China believes Myanmar' military regime has the best chance of consolidating support for its rule, thereby protecting Beijing’s significant investments and strategic position in the country.
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Given the lukewarm responses to calls for increased pressure on Russia so far from most South and Southeast Asian democracies, the West is unlikely to get much support in its efforts.
Wherever possible, elected leaders should work to build public support for constitutional changes that dilute the power of militaries.
COVID-19 is not the only challenge countries in the region are facing in the coming year.
Biden's summit comes at a challenging time for democracy. The global monitoring organization Freedom House called this year’s report on the state of global freedom “Democracy Under Siege.”
Malaysia has fully vaccinated more than 77% its population, with some 90% of adults — those deemed eligible for the vaccine — receiving a second dose.
Another top potential contender, Duterte’s daughter Sara Duterte-Carpio, is currently mayor of Davao. She seems to act with the same disregard for the law as her father.
Authoritarian powers such as China, Russia and Turkey are becoming both more autocratic at home, abroad and more influential on the world stage.
Countries from the Philippines, Indonesia, Cambodia, Myanmar and Malaysia have regressed from robust democracies or hybrid regimes with some now turning to outright authoritarian rule.
Many Southeast Asian states have experienced sharp new surges in cases, and some countries could wind up with COVID-19 disasters on a scale with that of India.