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Articles
(October 16, 2018) Vietnam's star rises, as does one of its leaders - Kavi Chongkittavorn 
At the outset, three important characteristics of Vietnam must be recognised.

First, despite its economy not yet being considered a market economy, Vietnam has the region's most extensive network of free trade agreements with foreign countries. Its economic growth continues at an average of 7%. It is the economic powerhouse of Asean. 
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(October 12, 2018) The annals of Thailand's military dictators - Thitinan Pongsudhirak 
As Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha eyes longer-term power beyond the next election, his eventual legacy will be compared to other military leaders who have come and gone as heads of past Thai governments. Had he left office or stepped down to run for it earlier, Gen Prayut might be in a better place. As things stand, his tenure and subsequent exit from the political scene does not appear promising for how he will be seen in hindsight.

Once they seize the reins of government, military dictators in contemporary Thailand generally do not leave voluntarily. Most often, they are forced out by internal factionalism and power plays within the army high command, based on this or that cohort of officers and competing groups of loyalists. This was the case with Field Marshal Plaek Phibulsonggram in 1957. After ruling for a decade and overseeing two competing cliques in the army that also involved the police force on one side, Phibul lost political control and was ousted in a military coup. 
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(October 9, 2018) Malaysia's new dynamic in the deep South - Kavi Chongkittavorn 
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad is coming to Thailand later this month to try and tamp down the festering violence in southern Thailand. As his return to power in May has rejuvenated his country's openness and democratisation, he offers a ray of hope to Thailand's future peace and stability. 
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(October 5, 2018) Thailand's new military and new politics - Thitinan Pongsudhirak 
Most likely not in accordance with his preference, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha is finding out that the military high command he seized power with during the May 2014 coup will be fundamentally different when he leaves office. 
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(October 4, 2018) Thailand and Myanmar are natural allies - Kavi Chongkittavorn 
At their 9th annual joint bilateral meeting in Nay Pyi Taw in August, both countries proclaimed from now on they are "natural strategic partners". It was the right time, coming on the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations being established. The new status is unique as it highlights and recognises the strategic value of their shared traditions, culture, religion and way of life. 
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(Septermber 28, 2018) China's Belt & Road impact on Thailand - Thitinan Pongsudhirak 
As China's ambitious Silk Road Economic Belt (SREB) and Maritime Silk Road (MSR) -- popularly known as the Belt and Road Initiative, or BRI -- continues to make ripples and waves in international affairs, its likely impact on mainland Southeast Asia warrants attention. Unlike many of the countries on the Eurasian landmass and along waterways from the South China Sea through the Indian Ocean to eastern Africa, Thailand and its immediate neighbours are not directly on the BRI path. 
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(September 25, 2018) US, EU must tread carefully over Cambodia - Kavi Chongkittavorn 
The US and EU must not commit the same mistakes in Cambodia that they made in Thailand. Efforts to pressure strongman Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen to follow their suggested paths will not work. Worse still, they could have serious adverse effects, as the country's domestic and external conditions are very different and unique. 
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(September 21, 2018) Remembering Chai-anan Samudavanija - Thitinan Pongsudhirak 
In death, as in life, Chai-anan Samudavanija always outshines. More than two decades after he left an academic career for policy work and a public intellectual role, Chai-anan's scholarly output is still cited more than any other social scientist. His passing, at 74, reflects Thailand's circuitous political trajectory and the shortcomings of the country's higher education. Until Thai academic standards are better incentivised and upgraded, few scholars are likely to scale international heights of scholarship and thought leadership anywhere near Chai-anan's achievements 
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(September 18, 2018) Is Huai Khwang really a new Chinatown? - Kavi Chongkittavorn 
Bluntly speaking, Huai Khwang, which has been dubbed a new Chinatown, is not really a Chinatown in the truest sense of the word -- not another Yaowarat for sure. The 400-metre strip along Pracha Rat Bamphen Road at best represents the dynamic and raw passion of new Chinese entrepreneurs, wanting to make money from millions of Chinese tourists through social media. New Chinese restaurants with dishes from Yunnan and Guangxi, especially the spicy mala hotpot as well as Chinese-style coffee shops, give this small business district the facade of a Chinatown. 
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(September 11, 2018) 10 ways to maintain Hun Sen's 'barami' - Kavi Chongkittavorn 
In the past election spin, it was about barami (charisma). When Hun Sen entered politics in the mid-1970s, nobody thought he would have the staying power to last so long. Thirty-three years ago, he was the world's youngest prime minister. Today, he is still around having outlasted every other world leader to rank as longest-reigning prime minister. 
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