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Lessons of Greek drama for Asean

Debt dilemma: Ministry of culture contract employees gather at the entrance to the Acropolis, in Athens, onThursday as they protest the delay in their salaries, some up to six months. Greece’s parliament approved a second batch of reforms needed to help unlock a huge international bailout for the stricken economy. – AFP

EUROPE has been glued to the Grexit television screen for the longest time. Going on and on for at least five years, each episode of whether Greece will remain in the eurozone or not has run longer than the longest Tamil movie of yore (although we have our own MIC version, with 1MDB trying to play catch-up).

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It cannot be ‘business as usual’

THE 26th Asean Summit from April 26 to 27 April trended in the right directions, even if it would be extravagant to describe it as an unqualified success.

What grabbed most attention was the expression, in the chairman’s statement at the end of the summit, of “serious concern” over the situation rucked up by China’s extensive reclamation work in the South China Sea, now suggested in some quarters to be called the South-East Asia Sea rather late in the day.

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Asean Community - case for mistaken identity

What distinguishes Asean from other regional organisations is the level of commitment towards achieving a community, which is far and away well ahead of any other regional grouping in the world, except for the EU.—EPA

What is called the Asean Community is actually not one. Not in the strict sense of the term “community”. Not at the end of 2015, or even in the foreseeable future.

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Asean integration vs domestic preoccupations

EVERY so often there is concern about the level of commitment to Asean among its members states.

Even with Malaysia, which is taking some very active steps as the chair to ensure a credible community – particularly the AEC (Asean Economic Community) – is announced at the end of 2105, some are wondering whether the challenges confronting its domestic economy, will be a distraction.

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Tolerance, open letters and political change management

Not just the oil price and economic matters to worry about

THE past year had seen a number of tragedies.

Two airline tragedies involving Malaysia Airlines and a recent one involving AirAsia. The most devastating floods in decades. Strong undercurrents of great political disquiet. The economy performed well, but this too is threatened in the new year by – not exhaustively – effect on national revenue of the fall in the price of oil, a likely rise in interest rates, possible inflationary pressures, a weaker currency – countered no doubt by large accumulated reserves, a growing American economy and a good record of economic management.

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Strategic environment of post-2015 Asean

Construction workers on the structure of a building in Beijing on Thursday. Foreign investment into China accelerated in November, government data showed, despite a worsening slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy and concerns over business risks. – AFP


EVEN as Asean focuses on the nitty-gritty of integration and community-building, it should not lose sight of the strategic environment evolving around it.

While a number of measures and initiatives may seem – however large – to have singular implication, they will add up to geo-economic and geo-political change in the regional, even global, system.

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Asean community by 2015?

The Asean logo to be used for the Malaysian summit next year. – Bernama

Currently it’s like sweating before sitting for final exams

THERE is a frenzy of interest on the establishment of the Asean community, particularly the Asean Economic Community (AEC), especially in Malaysia as the country takes over the chair of the association in 2015, at the end of which it will be pronounced the Asean community is in place.

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The AEC – end of 2015 and beyond

Munir, who is chairman of Asean Business Advisory Council, delivering his at the Asean Business Advisory Council Malaysia Conference on SMEs and the AEC in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday.

WHEN one starts to look at the Asean Economic Community (AEC) from the end of 2015 and beyond, there are shades of Hamlet in the exercise.

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Asia’s rise and the missing link


With the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008, the CMI member countries (China, Japan, South Korea and the 10 Asean members) decided to multilateralise the bilateral currency swap arrangements to be better able – but never completely – to face the magnitude of crisis portended by the biggest financial bankruptcy in corporate history. – AFP

It must see the importance of financial stock and financial flows for its real economies

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US foreign policy in Asia

Workers at a Beijing construction site yesterday. The Chinese economy expanded 7.3% in the third quarter, lower than the 7.5% expansion in the previous three months and the slowest since the depths of the global financial crisis, the government announced. - AFP

THE United States is a global power. Asia the largest continent on earth. The Asian economies of the proposed RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership) alone now constitute 30% of global output, with consistently the highest growth rates and holding the largest reserves in the world.

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US as a global superpower in the 21st century

DOES the United States as the world’s sole superpower have the wherewithal to do something, to take the lead, in maintaining international peace and security?

There are, of course, many loaded issues to this question, not least the kind of global order that is to be sustained. In the bipolar world that existed from the end of the Second World War until 1991, there was a clear choice between the western liberal order led by the United States and the communist system offered through the Soviet Union. There were countries that tried to take the middle way of non-alignment but in much of their practice they fell on the one side or the other – rather like in the dirty float of currencies in a claimed freely traded market.

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