The story of Asia today remains very much one driven by its largest nations and economies. An increasingly assertive China, a slow-growing Japan, a rising India and a still emerging Indonesia dominate the headlines, along with mounting tensions from the Korean peninsula. Yet, all of “Asia rising” can take a lesson from some of the region’s smallest countries.
An unprecedented campaign against environmental pollution has led to 18,000 companies being punished across the country since last summer and more plant shutdowns. But the crackdown’s economic implications are just beginning to unfold.
The legacy of 2007 is still with us. Its most devastating and destructive effect was to put a premium on unconventional monetary measures. Unfortunately, when policymakers scrambled in search of “big bazookas” ten years ago, they set the stage for the return of an old character: a strongman willing to pull the trigger.
Nothing can describe this irony better than The Indus Saga , in which Aitzaz Ahsan writes in the preface: “… a nation in denial of its national identity is unfortunate. But when it chooses to adopt an extra-territorial identity, it becomes a prisoner of propaganda and myths… This is the Pakistan of today, not the Pakistan of its founders. Identity is at the heart of its problem”. If Pakistan is to come out of its tortuous identity crisis, it needs to accept its non-Muslim history as its own. Recognising someone as important as Chanakya will have to be part of the long process.
This isn’t a temporary tightening, but rather the new reality of President Xi Jinping’s internet. China’s censors have shown they can erase political criticism and dissent, and are now growing more ambitious, aiming to shape the world online to reinforce Communist Party values and morals. While embracing the efficiency and growth of the internet, what Chinese authorities want is an altered and nonthreatening version.
The dysfunctional relationship among the Lee siblings might have stayed behind closed doors but for two inconvenient details. First, they were fighting over the house of Lee Kuan Yew, the man who was virtually synonymous with Singapore for five decades. Second, the eldest among the siblings is the current Prime Minister of Singapore, Lee Hsien Loong.
Nepalese citizens hold an estimated $500 million in the banned notes, most of them sent back as savings by the more than one million Nepalese nationals working in India, says Chiranjibi Nepal, governor of the country’s central bank, the Nepal Rashtra Bank. Yet seven months after the ban, India has yet to exchange those notes with valid ones. Talks are on with India’s central bank, he says. As for Bhutan, its nationals hold $16 million in defunct Indian notes, says Dasho Penjore, governor of the country’s central bank, the Royal Monetary Authority.
President Donald Trump has a plan. It’ll be ready in two weeks. From overhauling the tax code to releasing an infrastructure package to making decisions on Nafta and the Paris climate agreement, Trump has a common refrain: A big announcement is coming in just “two weeks.” It rarely does.
President Trump may be the face of America’s withdrawal from the Paris climate accord, but, as deeper reporting is making clear, it’s the Kochs and their fellow fossil-fuel industry donors who really own the policy. Whether responsibility for such a consequential move will redound to their favour remains to be seen.