Asia and The World

The New Capitalism: Lessons for Asia?

The world is moving away from the textbook edition of capitalism towards a paradigm of which we know very little. Funds are transferred from place to place seamlessly. Stock markets are at record levels and judging by traditional theories, out of line with reality.

Asia's Democracies: Enjoying a free ride?

Democracies may not face the sustained criticism that they deserve when they fail to guarantee the rights of their citizens regardless of ethnic background or religious persuasion. However, they do seem to have some corrective mechanism, which while hardly flawless, nevertheless offer a modicum of hope.

Contested Geometries: Has Multipolarity trumped Multilateralism?

The signs of a new "great game" encompassing both the Asian land mass and its maritime peripheries are numerous. The United States is moving aggressively to resuscitate its postwar bilateral alliance system in the region into an "axis of democracies". It also illuminates an enduring American tendency to apply the geometry of Realpolitik as its preferred means for realising its other great strategic interest in the region: to prevent a China growing ever stronger from realising uncontested hegemony in the Asia-Pacific.

All this constitutes a highly intricate calculus of material power and diplomatic influence that renders the crude "zero-sum" geometry of expanded alliances for containment of possible threats anachronistic and unproductive. India, Japan and Australia are all too savvy to allow that kind of multipolarity to trump more sophisticated forms of multilateralism, predicated on expanding dialogue and deepening confidence-building.

The Straits of Malacca: Safe Again but whose Responsibility?

Today however, there is a shift in the way the Straits of Malacca is viewed by the international maritime community. Significantly, as a result of considerable improvement in security, issues of safety of navigation in the straits have taken priority and begun to dominate discussions. 

Currency Regimes in Asia Revisited

The manner in which Singapore operates its exchange rate regime is of international interest at a time when a number of other countries in the region, including China and Malaysia, are gradually introducing greater exchange rate flexibility by adopting currency basket regimes. 

Fighting the Good Fight? Canada and the NATO mission in Afghanistan

From the spring of 2006, NATO forces in Afghanistan found themselves engaged in serious battles against a determined enemy. On the ground, troops found themselves struggling to cope with a familiar question in waging war against a non-state actor: just who was the enemy?

On the Anniversary of the Iraq War

In my travels around the Arab world, I have met young Muslims teens, with no prior Islamist or jihadist background, desperately trying to raise a meagre sum of money to take a bus ride or an airline flight to the Syrian-Iraqi border and join the fight.

Congress' First 100 Days: Beltway Politics get Exported Overseas

After six years of lax congressional oversight over foreign and national security policy, the Bush administration must now contend with a Democratic Congress that intends to have a decisive say on the major foreign policy issues of the day, from military strategy in Iraq, to what Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson should tell Beijing about its undervalued currency.

Any Asian takers for a 1000-Ship Navy?

The cynics would argue, and not without some justification, that the '1000 Ship Navy' concept seeks to maintain a coalition of allies who jointly underwrite the costs of US naval superiority, unchallenged since the demise of Pax Britannica and more recently, the Soviet Union.

Have the markets gone crazy? Or just regained sanity?

Stock markets around the world have, until recently, experienced a significant run-up in prices. These appreciations, which started in 2003, have been particularly pronounced in Asia, where many stock markets have been pushed to a series of historical highs. 

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