Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Throwing The Game: Donald #Trump and #Democracy in #Asia

The best chance at balancing China's rising power in the region, which banks on the spread of illiberalism and the retrenchment of existing authoritarianism, is through the promotion and alliance of democracies. Problem is, the current US Administration doesn't seem to be interested. Beijing benefits

"Southeast Asia’s Democratic Decline in the America First Era," Council on Foreign Relations, 27 Oct Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines have all slid into illiberalism, seemingly with Trump's acquiescence. Moreover, the rise and mien of these illiberal regimes are straight from Trump's own playbook [link]

"5 Challenges Trump Will face in Asia," Center for American Progress 1 Nov "So far, Trump and his team have explicitly disowned values and human rights as a part of U.S. statecraft. This will damage long-term interests by alienating beleaguered Asian democrats, who look on as the United States unilaterally cedes its soft power. Trump welcomed Thailand’s military dictator Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to the Oval Office this fall and has repeatedly praised the violent, deadly, and extralegal campaign against drug use being executed by Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte. And the Trump administration has done little other than issue public condemnations to attempt to stop Myanmar’s military from carrying out a genocidal campaign against the Rohingya people—a humanitarian catastrophe." [link]

"If Trump Forgets About Human Rights in Asia, the World Will Suffer," Foreign Policy 2 Nov "Unfortunately, Trump seems unlikely to address issues of democracy, human rights, and governance — his pattern of inviting autocratic, corrupt rulers to the White House is a testament of this. Thus far, his “America First” tagline translates to a more transactional foreign policy, with no room for standing up for human rights and democracy. And taking a sledgehammer to the State Department’s budget hasn’t helped either. It’s no surprise that 72 percent of Southeast Asians believe that the U.S. image has been tarnished in the region since Trump took office" [link]

"Asia is turning its back on democracy, and some say Trump isn’t helping," Los Angeles Times 3 Nov “Trump has created a moral vacuum which China has moved to exploit, and to fill... they’re just much more sophisticated, and much more coordinated, about their foreign policy messaging than Trump is... China’s able to say, ‘We don’t care about your domestic issues, we just want to bring trade and prosperity’ — a Pax Sinica, with Beijing at the center,” he continued. “People who understand China know that it’s a lot more complicated — and one would say devious — than that. But we are losing the ability to say that this comes with a lot of human rights abuses, or moral externalities, so to speak.” [link]

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