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
19 Nov 2021

Age-old nature of the 'New Cold War'

History is back with a vengeance. Contrary to what proponents of the "end of history" theory said a few decades ago, the ideological struggle of the 20th century between the "free world" versus "the socialist-communist" camp is still ongoing, despite the Cold War ending over three decades ago. The struggle now features the United States-led Western alliance versus the China-centric global network of nations with authoritarian tendencies.

19 Nov 2021 5
Age-old nature of the 'New Cold War'
12 Nov 2021

Reopening a good bet with high costs

Nearly two weeks into Thailand's official reopening during the Covid-19 pandemic, it is time to evaluate the country's vaccine management plan, economic costs and prospects of recovery. While the reopening is worth the attendant risks, Thailand is paying a disproportionately high price for earlier mistakes and the government's mismanagement. As the reopening phase builds up, the Thai economy is likely to see a weak and tentative recovery trajectory with medium-term challenges and question marks.

12 Nov 2021 16
Reopening a good bet with high costs
5 Nov 2021

Thailand can't have it both ways abroad

Images of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha hobnobbing with world leaders like United States President Joe Biden, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at the COP26 Climate Summit in Glasgow sparked mixed feelings at home.

5 Nov 2021 24
Thailand can't have it both ways abroad
29 Oct 2021

What happens if Asean shrinks to 9?

It all came down to a choice between marginalisation and irrelevance on the one hand and pragmatism and resilience on the other. At its 38th and 39th leaders' meetings and related summits with dialogue partners, Asean chose to remain relevant. In an unprecedented move with far-reaching ramifications, Asean reduced itself to nine participating members from the normal 10, excluding Myanmar. While this bold manoeuvre derived from necessity rather than initiative, it provides Southeast Asia's bloc of smaller states a small window of opportunity to regain its footing and revitalise its central role in promoting regional peace and stability in Asia.

29 Oct 2021 21
What happens if Asean shrinks to 9?
22 Oct 2021

Give Asean seat to Myanmar opposition

Nearly nine months after its forceful takeover of the country from a legitimately elected civilian government, Myanmar's military has shown that it is one thing to seize power but an entirely different reality to consolidate and impose control.

22 Oct 2021 27
Give Asean seat to Myanmar opposition
15 Oct 2021

Aukus poses challenges to other powers

The Australia-United Kingdom-United States (Aukus) security pact has caused ripple effects across oceans and continents. Not only will the trilateral security partnership provoke China, but it will likely further divide Southeast Asia and overshadow Asean-centred cooperative vehicles, such as the East Asia Summit. Beyond these concerns, the Aukus deal to share Anglo-American nuclear technology to enable Australia's acquisition of eight nuclear-powered submarines over two decades poses challenges to other major powers, particularly the European Union and its key members as well as Japan.

15 Oct 2021 49
Aukus poses challenges to other powers
8 Oct 2021

Aukus pact raises geopolitical tensions

In less than a month, the trilateral security partnership among Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom (Aukus) has stolen the thunder from other geostrategic schemes that have been around for over a decade.

8 Oct 2021 48
Aukus pact raises geopolitical tensions
24 Sep 2021

The UK moves into a tougher new world

The United Kingdom is on the move. From the "Brexit" referendum result more than five years ago to the recent launch of the Australia-United Kingdom-United States (Aukus) trilateral security partnership, it is unmistakeable that the post-World War II rules-based liberal international order is coming under increasing strain. As the global order unravels, the UK is facing a brave new world that requires calling up its inner strength in ways not seen since its finest battle against tyranny and aggression some 80 years ago. And there are reasons to think the UK will do better than its critics and detractors suggest.

24 Sep 2021 78
The UK moves into a tougher new world
17 Sep 2021

The trade-off: Freedom and authority

Freedom is a funny thing. In excess, it leads to complacency and devaluation. In scarcity, it brings about urgency and desperation. Put this way, nowhere is freedom more taxed and toyed with than in the United States of America, a country that has so much going for it and yet is so conflicted within.

17 Sep 2021 20
The trade-off: Freedom and authority
10 Sep 2021

Thailand's holding pattern till next poll

Thailand's recent no-confidence debate in parliament started with a bang and ended with a whimper. Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and five other cabinet members who were grilled by opposition MPs for pandemic mishandling, budget irregularities and overall mismanagement and incompetence sailed through the parliamentary vote based on the coalition government's strength in MP numbers rather than the merits of its governance.

10 Sep 2021 33
Thailand's holding pattern till next poll