Politics, not elections, will change Singapore

Supporters of various political parties display party flags ahead of a 11 September snap general election in Singapore. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Stephan Ortmann, CUHK

On 25 August 2015, Singapore’s President Tony Tan officially dissolved the parliament, triggering early parliamentary elections. While these elections, by law, could have waited until January 2017, 2015 is particularly advantageous for the incumbent People’s Action Party (PAP). Read more…

Renewable energy: Abe’s missing arrow

Operators check monitors in the central control room of the Kyushu Electric Power Sendai nuclear power plant in Satsumasendai, Kagoshima prefecture on August 14, 2015. Japan regained supply of electricity generated by nuclear power on August 14 after a two-year hiatus. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Ulrich Volz, SOAS, University of London

On 11 August, the Japanese government went along with its plan to revive nuclear energy after the Fukushima disaster by restarting one of the Sendai nuclear power plants. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe insists that Japan cannot thrive without nuclear energy because oil and gas imports put a costly burden on the Japanese economy. Read more…

Will Xi always be obeyed?

A man walks past a billboard featuring a photo of Chinese President Xi Jinping beside lantern decorations for the Lunar New Year in Baoding, China's northern Hebei province on 24 February 2015. (Photo: AFP)

Author: Ryan Manuel, ANU

It ain’t easy being an autocrat.

Take China’s current President and Party Secretary, Xi Jinping. Since coming to power Xi has shown himself to be unhindered by former norms of collective decision making, and collective blame. Read more…

Will military courts help Pakistan eliminate terrorism?


Author: Sajjad Ashraf, NUS

In August 2015, Pakistan’s Supreme Court, which has a history of validating military takeovers under the ‘doctrine of necessity’, upheld the 21st amendment to the constitution allowing military courts to be established parallel to the existing civil judiciary for two years. Read more…

Credit where credit’s due for China’s economic authorities

A Chinese investor looks at prices of shares at a stock brokerage house in Haikou city, south China's Hainan province, 28 August 2015. (Photo: AAP).

Author: James Laurenceson, ACRI

Nobel prize winning economist Paul Krugman recently said with reference to China’s President Xi Jinping: ‘Are you starting to have the feeling that when it comes to economic policy Xi-who-must-be-obeyed has no idea what he’s doing?’ Read more…

Asia’s strategic weight

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks at the India-China Business Forum in Shanghai, China, 16 May 2015. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Peter Drysdale, East Asia Forum

Their sheer size and growth potential mean that China and India will be at the centre of the Asian economic powerhouse over the coming decades, however well it performs. Over the past two decades, the two countries have already more than tripled their share of the global economy. Adjusted for purchasing power parity (PPP), the Indian economy is now roughly the size of Japan’s. In PPP terms, China’s economy is already nudging that of the United States. Read more…

India’s role in Asia may not fit ‘Indo-Pacific’ agenda

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi (L) and China's President Xi Jinping wave to the press before their meeting in Xian, the capital of the Chinese Shaanxi Province, on 14 May 2015. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Hugh White, ANU

Many observers tend to assume that India will play a large and growing part as a great power in a wider ‘Indo-Pacific’ strategic system, that it will use its growing power to balance and limit China’s regional weight. But some caution is called for — although this outcome is possible, it is far from inevitable. Read more…