False information sways elections, and social media makes it worse. So governments are rushing through laws to block “fake news.” But in Southeast Asia, these laws will do more harm to elections than fake news.
Despite suspicions, China's engagement in developing Africa's telecom infrastructure has not led to an imposition of an authoritarian model of information control on the continent. Concerns should rather focus on the promotion of a top-down governmental model of development, which has proved inefficient.
Last month, the first session of China's 13th National People's Congress enacted a much discussed constitutional change, opening up a path for Xi Jinping to be president for life. Beyond this spectacular measure, promotions and appointments indicate the direction of the winds for China's foreign partners and competitors.
In tandem with China’s rise, America's geopolitical predominance in Asia has been waning, and this decline in influence has accelerated under the presidency of Donald Trump. Looking further ahead, however, it is not obvious that this "new normal" will be sustained in light of America’s deep economic and security interests in Asia and China’s fundamental fragilities.
In its Nuclear Posture Review released in February 2018, the Trump administration introduced new types of weapons and expanded the circumstances for justifying their use. This reverses nuclear arms control gains acquired through decades of delicate global negotiations.
Almost half of the world's pirate attacks happen in Southeast Asia. Among the most common locations for attacks is the Strait of Malacca, where tankers carry oil from the Gulf region to China, Japan, and South Korea, and via Singapore's refineries. As piracy becomes more prevalent, collaboration across the ASEAN region is more necessary than ever.
Despite his questionable, often violent leadership, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte enjoys an astounding 80% approval rating. In actuality, this support is carefully weighed and highly conditional. While Duterte won the presidency by speaking to the anxieties and hopes of the citizens, he now has to deliver on his promises, and the people are keeping tabs.
What if the United States withdrew its strategic commitment to allies in the Indo-Pacific? Taking that hypothesis seriously, Hugh White's latest essay, "Without America: Australia in the New Asia," suggests that Australia does not have any other option than engaging China—and neither does the rest of Asia.
North Korea has agreed to march alongside South Korea and to have a joint women’s hockey team with its neighbor at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang. The sports diplomacy of North Korea is often unpredictable, but could this particular instance signal a geopolitical détente in an East Asia gripped by nuclear fears?
As Xi Jinping begins his second term as president, the "new era" that he intends to install is becoming clearer to observers. It features a richer and more assertive China, better equipped with a modern military, at the center of the global stage.
Disaster-prone Asian countries are well aware of the urgent need to set up disaster management strategies. Siloed bureaucratic processes only hinder these efforts, as resilience comes from better engagement of local communities and the exploration of multiple sources of knowledge.
With their focus on economic development through innovation, the countries of East Asia are rising quickly through the ranks of the Global Innovation Index. These countries are not merely growing individually—they are growing with one another.
Global economies seem to be doing reasonably well in the face of an array of potentially destabilizing political issues. But this may not last if we do not tackle a non-inclusive pattern of growth and do more to address the needs of people and societies.