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 Events on 2021

Facebook Live – Myanmar (One Month) After The Coup: Domestic Politics, Regional Repercussions, Global Implications 

Monday, 1st March 2021 at 09.30-11.30 a.m.

As Myanmar’s military coup reaches its one-month mark, it is timely to take stock of what’s been happening in the predominantly Buddhist country of 55 million. By all accounts, the coup has been a setback for Myanmar’s road towards political liberalization and economic development. Under fluid and precarious circumstances, we will examine post-coup events and dynamics from the domestic politics context within Myanmar and regional repercussions in Southeast Asia as well as global implications in view of China, Russia, and the West. What is the status and road ahead for the Myanmar military (the Tatmadaw) and its commander-in-chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing? Where does Aung San Suu Kyi, at 75, go from here? Where does the future lie for the ethnic minorities around the country and what about the persistent internal conflicts between the Tatmadaw and ethnic armies? These are some of the hard questions this public forum will try to address. Our speakers line-up represents a range of diverse views and experiences which I think will add up to a dynamic and stimulating conversation. 

Facebook Live – Thailand’s Economic Outlook 2021 and Beyond: Vaccine, Growth, Value Chains 

Thursday, 18th February 2021 at 09.30-11.30 a.m.

As the most recent Covid-19 restrictions have been eased, ISIS Thailand is pleased to return to action with a limited in-person public forum on vaccine dynamics, the Thai macro-economy and future growth model in view of pandemic effects and shifting/fluid global value chains. We are delighted to have Dr Daniel Kertesz, the head of the World Health Organisation in Thailand, kick off with his expert view and analysis of the global Covid-19 pandemic and the vaccine situation broadly, with reference to Thailand and Southeast Asia. An independent and highly regarded economist, Dr Supavud Saicheua will delve into Thailand’s macroeconomic consequences from the pandemic. When will Thailand regain its growth footing and how to get there after a severe economic contraction last year? With publications on global value chains in top international scholarly journals, Dr Pavida Pananond will tease out the trends and prospects of trade, foreign direction investment and global production in the post-pandemic global economy with implications for Thailand and Southeast Asia. 

(February 12, 2021) Who's culpable for Myanmar's coup? 

When Myanmar's armed forces, known as the Tatmadaw, staged a military coup on Feb 1, reactions inside the country and outside were noticeably different. As the coup effectively disenfranchised millions of voters who chose hitherto State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy (NLD) party in a landslide victory on Nov 8, public anger inside the country was immediate and conspicuous just as Myanmar's newly elected parliament was about to convene. Many outside observers, however, were more guarded and hedged, portraying the cause of the coup as more qualified and nuanced. How the coup came about has become a bone of contention that will have much to say about the post-coup dynamics and outcomes. 

(February 5, 2021) Myanmar coup sparks Asean concern 

Myanmar's military coup on Monday is a matter of great concern to both the country itself and to Southeast Asia as a region. Following the Nov 8 general election, the coup appears to be an attempt to reverse the landslide victory of the National League for Democracy (NLD) party in both the Upper and Lower Houses of Parliament. The suspension of Myanmar's democratic institutions could prove a serious setback for the country's brave transition to democracy and political liberalisation less than a decade ago. 

(February 3, 2021) Myanmar's military will struggle to hold on to power 

When Myanmar's armed forces, known as the Tatmadaw, seized power on Feb. 1, observers of the country everywhere were caught off guard. 

(February 16, 2021) The time is right for Thailand to join the CPTPP 

No more dillydallying. Thailand should join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). Otherwise, the "unpreparedness syndrome" will continue to reign in the "hearts and minds" of concerned policy and opinion-makers, further downgrading the country's potential and ability to join free trade arrangements (FTAs) in the future. The economic slowdown wrought by Covid-19 further demands the promotion of trade and investment as well as the country's competitiveness. 

(February 9, 2021) Once bitten, twice shy over Myanmar 

Long before it became a member, Asean was blindly defending Myanmar, believing that pressure from neighbours and regional friends would make a difference. It did but it took an extremely high toll on the bloc's reputation as well as causing uncertainty in the region. Luckily, change came after nearly two decades, but now it has been backsliding. 

(February 2, 2021) American First has morphed into First America 

The confirmation hearing last week of US Secretary of State Antony Blinkin was very telling. In his testimony, Mr Blinkin stated clearly that America has to take the lead because the world cannot organise itself. If other countries take the leading role, American interests could be jeopardised. Therefore, in a nutshell, the isolationist America First policy of former President Donald Trump has already morphed into the outward looking First America of newly elected President Joe Biden. "American leadership still matters," Mr Blinkin declared.