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Thailand facing civil war

What is happening in Thailand comes close to open class warfare – it can spill over into full-blown civil war rather than just sporadic gun fights unless the opposition Democrats back down and reengage with the political process. They refused to engage in elections yesterday because, even though they oppose the current government, they know […]

Thailand’s new fascism?

What is happening in Thailand suggests a possible move toward dictatorship. The Yellow Shirts (and their political representatives in the Democrat Party) are a fascist group who want to suspend democracy and replace it with an unelected council of their choosing. They oppose elections even being held because they know the Democrats will lose.

The […]

Nepal shifts to the right

Living in this fascinating country had lead me to focus on their current election. The communist insurgency ended in 2008 but there really hasn’t been effective government in Nepal since that time. There are signs that the election held a few weeks ago may have ended this nightmare. A coalition between the pro-India Congress Party […]

Jade Scorpion

In the AFR Friday I read an amazing story that seems so fantastic that it strains credibility. A province in northern Myanmar (Burma) mines jade primarily for the Chinese market. Up to 500,000 workers in these mines are kept addicted to Golden Triangle heroin by mine bosses who subject them to slave-like working conditions. An […]

Lankov on North Korea

I am fascinated by North Korea and the book by Andrei Lankov intensifies my fascination. Its a bit like the guilty pleasure of gawking at an extreme traffic accident. A Stalinist monarchy that has survived its own massive and obvious internal contradictions. Lankov’s premise – the North Korean leadership is ruthlessly logical and efficient. They […]


Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in his address to the Australian Parliament said of the relations between Indonesia and Australia:

‘The most persistent problem in our relations is the persistence of age-old stereotypes, misleading simplistic mental caricatures which depict the other side in a bad light.’


North Korea turns backwards

With the Great Leader Kim Jong Il’s interest in nuclear proliferation this tends to be where the West’s diplomatic focus tends to be in relation to North Korean affairs – its atrocious human rights record tends to be placed in the back-burner – even by South Korea. This excellent article in the Washington Post – […]