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Is the Thai-Chinese railway a raw deal? 
Despite repeated assurances to the contrary from the government of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, the planned Thai-Chinese high-speed rail continues to attract scepticism. The government's explanation does not add up. Instead, it exposes the weaknesses and ill-effects of using unchecked power under Section 44 of the coup-sanctioned interim constitution, which is somehow allowed under the 2017 charter. In the longer term, the Thai-Chinese railway may end up being a raw deal for Thailand, and many Thais may not look back favourably toward China for it. 
Thai-US relations back on the move again? 
Soon after the Asean Summit in April, United States President Donald J Trump placed phone calls to three Southeast Asian leaders and invited them to the White House. 
Trump's pragmatic pivot back to Asia 
It is ironic and counter-intuitive, but the administration of President Donald Trump is making more inroads for the United States into South-east Asia than the neighbourhood might have expected. His predecessor, Mr Barack Obama, invested enormous energy and the entire geostrategy of his two presidential terms into a much-touted "pivot to Asia" in rebalancing American interests and resources from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Yet Mr Trump, a walking controversy with a rambunctious leadership style and little foreign policy experience, may end up being more effective for US-South-east Asia relations. 
'Zbig': Renowned geopolitical maestro 
Last week's death of Zbigniew Brzezinski, the renowned thinker, writer and practitioner of geopolitics throughout the Cold War and onetime national security adviser to former US president Jimmy Carter in the late 1970s, has elicited generally positive global reviews and assessments of his achievements. He died on Friday at the age of 89. 
Reality sets in three years after the coup 
Three years after it seized power in Thailand's 13th successful coup in 85 years, the government of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha appears embattled. Growing popular grievances have focused on Thailand's economic doldrums, persistent corruption, intractable polarisation, and a problematic roadmap to return to democratic rule. In addition, a string of mysterious bomb blasts in Bangkok with murky implications has recently undermined the political stability and social calm that the National Council for Peace and Order was supposed to be good at achieving. 
The submarine deal that won't go away 
Despite widespread public opposition, the Thai navy inked a 13.5-billion-baht contract last week for the first of what will be three Chinese submarines in an 11-year deal worth 36 billion baht. Myriad criticisms have been expressed in as many media platforms by both experts and observers alike. Yet there are four broader implications which argue against the submarine deal and warrant a mention on record. 
Trump promotes a 'pivot in Asia' 
It was bound to happen. With one brief trans-Pacific phone call to Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, U.S. President Donald Trump replaced the playbook that has governed U.S.-Thai 
North Korea must win back Asean goodwill 
North Korea has officially asked for Asean’s support in its row with the US over the current stand-off. Frankly speaking, it was a bit too late and also unwarranted. 
Are Thais getting the dictators they deserve. 
For a society that has overthrown two military dictatorships over the past two generations, what has been happening in Thailand is astonishing. 
Thailand's new Constitution points to more political imbalance 
Set against a political malaise that has persisted for more than a dozen years of topsy-turvy protests and turmoil, punctuated by two related military coups in 2006 and 2014, Thailand's newly promulgated Constitution under the new reign of King Maha Vajiralongkorn is supposed to restore a semblance of stability and provide a way forward. That is not the case. 
Thailand lacks understanding of CLMV 
Thailand loves to discuss plans to help its neighbouring countries. “Prosper-Thy-Neighbour” has been the motto for decades for successive Thai governments. Since the end of the Vietnam war and the subsequent rapid economic development period of 1980s, Bangkok has dished out so many strategies and plans to bring about their developmental and improve their standard of living. 
Challenges, prospects of 2017 constitution 
Nearly three years after its last military coup, there is good and bad news as Thailand gears up to leave behind the current period of military government, whose record has been mixed at best. 
Thailand's murky, muddled road ahead 
In a new era of transformative technologies and tectonic geopolitical shifts, standing still is tantamount to falling behind. This is what Thailand is doing. 
Why Thailand is not taken seriously on rights issues 
Long before the concept of Responsibility to Protect (R2P) existed, which gave a new meaning to the duties and responsibilities of states and individuals to prevent inhuman acts of all kinds, Thailand has long shown goodwill and humanitarian gestures, without attaching any label to those deeds, throughout its modern history. 
Thailand's empire-building tycoons 
BANGKOK During Thailand's boom years, between 1986 and 1996, business owners didn't have to look far beyond their own national borders to guarantee healthy profits. 
Political fallout from the Dhammakaya case 
To the average bystander, the recent brouhaha over the Dhammakaya temple raises many questions with few answers and just about no clarity. 
Thailand and Philippines: Twins separated at birth. 
The best description of Thailand-Philippine friendship would be as twins separated at birth. Both countries are close allies of the US and each has their ups and downs. They fought side by side as members of the UN-led international forces in the Korean War. 
Combatting corruption starts at the top 
There is something fundamentally similar and entwined about the need to tackle Thailand's endemic corruption and the imperative to reform its education. 
