Unstable Opposition Means Reform in Malaysia Unlikely

By The Editors

Malaysia’s opposition coalition risks being torn apart after its leader Anwar Ibrahim sacked the chief minister of Selangor, the country’s most populous state. In an email interview, Clive Kessler, professor emeritus at the University of New South Wales, discussed the state of Malaysia’s opposition.


When it Comes to Nonproliferation, China Has Been a ‘Free Rider’

The Chinese, U.S. President Barack Obama said in a recent interview, “have been free riders for the last 30 years,” while the U.S. has maintained international security for the good of the world. Although Obama might not have meant to be so blunt, his remarks reflect a widespread view within Washington that China, in order to minimize foreign risks, has not been as helpful on many global issues, especially nonproliferation.


Jokowi's Test: Managing Indonesia's Old Guard—and Civil Society's Hopes

By Sue Gunawardena-Vaughn
, , Briefing

With their central role in his successful campaign, Indonesian civil society groups’ expectations run high that Joko Widodo’s presidency will be marked by transparency, accountability, rule of law and respect for human rights. But it remains to be seen if Jokowi can deliver on all that, given Indonesia’s notoriously fractious politics, decentralized Kafkaesque bureaucracy and messy political infrastructure. more

Global Insider

South Korea’s Economic Growth Holds Steady

By The Editors
, , Trend Lines

Last month South Korea unveiled a $40 billion economic stimulus package designed to boost a lagging growth rate. In an email interview, Dwight Perkins, professor emeritus of political economy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, discussed the state of South Korea’s economy. more

Ukraine Crisis Torpedoes Russia-Japan Rapprochement

By Richard Weitz
, , Briefing

One of the major sticking points to improved Japan-Russia relations has long been the two sides’ territorial dispute over the Southern Kurils. Now the two countries have an opportunity to change matters. For the first time in decades, both have leaders who could negotiate a territorial compromise and then sell it domestically. But the Ukraine crisis has put an end to earlier hopes for a resolution. more

U.S., India Seek to Move Defense Ties Beyond Arms Sales

By Saurav Jha
, , Briefing

Last week, U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel visited India to sound out Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the Defense Trade and Technology Initiative, the “centerpiece” of the U.S.-India security relationship. To sustain ties with a new Indian government focused on leveraging weapons manufacturing for jobs, Washington realizes it must move beyond arms sales to co-development and co-production agreements. more

BRICS Bank Will Bolster, Not Challenge, Global Financial System

By Daniel McDowell
, , Briefing

The BRICS countries recently unveiled a new development bank that includes a $100 billion fund known as the Contingent Reserve Arrangement, designed to provide short-term support to BRICS members, similar to the International Monetary Fund. Despite suggestions that the CRA is another sign that the BRICS and the West are headed for confrontation, the new institution might leave all sides better off. more

After Successful Visit, Modi Must Deliver on India-Nepal Relations

By Anuradha Sharma
, , Briefing

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Nepal earlier this week ushered in a new chapter in relations between the two neighbors. Modi charmed the Himalayan nation with a rousing address in the Constituent Assembly—the first by a foreign leader—and announced a soft loan of $1 billion. But Modi must now try to regain the trust of the Nepalese, who hold a strong view that “India promises, China delivers.” more

For Jokowi, Maintaining Indonesia’s Role Abroad Depends on Domestic Reform

By Prashanth Parameswaran
, , Briefing

Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s victory in Indonesia’s presidential election is nothing short of historic. He is the first-ever president from outside the Jakarta elite, chosen by Indonesians to clean up the country’s politics and institute fundamental change. But his ability to deliver remains to be seen. He will face a host of challenges in trying to balance reforms at home and maintaining an active role abroad. more

Diplomatic Fallout

Lacking Primetime Partners, U.S. Remains ‘Indispensable’ Crisis Manager

By Richard Gowan
, , Column

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s ill-fated attempts to staunch conflict after conflict seem to confirm that Washington’s global influence is shriveling, even as the argument that the U.S. has little choice but to keep fighting diplomatic fires implies it is unable to choose where and when to expend its diplomatic energy. Does the U.S. have to be trapped in this pattern of obligations and setbacks? more

Indonesia’s Jokowi Must Balance Between Non-Alignment and U.S. Overtures

By Eric Auner
, , Trend Lines

Last week, Joko Widodo was declared the winner of Indonesia’s presidential election over Prabowo Subianto, a former general. Although Indonesia is officially a non-aligned country, it has shown a willingness to engage with the United States, which welcomed Widodo’s election. Washington wants to strengthen U.S. ties with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, of which Indonesia is a key member. more

World Citizen

In South Korea, Ferry Disaster Still Claiming Victims

By Frida Ghitis
, , Column

Last week, South Korea marked 100 days since the ferry disaster that left 304 people dead, most of them young high school students. The sinking of the Sewol, as the ship was named, has grown into much more than a heartbreaking tragedy. It has become a landmark event in the country’s history. More than anything, the Sewol has transformed the relationship between South Korean citizens and their government. more