By Ian Bremmer 6:29 AM EDT In response to the social upheavals of the 1960s, Hollywood produced a series of highly popular “angry man” crime dramas in the 1970s. These are the stories of vigilantes and renegade cops, played by the likes of Clint Eastwood and Charles Bronson, who push past weak-willed bureaucrats, corrupt politicos and political correctness to restore justice in violent times. These are men who never let law undermine order. The U.S. is now emerging from another period of sweeping social change, economic anxiety, urban crime and pointless wars, which again has stoked demand for a tough-talking vigilante to pay weak-minded liberals a lesson. But this time, he isn’t a creation of Hollywood. He lives in the White House, and he’s playing his role with gusto. This trend is not confined to the U.S. In every region of the world, changing times have boosted public demand for more muscular, assertive leadership. These tough-talking populists promise … [Read more...] about What the ‘Tough Guy’ Era Means for Global Politics
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BANGKOK, Thailand — In February 2015, security forces in southern Thailand hauled in a 26-year-old Muslim man and demanded he confess to participating in a violent separatist insurgency. Officers tied him to a chair, covered his face with a shirt and poured water into his mouth until he choked. It was one of dozens of torture cases documented by human rights groups in which Thais have been subjected to mock executions, held in painful “stress positions,” deprived of sleep or waterboarded. The methods were introduced here in 2002 — by the CIA. Thailand was home to the agency’s first secret prison, or “black site,” after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. There, American officers repeatedly waterboarded at least two high-profile detainees, part of the so-called enhanced interrogation techniques that much of the world would later describe as torture. In all, 10 CIA prisoners were arrested or held on Thai soil before being transferred without … [Read more...] about CIA’s legacy of torture lives on in Thailand
BANGKOK (AP) — The Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has agreed to step up investments in Thailand as competition between online retailers heats up in fast-growing Southeast Asia.The founder of the online shopping giant, Jack Ma, met with Thailand's prime minister, Prayuth Chan-ocha, on Thursday and later signed several agreements, including one to help set up a "smart digital hub" in a showcase project called the Eastern Economic Corridor, to facilitate trade between Thailand, China, Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia and Vietnam.Both Ma and Prayuth sought to allay concerns that Alibaba's growing involvement might increase Chinese influence without benefiting Thailand. Across the region, such concerns have deepened as Beijing expands investments in a slew of projects that help expand transportation and supply chain networks linked to China. × Advertisement "Are we going to occupy Thailand, are we going to take away the jobs?" Ma said at a news conference. "We are not interested in … [Read more...] about Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba sets plans for Thailand
0 View Comments Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha arrives for a meeting with Jack Ma, founder of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, in Bangkok, Thailand, Thursday, April 19, 2018 during the latter's visit to the country to announce the group's investment in the Thai government's Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) scheme. (Jorge Silva/Pool Photo via AP) … [Read more...] about Thailand Jack Ma
BANGKOK — After he took off his army general’s uniform and put on a prime ministerial suit in 2014, Thai junta leader Prayuth Chan-ocha pledged to lead the country back to democracy, although he said it would be “Thai-style democracy.” Four years on, it appears that “Thai-style democracy” means holding an election that returns Prayuth as leader, whether as prime minister or behind the scenes, even as he suggests he has no such plans. “Why should I stay on in power for another 20 years?” Prayuth said in a speech at a university in Bangkok last week, referring to a 20-year strategic policymaking plan his junta has adopted. “I am 60 now, and that’s already old. I need to rest.” A handful of students protested against the junta leader, holding signs calling him a dictator. Prayuth has repeatedly postponed promised elections, and there is little confidence here that he will make good on his most recent … [Read more...] about Will Thailand’s general-prime minister make good on his latest promise to hold elections?