Society


Airstrikes commit the Myanmar military to a war it can’t win

The Myanmar military’s bombing of civilian areas in Karen State represents a major escalation in the conflict with Karen ethnic armed forces. The attacks seem to indicate that the junta will try to end the country’s long-running civil wars through brute force, despite decades of evidence that this is likely impossible.



Arrival of Myanmar refugees, police pushes India to get clear on coup

As police and soldiers from Myanmar defect across India’s border, Modi’s government can’t continue with its tepid response to Myanmar’s coup and ongoing violence. India’s next moves will have impacts far beyond bilateral relations—on competition with China, on India’s geopolitical status and on attempts to economically and politically integrate its northeastern states.


Cambodia blocks Angkor Wat resort, will Laos stop the dam at its UNESCO site?

The Cambodian government’s decision to reject plans for a resort complex next to Angkor Wat stands in stark contrast to another project threatening one of Southeast Asia’s UNESCO World Heritage sites. The Luang Prabang dam in Laos poses huge risks to the ancient capital, and the case of Cambodia’s “Angkor Lake of Wonder” may offer advocates a way forward.


Allah row in Malaysia is settled for now but far from over

The Malaysian High Court’s decision to allow Christians to use the word Allah in their publications is commendable. However, the court’s past rulings on the subject and its political relevance for Muslim Malay political leaders indicate that the issue is far from over.



Will Malaysia’s state of emergency cause more political instability?

Malaysia’s government declared a state of emergency in January to contain the spread of COVID-19. The decree suspends parliament and postpones any possibility of an election, giving Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s embattled government time to push back against the opposition. However, the move risks further political instability as Muhyiddin may opt not lift the state of emergency as promised.



As China-Laos railway nears completion, infrastructure poised to transform Lao economy

The China-Laos railway, slated for completion by December, may bring the most dramatic shifts of any current infrastructure project in Southeast Asia as it transforms communities along its route and changes the dynamics of Laos’ economy. Offering an alternative to Laos’ reliance on hydropower dams for economic development, it could also become increasingly significant for China.