Dire airport, culture hub belie 'Thailand 4.0' 
Thailand is prone to policy faddism. Several years ago, the AEC (Asean Economic Community) was all the rage until it officially came into being with a whimper at the end of 2015. Back then, hardly a day went by without some kind of a workshop or conference in Thailand about the AEC. 
Trump, Southeast Asia and Thailand 
No newly inaugurated president of the United States in the contemporary era is more controversial nor as derided as Donald Trump. Already, there have been pre-inauguration insinuations and plots among his critics and detractors to see him eventually impeached or at least occupy the White House for only one term 
Myanmar rebuffs Malaysia on OIC as ASEAN warns on Rohingya naming issue 
Naypyitaw accuses Malaysia of 'exploiting' Rohingya crisis as regional bloc warns over use of ASEAN name 
A Sino-American showdown in Southeast Asia? 
From his election campaign to the eve of his inauguration, U.S. President-elect Donald Trump's initial isolationist leanings have morphed into a knee-jerk foreign policy conducted under an "America First" geostrategic mantra. 
A primer on Asean for Trump 
Six things the new US president should know about this 50-year-old group

The new United States President Donald Trump must be “fantastically” happy with a “wonderful” Asean because it is the only “great” regional organisation that has no military might and has not been at war. The problem is, he might not know about the grouping at all.Here is a six-point dossier on the 50-year-old Asean and its top secrets. 
Where is the good news about Myanmar? 
Where is the good news about Myanmar?
The country is making progress despite global media focus on the sectarian divide 
Forging a Thai-Myanmar partnership in Asean 
At a briefing in Yangon last Monday, Myanmar’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi expressed appreciation for Thailand’s efforts and understanding of the situation in Rakhine State. She also thanked her eastern neighbour for its ongoing assistance there. 
Thailand's prospects for 2017 and beyond 
Thailand's prospects for 201 and beyond
Thailand and the world at large are concurrently going through a rut that comes with the transitional end of any long era. For the world, this period is known as the postwar liberal order that was constructed 
Asean at 50: Thailand must do more 
As one of the founding countries of Asean five decades ago, Thailand has a responsibility to ensure that the group is running well and moving towards full implementation of the Asean Community (AC), which is now entering its second year. 
Philippine chair: Challenges and celebrations 
The arrival of 45th US President-elect Donald Trump has become one of the biggest challenges for Asean, as it commemorates its 50th anniversary this year. 
How a Trump presidency will affect Southeast Asia 
The spectacular electoral upset that handed Donald Trump victory in the Nov. 8 U.S. presidential election will hasten the end of the 70-year-old postwar liberal order and shift relations between the U.S. and Southeast Asia onto a new footing that favors interests over values. 
America's presidential poll and Thai-US ties 
As the current presidential cycle in the United States closes with elections on Nov 8, there will be a global sigh of relief that it is finally over. The longest electoral contest in the world's ostensible bastion of democracy has become increasingly dysfunctional and malfunctioning. 
King Bhumibol leaves behind a grateful nation 
The passing of King Bhumibol Adulyadej brings to a close a defining chapter in Thailand. During his seven-decade rule, the monarch presided over Thailand's climb from a village backwater to a modern nation. 
Why the Thai people cry for His Majesty 
While the vast majority of Thais at home and abroad are in a mourning mood, yearning for a bygone past with an emerging angst for what is to come after King Bhumibol Adulyadej's spectacular seven-decade reign, this grief is not universally shared. 
Could the economy be Thailand's saving grace? 
After King Bhumibol Adulyadej's seven-decade reign, Thailand is an emotionally charged landscape, overcome with grief and nostalgia for a remarkable past and anxious about an uncertain future. 
Thailand as we knew it is now at an end 
When it comes to public readership, I was taught more than 30 years ago to write invariably in the third person. The time has come for change and exception because there is no better way for me to describe what has just happened in Thailand. What was once unimaginable when I was a schoolboy eventually became inevitable, and now is undeniable in my midlife. 
Why no one wants to rule Thailand other than the military 
While it is always topsy-turvy and unwieldy, Thailand’s political environment has rarely been as tumultuous as in the past decade, characterised by recurrent street protests along pro- and anti-establishment lines. 
After a decade of polarisation, a new balance in Thailand 
The Aug 7 referendum in Thailand yielded a surprising result, with most voters backing a charter drafted by the military government. The result shows that voters want compromise and reconciliation for Thailand, with both monarchist and democratic elements in the right mix. 
Rivalries and excessive arms spending threaten regional peace 
Ahead of its 50th birthday next year, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations is discovering that its recipe for success is being put to the test. 
Thailand attacks: who are the likely perpetrators? 
The coordinated bomb and arson attacks across Thailand’s southern provinces may signal a new phase of confrontation and brinkmanship, following the vote in favour of a military-backed constitution in a referendum on Sunday. 
Thailand's new politics under a new monarch 
Much like the world beyond its borders, Thailand is going through a political malaise that naturally accompanies the transition at the end of a 70-year-long era.