Posts By John J. Brandon

In The News

Global Summits Shine Spotlight on Obama’s Pivot to Asia

October 22, 2014

Less than one week after midterm elections in the United States, President Obama will travel to Asia to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum from November 10-11 in Beijing, and the East Asia Summit from November 13-14 in Naypyidaw, Myanmar. When he last visited Asia in April, President Obama was making up for his absence last year at these meetings because of the U.S. government shutdown. In the view of many Asians, President Obama’s absence had cast serious doubt on whether the U.S. is able to serve as an effective counterbalance to China and that his administration’s “pivot” or “rebalancing” is more rhetoric than substance.

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In The News

Thailand in 2014: Reform or Repression?

May 28, 2014

After declaring martial law for just a couple of days, Thailand’s military decided to launch a full-blown military “takeover” which most people in the rest of the world called a coup. The junta is now called the National Peace and Order Maintaining Council (NPOMC).

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In The News

Martial Law in Thailand Eases Some Tension, But Long-Term Solution Still Uncertain

May 21, 2014

In the early hours of May 20 in Bangkok, Thailand’s Army chief Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha declared martial law nationwide in order to restore order after seven months of street protests that have left the country without a proper functioning government. General Prayuth said martial law would remain in place…

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In The News

Fissures in Thailand: Both Natural and Man-Made

May 14, 2014

May 5 was the start of a very tumultuous week in Thailand on many fronts. But it initially did not start that way. May 5 is Coronation Day in Thailand, a national holiday, which this year commemorated the 64th anniversary of King Bhumipol Adulyadev’s ascension to the throne.

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In The News

Obama’s Asia Trip to Test Rebalancing Policy

April 23, 2014

This week President Obama travels to four Asian countries – Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, and Malaysia. In many respects, the president’s visit is to make up for his absence last October in Brunei and Indonesia to attend the East Asia Summit (EAS) and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders meeting because of the U.S. government shutdown.

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In The News

Economic Growth in ASEAN Drives Demand for Low-Cost Air Carriers

February 26, 2014

In mid-February, Singapore hosted Asia’s largest aerospace exhibition. Organizers of the week-long Singapore Air Show were hoping that $25 billion in deals would be signed, but by week’s end, expenditures had already surpassed that, reaching $32 billion in deals inked to help meet the demand for inexpensive, short-range travel. In 2010, sales amounted to what now seems a paltry $10 billion.

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In The News

Credible Reform, Not Shutdown, Needed to End Thailand’s Political Standoff

January 15, 2014

For more than two months, tens of thousands of anti-government protesters have gathered at Democracy Monument and other major intersections throughout Bangkok. Initially, the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), led by former long-time Democrat politician, Suthep Thaugsuban…

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In The News

ASEAN Chairmanship Offers Opportunity for Myanmar

January 8, 2014

On January 1, Myanmar assumed the chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). In 1997, when Myanmar joined ASEAN, the country’s membership was met with stiff resistance because of its abhorrent human rights record under an oppressive military dictatorship.

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In The News

Protests Exacerbate Thailand’s Political Divide

November 20, 2013

For the past month, thousands of protestors have gathered at Democracy Monument and other areas in Bangkok to protest a controversial amnesty bill that was crafted to absolve anyone who may have engaged in illegal activities from 2004 through August 2013.

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Notes from the Field

In Thailand and Cambodia, a Culture of Impunity Still Holds

November 13, 2013

In November 1979, I attended a benefit concert in Bangkok given by Joan Baez to help raise funds for the humanitarian relief of Cambodian refugees who fled to the Thai border to escape the heinous rule of the Khmer Rouge. An estimated two million people were murdered by Pol Pot and his henchmen.

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