Asia Unbound Blog

Asia Unbound

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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte speaks during a news conference at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Paranaque, Metro Manila, Philippines on May 24, 2017. (Erik De Castroe/Reuters)

Will the Bromance Between Trump and Duterte Last?

This past week, Southeast Asia observers have been buzzing over a leaked transcript of a phone call, made in April, between U.S. President Donald Trump and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. In the call, the two men spoke of each other warmly, with Trump praising Duterte’s brutal drug war in the Philippines. Read More

May 24, 2017

Thailand’s Coup, Three Years On

In September 2014, several months after the Thai armed forces’ May 2014 coup, I suggested that this coup would be different from other ones in more recent memory, like the 2006 Thai coup—and that the United States should consider that this Thai coup would be harsher and longer-lasting.

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May 19, 2017

China’s Soft Power, Part 3: Why A Global Rise of Strongmen Won’t Boost Beijing’s Appeal

As I noted in previous blog posts, China has in recent years embarked upon a global soft power offensive. This charm offensive has included an expansion of Xinhua and other state media outlets into many new markets, as well as professionalizing these news services and hiring many capable reporters.

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May 19, 2017

India Objects to China's Belt and Road Initiative—and It Has a Point

The grandiose Belt and Road Forum—a symbol of China’s foreign policy stepping-out as a global connectivity visionary—kicked off on May 14 with a notable absentee: India.

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