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Posts Tagged ‘West’

Can Asian-Style Capitalism Save the West?

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 26, 2012

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As you can imagine, the people out in Asia are feeling pretty good about themselves these days. And why shouldn’t they? While the U.S. and Europe struggle with debt, unemployment and sagging competitiveness, most of Asia seems to jump from strength to strength, its economies powering through the downturn with apparent ease, its companies becoming more and more prominent on the world stage. So it’s no wonder that many Asians have come to believe that their economic systems are superior to those of the U.S. and Europe — and that policymakers in Washington, London and Berlin should finally sit up and pay attention. For decades, Asia had been schooled in the wonders of free capitalism by the West, and benefited tremendously. Now, many out there believe, the time has come for the West to learn from Asia.

Kishore Mahbubani, dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore, made this argument outright in a recent blog post on the Financial Times website, in which he argued that Asian-style capitalism is the solution to the West’s woes:

The time may have come for Asians to reciprocate the generosity of the west in sharing capitalism with Asia. Western policymakers and thought leaders should be invited to visit the industrial complexes and service industries of Japan and Korea, Taiwan and China, Hong Kong and Singapore. There may be a few valuable lessons to be learnt.

What are those lessons? Can they really turn around the economic fortunes of the West? Despite Mahbubani’s confidence, those questions are not so easy to answer.

(MORE: Are China’s Big State Companies a Big Problem for the Global Economy?) Read the rest of this entry »

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Sister Act

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on September 12, 2011

By HANNAH BEECH / BANGKOK

Is she the boss? Yingluck has to figure out how to heal a politically divided country — and whether to allow Thaksin to return home Photograph by Agnes Dherbeys for TIME

She delivers the line with a breathy purr: “The microwave is my lover.” Thailand may be famous for its incendiary curries and the tireless women who prepare them, but Yingluck Shinawatra is used to quick results — and not just in the kitchen. Last month the 44-year-old business executive was sworn in as the politically fractious country’s first female Prime Minister. It was her first-ever political race.

In the West, political discourse strives toward the gender-blind; many women in power, with their pantsuits and sensible hairstyles, project themselves as successful politicians who just happen to be female. Yingluck, who has a common-law husband and a 9-year-old son, accentuates her femininity — even if she doesn’t spend hours pounding chilies with a mortar and pestle. On the campaign trail, the willowy beauty smiled with the luminosity of a pageant queen, dished out noodles for adoring crowds and, as she puts it, “gave them my heart.” While sticking to her Pheu Thai party’s populist script, she avoided slinging mud at opponents in the Democrat Party. “Physically, as a woman, maybe I cannot do strong things,” she told TIME, after having survived a parliamentary grilling on her policy plans. “But Thailand needs reconciliation, and as a female I represent nonviolence, so I will turn this weak point into a strong point.”(See the top 12 female leaders around the world.)

Is the feminine touch enough? Once one of Asia’s most promising and stable democracies, Thailand has degenerated into a political shambles in which antigovernment rallies and new Prime Ministers (six in as many years, plus one military chief) seem as predestined as the monsoons. The turmoil has, in its broadest strokes, pitted the poor rural supporters of Pheu Thai (and its previous incarnations) against the urban establishment of the Democrats. Last year political violence erupted on the streets of the capital, Bangkok. Around 90 people were killed; some were security forces, but most were so-called Red Shirt protesters who supported a political faction now led by Yingluck. Though an uneasy peace now prevails, the previous Democrat government prosecuted no one for the deaths. The July 3 election that swept Yingluck to victory may represent the will of the masses, but it has yet to bridge Thailand’s great political divide. Read the rest of this entry »

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The world’s most dangerous border

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on June 2, 2011

To reduce the risk of terror, the West must help defuse tension between India and Pakistan

THE late Richard Holbrooke, the Obama administration’s envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, had many virtues as a diplomat, but tact was not among them. His description of his theatre of operations as “AfPak” infuriated the Pakistanis, who wanted the Americans to regard their country as a sophisticated, powerful ally worthy of attention in itself, not just as a suffix to the feuding tribesmen next door. But that was not the only reason the coinage was unwise. It encouraged the understandable American tendency—shaped by the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, the war against the Taliban and now the death of Osama bin Laden—to see Pakistan in the context of the fighting on its north-west frontier, and thus to ignore the source of most of the country’s problems, including terrorism: the troubled state of relations to its east.

The border between India and Pakistan has seen a bloody partition in 1947 that killed hundreds of thousands; more than 15,000 dead in three wars and 25 years spent fighting over a glacier; 40,000-100,000 dead (depending on whom you believe) in the insurgency in the disputed province of Kashmir. And now both countries are armed with nuclear weapons.

Bloodshed over the border is not the only measure of the damage this poisoned relationship does. In India it exacerbates feuds between Muslims and Hindus. But Pakistan has been worse affected. Fear and hatred of India have distorted its world view and politics (see article). Ignoring this—as the West seems to be doing again—is a terrible mistake, especially because a settlement is not beyond reach. Read the rest of this entry »

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Putin Slams West for Wikileaks’ Assange Arrest

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 10, 2010

By ALEXANDER MARQUARDT

Putin Suggests U.S. Criticism Is the Pot Calling the Kettle Black

The arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for sexual misconduct illustrates the hypocrisy of the West about democracy, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin says.

In the strongest comments to come out ofRussia in the latest WikiLeaks saga, Putin also took aim at the U.S. for the cables, some of which had derided Russia a “mafia state.”

Assange’s arrest in London earlier this week indicated that the West isn’t as democratic as it thinks it is, Putin suggested.

“If there is democracy, it must be a full one. Why did they jail Mr. Assange? Is that democracy?” Putin said at a news conference Thursday. “You know what our villagers say: while someone’s cow is mooing, yours better be silent.” The Russian expression is loosely equivalent to the pot calling the kettle black.

“So I would like to shoot the puck back at our American colleagues,” said Putin.

The prime minister also took a shot at the accuracy of the diplomatic observations in the classified cables.

“Do you yourself think that the U.S. diplomatic service is a crystal clear source of information?” Putin asked. Read the rest of this entry »

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