the prime minister of Japan, Fumio Kishida, however. He knows full well that as the world's third-largest economy, Japan's wider diplomatic and security profile in the era of great disruption with the Russia-Ukraine war must be underlined. No time to waste. 

(April 19, 2022) Asean-US to meet amid great challenges 

After more than six months of negotiations, the US and Asean have finally agreed that their leaders will meet in Washington DC on May 12-13. This kind of tussle could have been avoided had there been better coordination from the US side. 
 Articles - Ms.GWEN ROBINSON

(April 8, 2022) Shooting of Myanmar central banker shows new forex-rule backlash 

The shooting of one of Myanmar's top central bank officials in Yangon on Thursday highlighted growing public hostility toward financial regulators and institutions associated with the military regime amid the country's deepening financial crisis. 

(February 9, 2022) Yangon’s calm masks Myanmar’s pain a year after military takeover 

Keep abreast of significant corporate, financial and political developments around the world. Stay informed and spot emerging risks and opportunities with independent global reporting, expert commentary and analysis you can trust. 

(January 26, 2022) Myanmar's 'critically weak economy' to grow 1% in 2022: World Bank 

Myanmar's economy could grow 1% in the year to Sept. 30 after plunging by 18% during the previous 12 months, although conditions remain bleak amid escalating conflict and lingering threats of a COVID-19 resurgence, according to the World Bank.