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Opinion
Interventions must have political goals 
Military interventions all over the world are invariably easier to go into than to get out of. In many large-scale military operations, entry points quickly warp into elusive and murky exit plans as the fog of war sets in. Only with clear and realistic political objectives can military interventions succeed in their stated aims. Many cases abroad are instructive for Thailand’s experience at home. 
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Government meddling harms unity efforts 
The tendency of governments to shoot themselves in the foot never ceases to amaze. In Thailand's latest high-profile case of official self-affliction, the government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra lost the plot when it tried to rope in key domestic power brokers to work on a "political reform council" and invited prominent international figures to promote reconciliation and unity. Conflating these two parallel tracks of reform and compromise has led to controversy and confusion. The best way for the Yingluck government to ensure the utility and effectiveness of these exercises is to get out of the way completely. 
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Street rallies yield to parliamentary process 
It felt like deja vu for a while. As parliament reconvened, anti-government columns lined up, ready to rumble and depose the government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, this time under a new rubric called the People's Democratic Force to Overthrow Thaksinism (Pefot). 
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Governor status quo leaves city as microcosm of nation 
The resulting and relative status quo that emerged from Bangkok's gubernatorial polls on Sunday bears cold implications for the national political landscape and the future of City Hall politics. 
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Bringing insurgency to an end will be a long, hard slog 
The media hype in Bangkok surrounding Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra's recent meeting with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak in Putrajaya sounded as if peace was at hand in Thailand's restive southernmost border provinces where a deadly Malay-Muslim insurgency has festered for almost a decade. 
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Speaking peace to Asean 
Never before in its 45 years of existence has the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) received so much public attention in Thailand. 
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Pitak Siam postmortem offers many lessons 
That the anti-government Pitak Siam (Protecting Thailand) protest movement has subsided from a bang to a whimper in merely four weeks offers a host of reality checks and lessons for Thailand's political polarisation. At issue is whether the leading protagonists on all sides of the divide will take the away the right cues and come back with better responses that can move Thailand beyond its protracted conflict. 
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Japan must rise again, for the common good 
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's recent swing through three of the largest members of Asean has signalled a fluid start to the new year in East Asia's high-stakes regional mix. 
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Thailand's superpower courtship 
Whether it comes out of Bangkok or Washington, foreign policy ultimately derives from domestic politics. Long after United States President Barack Obama leaves Bangkok on this round of shuttle visits to three mainland Southeast Asian nations as part of his East Asia Summit (EAS) tour, Thailand's foreign relations will still be stuck and able to find traction only at the margins without much forward direction from the middle until the country's domestic tension and turmoil find a lasting political settlement and a new equilibrium. 
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The rise of CLMT and the need for more G-2 
By happenstance and design, Mr Obama will leave tense and probably inconclusive negotiations over America's "fiscal cliff" with congressional leaders in favour of a presidential shuttle between Thailand and Myanmar to culminate with the East Asia Summit (EAS) in Cambodia. By not postponing "cliff" talks until after the EAS, Mr Obama has irked critics and even supporters for leaving a hung jury and potential fiscal dire straits until his return, as tax hikes and budget cuts may become automatic, not a good start at home for his second term. 
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US poll has huge implications for Thailand 
Whether it is out of love or hate, or mostly somewhere in between, the nations and peoples around the globe are tuning in to see who will occupy the White House come January. For Thailand, beyond the sheer excitement and media frenzy, the contest between incumbent President Barack Obama of the Democratic Party and his Republican Party challenger is portentous. At issue are who is likely to win and the implications for Thailand and what becomes of the Thai-US treaty alliance after the presidential dust settles. 
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Cultivating the major powers 
While its neighbours have had prickly relations in the recent or distant past with either China or Japan, Thailand is counted as a valued partner through the contemporary thick and thin by both Beijing and Tokyo while all the while remaining a formal ally of the United States. It is these special relationships with major powers in the constellation of regional relations that Thai policymakers must cultivate and harness to advance Thailand's role and standing on the global stage in the months ahead. 
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New great game in mainland Southeast Asia 
Ms Yingluck's first several months in office were largely written off as her government was consumed by the flood crisis. When Thailand's worst deluge in decades subsided by January, the Yingluck government began to implement its raft of campaign pledges in earnest. These mainly pandered to the domestic electoral base, such as a hike in the daily minimum wage, rice price guarantees, and rebates for first-time purchases of homes and cars. 
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What next after judicial deja vu? 
The sense of deja vu that pervades Thailand's political landscape in the lead-up to the Constitution Court's decision Friday on whether the lower house has violated the charter by trying to amend it harbours short- and longer-term implications. 
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Key players holding Asean hostage! 
After the Asean foreign minister failed to issue the joint communiqué last week, a frequently asked question has been: which countries are holding Asean hostage? 
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U-TAPAO BROUHAHA : The politics of the Nasa controversy 
Thai quipsters have put it aptly _ it is now easier for the United States' National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) to go to the Moon than to come to Thailand, now that the government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has opted for parliamentary debate instead of a cabinet resolution. 
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REGIONAL PERSPECTIVE: Ending Thailand's impunity for real 
After an impressive defence of Thailand's human right records in Geneva at the first cycle of universal periodic review (UPR) last October, concerned authorities from at least 30 agencies across the country are now hard at work. 
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Dynamics of Reconciliation in Myanmar 
Myanmar’s opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, has made enough of a point without derailing her country’s spectacular political settlement by democratic means when she stood up to her opponents and later budged. 
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Asean's old rifts with China widen in Phnom Penh 
Over the past decades, the Philippines used to be benign with its defence strategy over the claims in South China Sea. 
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How much more can Thailand take? 
As the process of picking up the pieces has begun after the worst of the flood has subsided, many questions and challenges have surged to the fore. Chief among them will be how the authorities intend to shore up the Thai economy in the aftermath of such devastation. Political volatility and violent outcomes one year after another since the military coup in September 2006 have now been compounded by a debilitating natural disaster. 
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