Why Indonesia should take a leading role in ASEAN

Indonesian President Joko Widodo listens during the 2nd ASEAN-United States Summit, part of the 25th Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Related Summits at the Myanmar International Convention Center in Naypyitaw, Myanmar, 13 November 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Pattharapong Rattanasevee, Burapha University

ASEAN would benefit from stronger leadership. But Indonesia, the country best placed to take up that role, appears unwilling.

Indonesia could be the leader that ASEAN needs, but it intentionally refrains from asserting its influence over the association. Read more…

After thirty years of Hun Sen, where is Cambodia now?

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, greets well-wishers during the 36th anniversary of Victory Day, when the Khmer Rouge regime was toppled in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, 7 January 2015. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Vannarith Chheang, University of Leeds

2015 marks 30 years in power for Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen. Hun Sen became prime minister in January 1985 at only 33 years old. He has consolidated his power base through charismatic leadership, paternalism, coercion and a system of patronage. Read more…

The Myanmar story doesn’t end here

A labourer reaps at a paddy field in Dala township, Myanmar. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Nicholas Farrelly, ANU

The story of Myanmar’s transition to a more democratic political system, and a more productive economy, is far from over.

Myanmar had a big year in 2014. The country held its first census in 30 years. The lead-up to the national count was plagued by criticism and uncertainty. Read more…

ASEAN shouldn’t get hung up on the AEC deadline

Undocumented Indonesian workers walk on the tarmac towards an Indonesian military C-130 aircraft at Subang Air Force base in Subang, outside Kuala Lumpur, on 23 December 2014. (Photo: AAP)

Authors: Ganeshan Wignaraja, ADBI and Jenny Balboa, ADBI

The ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) is unlikely to come into being by its December 2015 deadline due to its overambitious design and apathetic implementation. But there are still plenty of things that ASEAN can do to prepare for when the AEC is eventually launched. Read more…

Australia needs to refocus on ASEAN

Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott holds hands ASEAN leaders during the ASEAN–Australia 40th Anniversary Commemorative Summit in Naypyitaw, Myanmar, 12 November 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Gareth Evans, ANU

Things just haven’t clicked the way they should have in the Australian–ASEAN relationship. We seem far removed from the time when as Australia’s Foreign Minister I had no counterparts anywhere in the world with whom I felt more close and comfortable. Read more…

Is RCEP just the same old trade paradigm?

Workers contruct the foundation at a new construction site for an office high-rise building in the Indonesian capital city of Jakarta on September 5, 2014. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Sanchita Basu Das, ISEAS

What will it take to change the way Asia thinks about trade strategy?

As the negotiators of the RCEP agreement are meeting in New Delhi, India, from 1–5 December 2014, attention is turned to the question of whether this mega-regional represents a ‘new paradigm’ of regional trade agreements or not. Read more…

China’s aspiring global leadership

US president Barack Obama and Chinese president Xi Jinping look at each other during a press conference at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing during APEC, 12 November 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Chulalongkorn University

This geopolitical summit season has consolidated ongoing trends in international affairs. A still-rising China with global leadership aspirations, a resurgent Russia bent on restoring its superpower status, and sclerosis and dysfunction in Western countries is likely to dominate international politics for at least the next 20 years. In fact, we might only be at the beginning in this long time span where seismic global power shifts are taking place. Read more…