How Abe is losing the narrative on Japan’s new security laws

A demonstrator holds a sign against the new legislation that would allow the military to deploy overseas, in Tokyo outside of Japan's parliament against new legislation on September 23, 2015 (Photo: AAP)

Author: Stephen Nagy, ICU Tokyo

Japan’s new security laws, which were passed on 19 September and allow for limited forms of collective self-defence, have been described as a ‘move away from pacifism’, the opening of a ‘Pandora’s box’ and the ‘unsheathing of a new Japanese sword’. But considering the bill’s extreme limitations and significant domestic constraints — including a greying and shrinking population, mounting domestic debt and deeply embedded pacifist norms — one wonders how and why this narrative has taken root so deeply.

Read more…

Vietnam–US relations balancing ideology and geopolitics

U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam David Shear, second right, and Vietnam's Deputy Defense Minister Nguyen Chi Vinh, third left, cut ribbon during a ceremony marking the start of a project to clean up dioxin left over from the Vietnam War, at a former U.S. military base in Danang, Vietnam Thursday Aug. 9, 2012. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Cuong T. Nguyen, University of Chicago

On 7 July 2015, Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong met US President Barack Obama at the Oval Office, marking a historic milestone in advancing US–Vietnam relations. But the trip was largely symbolic as Trong returned to Hanoi with only modest progress on comprehensive US–Vietnam relations. So, when eloquent rhetoric collides with hard logistics, what was the main roadblock in furthering US–Vietnam relations?

Read more…

China hits the road

Chinese President Xi Jinping, right, speaks to Swiss Economy Minister Johann Schneider-Ammann as he meets with delegates attending the signing ceremony for the Articles of Agreement of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing Monday, 29 June 2015. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Zhiqun Zhu, Bucknell University

The China-initiated Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), whose Articles of Agreement have been signed by 51 prospective founding members as of October, is expected to be operational by the end of 2015. China has generally been cooperative with and supportive of Bretton Woods multilateral institutions. At the same time, it is frustrated that the existing multilateral institutions set the limits for its global ambitions. The slow pace of reforms at the Western-dominated IMF and World Bank prevents China and other emerging economies from playing a bigger role in international political economy. The AIIB will help rectify this situation and boost China’s status as a global power. Read more…

How the Reserve Bank of India escaped the central banking crisis

Reserve Bank of India governor Raghuram Rajan smiles during a press conference in Mumbai, India, Tuesday, 29 September 2015. India's central bank on Tuesday cut its key interest rate by half a percentage point, aiming to spur economic growth as inflation cooled to the lowest since November. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Alok Sheel, Government of Kerala

Hyperinflation during the 1970s and 1980s relegated fiscal policy as the macroeconomic policy of last resort, ushering in the golden age of monetary policy. With Paul Volcker’s spectacular use of monetary policy to tame hyperinflation, which saw policy interest rates breach 20 per cent and the Volcker recession, ‘independent’ central bankers came to be seen as the masters of macroeconomic policy. Read more…

The Sino–American co-dependency trap

US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping exchange toasts during a state dinner at the White House, 25 September 2015, during Xi's weeklong official visit. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Stephen S. Roach, Yale University

Increasingly reliant on each other for sustainable economic growth, the United States and China have fallen into a classic co-dependency trap, bristling at changes in the rules of engagement. The symptoms of this insidious pathology were on clear display during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s recent visit to America. Little was accomplished, and the path ahead remains treacherous. Read more…

The structural regression of Malaysian manufacturing


Authors: Jayant Menon and Thiam Hee Ng, ADB

Malaysia’s manufacturing sector is reversing to a state reminiscent of its post-colonial stage of development. Regrettably this situation was avoidable.

When the Federation of Malaya gained independence from Britain in 1957, economic conditions were ripe for rapid and sustained growth. Its primary export sector was showing immense potential for expansion. Read more…

What does the Greek crisis mean for the AEC?

The flags of the ASEAN+3 nations fly for the opening day of the 25th ASEAN summit in Myanmar on 12 November 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Michael G. Plummer, The John Hopkins University

The Greek crisis has periodically dominated international headlines since 2009, when its economic and fiscal crunch led to a series of debt downgrades and ushered in fears of default. So what lessons does the crisis hold for the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC)? Read more…