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CFR experts give their take on the cutting-edge issues emerging in Asia today.

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Showing posts for "Development"

Dickey and Tobias: What to Expect From Xi Jinping’s Latin America Trip

by Guest Blogger for Adam Segal
Giant panda Ying Mei approaches a box of food with the Brazilian flag on it during an event called "Panda Predicts World Cup Results," ahead of the 2014 World Cup opening match between Brazil and Croatia, in Yangzhou, Jiangsu province on June 12, 2014 (China Daily/Courtesy: Reuters). Giant panda Ying Mei approaches a box of food with the Brazilian flag on it during an event called "Panda Predicts World Cup Results," ahead of the 2014 World Cup opening match between Brazil and Croatia, in Yangzhou, Jiangsu province on June 12, 2014 (China Daily/Courtesy: Reuters).

Lauren Dickey is a research associate for U.S. foreign policy and Sharone Tobias is a research associate for Asia Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Chinese president Xi Jinping began his week-long visit to Latin America today on the heels of a number of major events. Brazil is central in the minds of many as the World Cup wraps up and Rio de Janeiro prepares to host the Olympics, initially darkened by protests. Argentina is facing a new unhappy chapter in its battle against debt. China’s ideological allies, Cuba and Venezuela, remain prone to domestic instability amid economic reform. Read more »

Drip, Drip, Drip: The Impact of Thailand’s Political Chaos on the Thai Economy (and the World)

by Joshua Kurlantzick
An anti-government protester walks down an empty road during a rally near the Government Complex in Bangkok on January 24, 2014. (Chaiwat Subprasom/Courtesy Reuters) An anti-government protester walks down an empty road during a rally near the Government Complex in Bangkok on January 24, 2014. (Chaiwat Subprasom/Courtesy Reuters)

For months now, even as Thailand’s political crisis has escalated from street protests into daily violence, the disintegration of state institutions, and the threat of a coup, most Thai businesspeople, foreign investors, and analysts of the Thai economy have maintained a relatively positive outlook for the Thai economy this year and next. After all, as several long-time investors in Thailand have told me, the country’s economy has over decades proven extraordinarily resilient, surviving nineteen coups and attempted coups, natural disasters, the Indochina wars, and many Bangkok street protests that ended in bloodshed. Read more »

No Winners in Bangladesh

by Alyssa Ayres
People look at burnt textbooks after a primary school which was supposed to be used as a polling booth was set on fire, in Feni January 4, 2014 (Courtesy Reuters). People look at burnt textbooks after a primary school which was supposed to be used as a polling booth was set on fire, in Feni. Nearly 60 polling stations in Bangladesh were set on fire and three people were killed on the eve of Sunday's election January 4, 2014 (Courtesy Reuters).

I’ve been an optimist about Bangladesh for some time now—its national development miracle, amazing social entrepreneurs, strong civil society and women-led microfinance, 160 million-strong brand of moderate Islam, and consistent economic growth. Just a few years ago Goldman Sachs put this hardworking, against-all-odds country on their list of Asia’s “Next 11” ready for takeoff. But after Sunday’s election—and I write this with a heavy heart—I’m deeply worried. Read more »

When Protests Halt Progress

by Alyssa Ayres
Smoke rises as a bus burns on a street after a nationwide strike was called, in Dhaka November 9, 2013 (Mahmud Opu/Courtesy Reuters). Smoke rises as a bus burns on a street after a nationwide strike was called, in Dhaka November 9, 2013 (Mahmud Opu/Courtesy Reuters).

If I were to describe a country that has achieved around 6 percent economic growth for much of the last decade, has the eighth largest population in the world, has delivered maternal and child health improvements on a scale comparable to the great Meiji restoration of 19th century Japan, is the world’s second largest exporter of ready-made garments after only China, and has achieved a 94 percent infant immunization rate, what place would come to mind? As much as it pains me to write this, I don’t believe the average Western reader would blurt out “Bangladesh, of course” after hearing that roster of accomplishments, as true as they are. Read more »

Myanmar on the Edge

by Joshua Kurlantzick
A Muslim man searches for his belongings left behind of his burnt home at Thapyuchai village, outside of Thandwe in the Rakhine state, on October 2, 2013. (Soe Zeya Tun/Courtesy Reuters) A Muslim man searches for his belongings left behind of his burnt home at Thapyuchai village, outside of Thandwe in the Rakhine state, on October 2, 2013. (Soe Zeya Tun/Courtesy Reuters)

Over the past two weeks, Myanmar authorities reportedly have arrested several men from Arakan/Rakhine State, claiming that they were planning to bomb mosques across the country. The reported plot, which comes on the heels of other bombings in October, highlights a serious problem.  Myanmar now faces growing insecurity and rising disappointment among citizens that reform has not brought higher standards of living. Interethnic and interreligious unrest now threaten to halt reforms altogether, depress much-needed investment, and even lead to broader regional tensions. Read more »

Nepal: Back on the Political Track

by Alyssa Ayres
A woman holds a ballot paper during the election campaign of Nepali Congress Party in Kathmandu November 15, 2013 A woman holds a ballot paper during the election campaign of Nepali Congress Party in Kathmandu November 15, 2013 (Navesh Chitrakar/Courtesy Reuters).

There have been a lot of elections in South Asia in recent days. On November 16 a run-off election produced a surprise result in Maldives, where Abdulla Yameen—the half-brother of former President Gayoom—narrowly succeeded over Mohamed Nasheed, who had led the previous two first-round elections. The Indian state of Chhattisgarh (the size of a small country, with about 25 million people) had its first phase of state-level polls on November 11. And on Tuesday, November 19, there will be two elections underway in the region—the second phase in India’s Chhattisgarh, as well as the long-overdue national Constituent Assembly elections in Nepal. Read more »

Prosperity and Politics

by Alyssa Ayres
Primary school students march by the bank of the river Buriganga during an event in support of education, organised by Campaign for Popular Education Bangladesh, in Dhaka April 23, 2007 Primary school students march by the bank of the river Buriganga during an event in support of education, organised by Campaign for Popular Education Bangladesh, in Dhaka April 23, 2007 (Rafiqur Rahman/Courtesy Reuters).

Two seemingly unrelated items caught my eye this week: one, the release of the new Legatum Prosperity Index, and the other, the release in Bangladesh of a transcript detailing an important and much-anticipated phone conversation between the prime minister and the leader of the opposition. Read more »