Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Ecuador offers residency to WikiLeaks master

Ecuador, a country in central America with troubled relations with the US, has reportedly offered residency to WikiLeaks' mastermind Julian Assange. Meanwhile , a spokesman for WikiLeaks has reportedly said that the leaks of US' diplomatic cables would continue into early 2011.

White House condemns WikiLeaks release

Monday, November 29, 2010

White House condemns WikiLeaks for release

The White House has officially condemned Wikileaks for releasing US' diplomatic cables on the Internet, without clearance or authorization. The outrage seems to be bipartisan in the political mainstream in US.

Senior DPRK leader to visit Beijing tomorrow

Dai Bingguo, a very high-ranking State Councillor in charge of China's foreign affairs , has reportedly exchanged views over telephone with America's State Secretary Hillary Clinton on the current development in the Korean Peninsula. Also, according to a news report from China, a senior North Korean leader Choe Tae Bak will visit China tomorrow. Repeatedly urged by America and its allies, especially South Korea, to "rein in" North Korea, China had earlier suggested a six-party urgent consultative session on the current situation in the Korean Peninsula.

China urges six-party talks on Korean tension

Sunday, November 28, 2010

China urges six-party talks on Korean tension

China has called for a six-party emergency consultation to reduce the high tension on the Korean Peninsula, but the USA-allied ROK @ South Korea and Japan have reportedly been non-committal to the proposal. Meanwhile, the DPRK @ North Korea has reportedly mobilised its war-fighting personnel and equipment to face the USA -ROK joint military excecise in the Yellow Sea where there is a DPRK-ROK border dispute.

CNN: no "live-firing element" in US-ROK drill

CNN : no "live-firing element" in US-ROK drill

The joint US-ROK military excercise in the Yellow Sea has begun with the American aircraft carrier USS George Washington in the area, but according to an CNN report, the excercise will not involve " live-firing element ". Both the location and timing of the drill are very sensitive. China has established crisis-time channels of communication with the DPRK @ North Korea, ROK @ South Korea, America, Japan and Russia.

ASEAN's SG calls for "self-restraint" in Koreas

Saturday, November 27, 2010

ASEAN's SG calls for "self-restraint" in Koreas

On the current situation on the Korean Peninsula, ASEAN' s secretary-general Dr . Surin Pitsuwan has reportedly called on "all governments concerned to excercise maximum self-restraint" and to "refrain from unusual military movements". Meanwhile, China's FM Yang Jiechi has also reportedly talked to the DPRK , ROK and America on the matters. Earlier, India called on both the DPRK and ROK to resume negotiation for the maintenance of "peace and stability" on the Korean Peninsula.

India's "even-handed" position on Korean row

Thursday, November 25, 2010

India's "even-handed" position on Korean row

Officially, India has adopted an "even-handed" position on the current situation on the Korean Peninsula, that is in sharp contrast to the US. Obviously, India's approach to Myanmar/Burma also differs from USA. India's commercial relations with Iran are reportedly good despite the economic sanctions imposed by America against the Islamic Republic. Recently, President Barack Obama has expressed support for India to become a permanent member of the United Nations' Security Council.

One year after USA's "back" to Southeast Asia

Professor Dr. Lee Poh Ping, a long-standing scholarly observer of USA foreign policy in Southeast and also Northeast Asia and now a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of China Studies of the University of Malaya , also answered my questions on the American policy and also strategy of "Back to Southeast Asia" as well as the regional reponses.

Observations on America's SEA policy change

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Malaysian scholar: Suu Kyi remains important

After the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and before the reunion with her youngest son , I interviewed Associate Professor Jatswan Singh again - via Internet - on the situation and development in Myanmar/Burma.

Visa granted to Aung San Suu Kyi's son but ...

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Reflection on tragic stampede in Phnom Penh

Following TV news coverage on the tragic stampede in Phnom Penh is truly heartbreaking. Indeed, management of people in crowded places should no longer be dismissed lightly as a matter of no consequences. Meanwhile, my family and I certainly share the sorrow and grief of all those who have lost their beloved ones in the tragedy in Phnom Penh.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Visa granted to Aung San Suu Kyi's son but ...

Although the youngest son of Aung San Suu Kyi has been granted visa to visit his recently released mother in Myanmar/Burma, 9 magazines have reportedly been suspended for allegedly highlighting her stories. There are still, at least, 2,200 political detainees in Myanmar/Burma.

US' House condemns 'polls' in Myanmar/Burma

Saturday, November 20, 2010

US' House condemns 'polls' in Myanmar/Burma

The American House of Representatives has explicitly condemned the recent 'general elections' in Myanmar/Burma even after Aung San Suu Kyi has been freed. Before she was released last week, USA President Obama also decried the 'polls' while he was on an official trip to India. There is, however, a body of opinion in the USA establishment, led by Senator Jim Webb, who started to argue for a deepening engagement with the ruling junta even before the disputable ' elections' were held. According to one estimate, there are still 2, 200 political detainees in Myanmar /Burma even though the most well-known or iconic one, viz. Aung San Suu Kyi has been freed under the spotlight of world's media.

