Last week, historian Charnvit Kasetsiri was summoned to a police station in Bangkok. His crime? He shared a Facebook post about a handbag belonging to the wife of Thailand’s military junta leader, General Prayuth Chan-ocha. Under Thailand’s Computer Crimes Act — a national security measure — Charnvit could face years in prison.
How did Thailand, once a flawed democracy, lose its way and become an oppressive authoritarian state that criminalizes dissent?
On May 22, 2014, soldiers in green camouflage fanned out across the leafy streets of Bangkok, Thailand’s capital city. They took control of the airport, government ministries, closed down roads, blacked out television stations and imposed martial law.… Seguir leyendo »
On Thursday British voters willfully walked off a cliff when they decided to leave the European Union. The “Brexit” victory is a defeat for Britain, Europe and the global economy.
Tens of millions of Britons voted for isolation — to go it alone — rather than for cooperation. The European Union just lost a sixth of its economy, roughly akin to Florida and California seceding from the United States. The impact on the British economy could be catastrophic. Europe’s unified stance against a reemerging and aggressive Russia will be splintered.
Moreover, the vote doesn’t mean that debates over Britain’s relationship with Europe, or its place in the wider world, are suddenly resolved. … Seguir leyendo »
In today’s world, internationally recognized governments do not always control their countries. Libya, which is embroiled in a multipolar civil war, is one tragic example.
Rival administrations — one in Tobruk, one in Tripoli — claim to be legitimate nationwide rulers even though neither actually governs the splinters of territory it claims to control. The real power lies with militia commanders and local councils.
All efforts to broker peace have failed. The Tobruk-based administration — having grown spoiled by a surfeit of international support — walked away from United Nations-sponsored negotiations last week, flatly rejecting the latest attempt at a power-sharing plan.… Seguir leyendo »
Three years ago Tuesday, the Arab Spring began when 26-year-old vegetable vendor Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire in suicidal protest against the political repression and limited economic opportunity offered in dictator Zine el Abidine ben Ali’s Tunisia. This literal spark ignited dramatic political change across the Middle East.
Today, Tunisia’s stalled transition remains the last, best prospect for a democratic blossoming from the Arab Spring. Hope lives on because Tunisia has learned from the other derailed democratic experiments in the region, notably in Iraq, Egypt and Libya.
In May 2003, shortly after U.S.-led coalition forces toppled Saddam Hussein’s Baathist regime, L.… Seguir leyendo »