The Broad Mind | Daily Update: May 08, 2013

East Asia
  • Economic problems in The Philippines appear to be very similar to those in India. In recent years, the East Asian country has emerged as Asia’s second fastest growing economy after clocking a growth rate of 6.6%. However, as The Atlantic reveals, huge sectors such as telecommunications, banking, and real estate are almost entirely monopolized by a few elites and their families, most of whom have enjoyed power since Spanish colonial times.  The Philippines has critical problems of income disparity, poverty, and malnutrition and very little is being done to curb the oligarchical dominance of the country’s elite.
Around the World
  • Despite many months of stalled attempts at cooperation between the United States and the Syrian regime’s strongest ally, Russia, the two countries have pledged to work together in calling an international conference by the end of this month to end the conflict. The US Secretary of State, John Kerry, and the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, together announced the move on Tuesday in a joint press conference in Moscow. Meanwhile, The Atlantic discusses the various options in front of the United States’ in Syria in this piece.
  • James Holmes, writing in The Diplomat on the repercussions of “China’s great India folly” makes the case that China doesn’t grasp how soft-power works and claims that “if it keeps unsettling its surroundings, Beijing shouldn’t be surprised in the future when nervous giggles — instead of admiration and amity — greet its efforts to court foreign audiences”. He also points to the fact that by reopening the territorial issue with India, China maybe forced to redirect resources from sea power back to land defense.
  • On CNN’s Global Public Square blog, Geneive Abdo has an excellent piece explaining how Iranian President Ahmadinejad shows no signs of diminishing as a political force in his country, despite being prevented from contesting for a third term in office. For the elections due next month, he is pushing his top aide as a Presidential candidate and simultaneously hurting his opponents by releasing confidential documents revealing their past indiscretions. This has exacerbated tensions between him and the all-powerful clerical establishment.

DISCLAIMER: This is an archived post from the Indian National Interest blogroll. Views expressed are those of the blogger's and do not represent The Takshashila Institution’s view.