Exploring political future of Aung San Suu Kyi

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Exploring political future of Aung San Suu Kyi

Dr . Maung Zarni answered my questions again soon after the release of Aung San Suu Kyi in Myanmar /Burma. We exchanged views on her personality as well as the larger and complex situation of the military-dominant and Buddhist-majority former colony of the British Empire, which shares land borders with, inter alia, China, India and Thailand. Myanmar /Burma has also been a member state of ASEAN since 1997. In 1990 , the National League for Democracy (NLD) led by Suu Kyi won the general elections but the voters' verdict was not acceptable to the armed forces, which took over power and has since ruled the country. The reign of the junta, however, has been contested by Aung San Suu Kyi 's supporters as well as ethnic minorities in the vast border areas.

Neighbours' NTS concerns on Myanmar/Burma

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Neighbours' NTS concerns on Myanmar/Burma

On earth, Myanmar /Burma shares land borders with Thailand, China, Laos, Bangladesh and also India. This is a fairly important fact for its immediate neighbours to be concerned with its development from the perspective of Non-Traditional Security (NTS), such as the occasional outflux of refugees from areas where soldiers of the regime fight and clash with armed groups of ethnic minorities and criminal businesses. Moreover, lack of economic development within Myanmar/Burma has also caused massive influx of its productive people, both men as well as women, into Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore as foreign workers.

Dr. Maung Zarni on future of Myanmar/Burma

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Dr . Maung Zarni on future of Myanmar/Burma

Just two hours before Daw Aung San Suu Kyi re-gained her freedom in Myanmar/Burma, Dr. Maung Zarni answered my questions - via email - on the post -'elections' future of Myanmar / Burma. We actually met and also exchanged observations over dinner before in Kuala Lumpur. Dr. Maung Zarni is a Research Fellow at the famous London School of Economic and Political Science (LSE) and well-known commentator on the security situation and political development in Myanmar / Burma.

Aung San Suu Kyi released in Myanmar/Burma

Aung San Suu Kyi released in Myanmar/Burma

Aung San Suu Kyi has reportedly been freed in Myanmar /Burma. But, the ASEAN member seems to be still facing many real problems , like ethnic tensions which occcasionally turn into violent clashes between soldiers of the ruling junta and armed minorities on the border areas. Many people of Myanmar /Burma living outside their country are also critical of the ruling regime that has been militarised for many years. Let us hope the release of Suu Kyi would pave the way for a peaceful process of national reconciliation for the people of Myanmar /Burma.

ASEAN endorses 'elections' in Myanmar/Burma

Friday, November 12, 2010

Sale of Bush's autobiography a success in USA

Like it or not, Mr. Bush's autobiography is reportedly selling fairly well in America and it is widely expected to be a bestseller soon in the UK. I am also looking forward eagerly to reading the memoirs in Malaysia.

Bush's memoirs out amidst resurgence of GOP

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Bush's memoirs out amidst resurgence of GOP

Almost immediately after the Republican Party has registered a fairly noteworthy resurgence in the midterm congressional election, former president Bush, a Republican who secured two presidential terms and started two wars, is reported to be enjoying a 44 % favourable rating.
Bush has now begun to defend his legacy, especially on the responses of his administration to the 9 /11 attacks on the American homeland. How would these swings of political sentiments in America impact on its foreign policy as well as conduct of international relations is being observed and studied all over the world, especially in the Middle East.

Balance of political power returns in America

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

ASEAN endorses 'elections' in Myanmar/Burma

As expected by many observers, ASEAN endorses the outcomes of the 'general elections' in troublesome Myanmar/Burma while America and other Western countries think that the poll is not acceptable to them. India, a country which prides itself to be the largest democracy in the world, keeps silence, while China's stand has always been well-known. ASEAN membership includes the Philippines , Thailand and Singapore.

Watching general election in Myanmar/Burma

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Ecomomic models only theoretical constructs

Actually, no economic model in our textbooks exists in the real world. Nevertheless, studying theoretical constructs is still very important to understand the real forces of production, exchange and circulation of goods and services in the concrete context of international relations. Of course , formulation of economic policy can never be based purely on theoretical constructs without factoring in specific or even unique circumstances prevailing in the entity where human decision is made. For example, the budgetary and other policy responses in the US and UK to the on-going impacts of the global financial crisis are different although both countries are English-speaking and Christian -majority.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Balance of political power returns in America

From a partisan viewpoint, the Democratic Party in the USA has really suffered an electoral setback in the midterm Congressional Elections. But, from a nonpartisan perspective, a balance of political power has been restored to a newsworthy point in the United States of America. The current state of the economy was reportedly the major source of swing of electoral mood among USA's voters for the Republican Party. We can certainly expect more debates on economic policies as well as recovery measures between the two parties in United States' politics.

ABC of midterm Congressional Elections in US

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

ABC of midterm Congressional Elections in US

A very wellknown newspaper in the United States has just published A Midterm Election Day Primer for Kids . One good introductory book to understand the United States ' political system and process is Politics in America, authored by Thomas R. Dye and Bartholomew A. Sparrow.

A "discernible" shift in Obama's foreign policy