Journal of Political Risk, Vol. 8, No. 1, January 2019
Reports of the Indonesian military using white phosphorous munitions on West Papuan civilians in December are only the latest horror in a decades-old jungle war forgotten by the world. But new geopolitical maneuvering may soon change the balance of power here, prompting regional concern about an intensifying battle for this rich remote province of Indonesia. It is time for the US and Australia to change policy, complementing Pacific island diplomacy, or risk a major strategic setback at the crossroads of Asia and the Pacific.
Once again, Papuan highlanders have fled their villages into the bush where they are starving and being hunted by Indonesian security forces.
Fighting between OPM (Free Papua Movement) guerrillas and the Indonesian military has increased in recent months creating a fresh humanitarian crisis in a region cut off from the world: Indonesia prevents all foreign media and NGOs from operating here. This makes West Papua perhaps the only territory besides North Korea that is so inaccessible to the international community.
Journal of Political Risk, Vol. 7, No. 10, October 2018
Filipino Armed Forces at Fort Magsaysay, 2003. Soure: NARA & DVIDS Public Domain Archive.
This is a critical time for the Philippines, in terms of economics, politics, and national defense. Immediately at the start of President Rodrigo Duterte’s term the congress was already submissive to him. There were just a few dissenting Senators. But Duterte is taking them down one by one, especially the opposition stalwarts. Senator Leila de Lima was accused of a sham case, conspiracy to commit illegal drug trading (1), and is now in prison. Senator Antonio Trillanes is having his amnesty revoked . Duterte is under criminal investigation, breaking the Constitution, running the Philippines into the ground, and gradually giving our sovereignty away to China. The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is slowly losing its allies and competitive edge against China, the Philippines’ biggest threat. Duterte should immediately be removed, and the AFP should seek the help from its traditional allies to quickly modernize.
Journal of Political Risk, Vol. 7, No. 6, June 2018
Emerald Princess crosses the new Cocoli Locks of the Panama Canal expansion in Panama City. A giant Chinese-chartered freighter nudged its way into the expanded Panama Canal on Sunday to mark the completion of nearly a decade of work forecast to boost global trade. Source: Craig Stanfill via Flickr.
William R. Hawkins
International Economics and National Security Consultant
On June 4, the Koch brothers (Charles and David) announced the launch of a “multi-year, multimillion-dollar” campaign against the tariffs and trade restrictions imposed by the Trump administration; especially those levied on China. The billionaire brothers are regularly called “conservatives” because they make large campaign donations to Republican candidates. But they are not conservatives; they are libertarians, a very different breed of cat. And their donations to the GOP are meant to sway the party in their ideological direction, not merely support it. The liberal media tries to tarnish conservatism by placing libertarians on “the Right” even though this is not their intellectual origin. This is done to further the left-wing narrative that “conservatives” are self-interested, greedy individuals who are enemies of organized society and the common good. This is true for libertarians, who doubt the very legitimacy of the nation-state or the “higher” norms of society. Too often they define right and wrong on the basis of whether it turns a profit.
Journal of Political Risk, Vol. 5, No. 2, February 2017
Tehran. Source: Jabiz Raisdana via Flickr.
NabiSonboli Instituted for Political and International Studies
On January 27, 2017, President Donald Trump signed the Executive Order titled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorists”. The orderreflects three critical concerns regarding immigrants and those who come to the US in the new administration: Security, ideology, and contribution. These concerns are valid for any country, but the questions remain, which one of these concerns are legitimate with regards to Iran and Iranians? and what is the main target in this order?
Long considered an anchor of East African stability, Tanzania has recently made headlines for aggressive expansion of its mining and extractive industries. In what might be considered growing pains, economic prosperity has strained government and civilian relations, and is increasingly testing the governance skills of Tanzania’s Ministries. Adverse investment laws, widening religious conflict, and proliferation of small arms and light weapons, however, tarnish Tanzania’s image as a peaceful and prosperous republic. Continue reading →