Columnnist

Thitinan Pongsudhirak

A PROFESSOR AT CHULALONGKORN UNIVERSITY

A professor and director of the Institute of Security and International Studies at Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Political Science, he earned a PhD from the London School of Economics with a top dissertation prize in 2002. Recognised for excellence in opinion writing from Society of Publishers in Asia, his views and articles have been published widely by local and international media.

Thitinan Pongsudhirak
27 May 2022

Chadchart's effect on Thai politics

Among the myriad of implications over Chadchart Sittipunt's thumping triumph in Bangkok's gubernatorial election last Sunday is the restoration of Thailand's self-confidence and Thais' sense of belief that tomorrow will be better than today. After years of political decay and entrenching economic stagnation stemming from societal divisions, Mr Chadchart brings into office what has been described as a "rainbow" coalition made up of people from different walks of life and political party lines, transcending the progressive and conservative sides of the political divide.

27 May 2022 19
Chadchart's effect on Thai politics
20 May 2022

Capital poll portends Thailand's rule

Never has Bangkok's gubernatorial contest been so much about Thailand. The poll this Sunday is not just about how Bangkok will be run but how Thailand will be ruled.

20 May 2022 16
Capital poll portends Thailand's rule
13 May 2022

America, Asean in geostrategic drift

As Southeast Asia's renowned regional bloc, Asean has been wanting to have its cake as well as eat it. Its summit meeting with the United States in Washington this week is a testimony to trying to have it both ways. When Washington cares less about Asean, the nominally 10-member grouping frets about the lack of attention and priority. But when the US cares more, some Asean members are sceptical about its intentions and interests. This summit is likely to show that the US and Asean member states are less in line and increasingly unaligned.

13 May 2022 10
America, Asean in geostrategic drift
29 Apr 2022

The local politics of Thai soft power

It was yet another passing storm in Thailand's overflowing teacup. The overnight sensation of 19-year-old rapper Danupha "Milli" Khanatheerakul at the recent Coachella Music Festival in the United States has shaken Thailand to its core foundations and revealed much that is still right and all that is wrong with this country. At issue are the ramifications from her global showcase of Thailand's sticky rice and ripe mango on the Coachella stage in view of her talent and political standing against the local conservative establishment.

29 Apr 2022 24
The local politics of Thai soft power
1 Apr 2022

Endgame dynamics in Russia's war

Five weeks into Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the tables are turning dramatically amidst the fog of war. As the Ukrainians have stood their ground better than anticipated, the Russians have been put on the back foot. The centre of gravity in the war now appears to be shifting eastward away from Kyiv towards Crimea and the Donbas region. As endgame discussions emerge, all major parties in the conflict are behoved to arrive at a viable settlement and common denominator without overplaying their hands.

1 Apr 2022 18
Endgame dynamics in Russia's war
18 Mar 2022

Russia's war causes regional disarray

President Vladimir Putin's decision to invade Ukraine from Feb 24 is deeply consequential for Southeast Asia, both as a region and Asean as a regional organisation. Even though this region is relatively far away from the cut and thrust of Russia's war in Ukraine, Asean has already encountered new internal divisions stemming from the raging conflict in Europe. As a result, Asean's age-old approach of consensus will likely become more problematic in the search for new and more effective ways of cooperation among like-minded member states.

18 Mar 2022 18
Russia's war causes regional disarray
4 Mar 2022

Early implications of Russia's invasion

Just one week after his military invasion of Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin has found some truisms of warfare the hard way. Once war starts, the fog that accompanies it and the friction that it creates lead to unanticipated and unintended outcomes. Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine, borne out of choice rather than necessity, appears to be dragging on, not the short and swift victory Mr Putin and his military planners might have envisaged. While Russia may still triumph on Ukrainian battlefields, it has lost the war just about everywhere else.

4 Mar 2022 37
Early implications of Russia's invasion
18 Feb 2022

Where have the media reformers gone?

After two decades marked by two military coups in 2006 and 2014, Thailand is supposed to be a "reformed" country by now. While all kinds of reforms were promised with each military takeover -- from political parties, parliament and constitution to the bureaucracy, military and police -- none has taken place. In fact, pledged reforms have gone in the opposite direction in the past. Nowhere is this reaction and restoration of old power and interests more evident than in Thailand's media industry.

18 Feb 2022 54
Where have the media reformers gone?
4 Feb 2022

Myanmar military fails sovereignty test

After seizing power from an elected civilian government on Feb 1 last year, Myanmar's military junta under the State Administration Council (SAC) has fallen short of the four categories that constitute the definition of a sovereign state.

4 Feb 2022 23
Myanmar military fails sovereignty test
21 Jan 2022

Japan's post-Covid regional dilemma

Among the major powers that are moving forward with an eye on the post-pandemic era, when Covid-19 will eventually become an endemic with flu-like manageability, Japan is second to none. The visit last week by its minister of economy, trade, and industry (METI), Koichi Hagiuda, made front-page news in Bangkok, following similarly notable media coverage in Jakarta and Singapore. But while it has played a critical role in Asean's economic development and regional security, Japan's Indo-Pacific geostrategic environment has become adverse with more downside risks.

21 Jan 2022 12
Japan's post-Covid regional dilemma