from Asia Unbound

What Has Gone Wrong in Southeast Asia?

June 02, 2014

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Thailand

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What has gone wrong in Southeast Asia? Between the late 1980s and the late 2000s, many countries in the region were viewed by global democracy analysts and Southeast Asians themselves as leading examples of democratization in the developing world.

By the late 2000s, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Singapore all were ranked as “free” or “partly free” by the monitoring organization Freedom House, while Cambodia and, perhaps most surprisingly, Myanmar had both taken sizable steps toward democracy as well.

Yet since then, Southeast Asia’s politics have been stuck in neutral or reverse. Asia Sentinel today has an excellent adaptation of my recent CFR working paper on the regression of democratic politics in Southeast Asia. The Asia Sentinel adaptation is available here.

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