Tag Archives: southeast Asia

US Election– Lesson For Thailand?

Several Thai leaders referred to the Obama-McCain hard fought election as a lesson for their own nation in which the electoral victory of the People Power party was not accepted by the People’s Alliance for Democracy. The result has been governmental stalemate, conflict, and violence in the country. Wutthipong Priabchariyawat, director of a Thai think-tank, pointed out that in the United States, “two parties fought hard against each other but they didn’t prolong their competition after the results were announced.” The Thai government which still is attempting to organize itself in some coherent manner, was hopeful that Obama’s election would serve the cause of peace in the region. Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat sent a message to the newly elected American leader; “With your past experience in Southeast Asia, I look forward to seeing the US under your leadership enhance its meaningful role in the region.”

Most leaders in Southeast Asia expect the Obama administration will be less unilateral than that of Bush and more willing to engage in meaningful dialogue and cooperation with nations in the region.

Medvedev Seeks Allies In The East

The negative reaction from Western powers to Russia’s lightening strike against Georgia has caused President Medvedev to turn eastward seeking support from friendly nations like China and former members of the Soviet Union. A spokesperson with the Foreign Ministry said: “We are hoping that our efforts in resolving the conflict in Georgia will be acknowledged.” Nations like Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan are being contacted in order to establish a new coalition in south Asia. However, about the only nation to actually express support for Russian action has come from Belarussian president Alexander Lukashenko.

The Georgia crisis has resulted in some interesting changes in a Russia which finds itself diplomatically isolated from most nations of the world. President Medvedev has also emerged from his quiet place in the back of the room and is asserting leadership within his nation. Ironically, the Georgia crisis may have resulted in a new conflict between Prime Minister Putin and the president over issues of power.

Is Iran Turning Eastward?

The recent visit of President Ahmadinejad to Pakistan may well usher in a new Iranian thrust eastwards. As the nation gazes westward, it is confronted by hostile armed forces and competition for its oil, but an eastward glance reveals less economic competition and the two fastest growing economies in the world -India and China. Iranians are beginning to recognize that southeast Asia has a large Muslim population, expanding economies, and lucrative markets for their oil. The eastward gaze concides with Pakistan’s rethinking of its political and military situation. There is growing consensus within Pakistan for an end to turmoil in the frontier regions, something Iran can assist being achieved. Iranians recognize they now have an opportunity to create firm connections with the political realists who are assuming control of Pakistan.

Another plus to looking eastward is the ability of Iran to receive much needed investment funds from China which will make up for lost funding from the United States and the European Union. Perhaps, the world is in the beginning stages of a vast reconstruction of political and military alliances in which India, China, Pakistan, and Iran constitute a new economic and political bloc. The United States thought it could economically pressure nations to cease providing funds for Iran, but China and India are engaged in vast economic plans in which they assume leadership roles. They will not accept American pressure and will trod their own economic paths.