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July 28, 2020

Southeast Asia
The Implications of the Najib Razak Case

On Tuesday (Malaysia time), a Malaysian court found former Prime Minister Najib tun Razak guilty on seven counts of corruption, and sentenced him to twelve years in jail and a nearly $50 million fine…

Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak leaves Kuala Lumpur High Court in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on July 28, 2020.

December 27, 2013

Middle East and North Africa
Mohamad Chatah, R.I.P.

Mohamad Chatah was killed by terrorists in Beirut today. Chatah was a former ambassador to the United States and minister of finance, and chief adviser to Fouad Siniora when Siniora was prime ministe…

chatah

April 30, 2020

China
Assessing the Early Response to Beijing’s Pandemic Diplomacy

Responses to China’s post-COVID overtures are largely falling along pre-existing political fault lines.

Wang Yi speaks during a news conference after a meeting of foreign ministers of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China.

March 16, 2020

Southeast Asia
Has Malaysia’s Democratic Experiment Imploded?

In recent weeks, Malaysian politics have been upended by a series of dramatic moves, countermoves, and reversals. Less than two years after the landmark May 2018 election that ousted Malaysia’s long-…

Malaysia's Prime Minister Designate and former interior minister Muhyiddin Yassin waves to reporters before his inauguration as the eighth prime minister, outside his residence in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on March 1, 2020.

May 10, 2018

Southeast Asia
Can Mahathir Mohamad be Malaysia’s First Democratically Elected Prime Minister?

By Thomas Pepinsky On May 9, Malaysian voters delivered a stunning defeat to the incumbent Barisan Nasional (BN, “National Front”) regime. Since independence in 1957, Malaysia has been ruled by a …

Mahathir_5.10.2018

October 18, 2018

Venezuela
What Latin America Should Tell China About Venezuela

Bankrolling the region’s biggest humanitarian disaster won’t win Beijing many friends.

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza (2nd L) talks with China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi (2nd R) during a meeting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing on December 22, 2017.

August 1, 2018

Southeast Asia
What to Watch for From Southeast Asian States During the Pompeo Trip

Beginning tomorrow, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is in Asia for a trip to Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore, three important U.S. partners in Southeast Asia. In addition to bilateral meetings…

Pompeo_7.26.2018

July 2, 2018

Southeast Asia
Malaysia Achieved a Democratic Victory—But Don’t Expect Its Success to Spread

In early May, Malaysia was stunned by the victory, in national elections, of the opposition coalition, led by Mahathir Mohamad and essentially (from jail), longtime opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim. A…

Mahathir_5.10.2018

June 25, 2018

Southeast Asia
After the Big Win, Mahathir Faces Reality—Part Two

In my previous post, I discussed how, after a surprising victory in May elections, and jubilation among supporters of the former opposition coalition that they had finally broken through, ending the …

Mahathir-Abe_6.12.2018

June 19, 2018

Southeast Asia
After the Big Win, Mahathir Faces Reality

Following the surprise victory by Malaysia’s (former) opposition coalition in national elections in May, a spirit of jubilation erupted in much of the country, at least in regions not won by UMNO, th…

Mahathir_6.11.2018