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AssessmentsAug 20, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
Opposition supporters protest against Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko’s disputed electoral victory in Minsk, Belarus, on Aug. 18, 2020. 
Charting the Path From Protests to Power in Belarus
The Belarusian protest movement is positioning itself to gradually shutter President Alexander Lukashenko’s access to all levels of government and industry, which could eventually force his exit by robbing him of any power or legitimacy. While peaceful marches through Minsk and other cities make for impressive demonstrations of the opposition’s resolve, they don’t necessarily force political change. The opposition movement, however, has gradually increased demands for active statements of support from the Belarusian industry and local and regional levels of politics, which could eventually undercut the embattled president’s position. Protesters are seeking to achieve this by effectively forcing political and industry representatives to make a choice between allegiance to their opposition movement or Lukashenko, with an implied understanding that whoever chooses the latter will be barred from any power structures in a potential post-Lukashenko government. But personnel in key management or leadership positions who have benefited from the status quo
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AssessmentsFeb 14, 2020 | 09:00 GMT
A bank teller counts Thai bhat before handing it to a customer in Bangkok.
Thailand's Economic Outlook Goes From Bad to Worse
Less than a year into its transition out of direct military rule, Thailand has found itself steeped in mounting economic and political risks. The recent coronavirus outbreak in nearby China has already taken a toll on the country's vital tourism sector, and the virus' still unknown damage to Chinese economic growth risk cutting even deeper into Thai exports amid dampened global trade demand. But even before the outbreak, Thailand's strong baht was hindering growth by deterring tourists to lower-cost destinations and making its exports less competitive. Meanwhile, the country's unwieldy military-aligned ruling coalition is fending off an increasingly desperate opposition seeking to make inroads wherever it can, which will constrain Bangkok's ability to implement the big-ticket infrastructure projects needed to spur growth and ultimately weather the storm.
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AssessmentsJan 3, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
This May 24, 2019, photograph shows garment workers making men's suits in a factory in Hanoi, Vietnam.
In Vietnam, Clouds Gather on the Horizon
Vietnam shone in the geopolitical spotlight in 2019, writing an economic success story amid global uncertainty over trade, mediating between the United States and North Korea and becoming a key security partner for powers near and far. But as Vietnam prepares for an all-important leadership transition in January 2021, jockeying for influence among domestic political players and major outside powers will test the country's political stability and strategic balance. Such a risk could complicate Vietnam's investment climate at a time when competition is heating up to be the most business-friendly destination in the region.
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AssessmentsDec 10, 2019 | 20:10 GMT
Myanmar army generals Tun Tun Nyi, Soe Naing Oo and Zaw Min Tun (left to right) discuss their intent to thwart constitutional changes by the governing National League for Democracy.
How Myanmar's Elections Could Dampen Its Investment Climate
In the months leading up to Myanmar's late 2020 elections, an atmosphere of political uncertainty and a risk-averse approach to reforms will combine to make it difficult for the country to attract foreign investment, even as it pushes to diversify beyond Chinese involvement. Myanmar's next government will likely be more divided and incoherent than the one now led by the National League for Democracy, with added complexity expected as ethnic minority, military-aligned and other parties jockey for position. More immediately, in the run-up to the election, the risks associated with spikes in anti-Muslim communal violence, stepped-up military offensives in ethnic border regions and a stagnating peace process with insurgents will rise. These factors, combined with the global trade slowdown, could limit Myanmar's economic growth. The 2020 vote, coming a decade into Myanmar's post-dictatorship period, will be a key test for the country's new political balance.
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AssessmentsSep 20, 2019 | 18:39 GMT
An aerial view of harbored shipping cargo.
Southeast Asia Is on the Front Lines of the U.S.-China Trade War
The U.S.-China trade war has recently shown some signs of a truce that could sustain talks. But this has brought little refuge for global markets, given that a snap decision by the White House could swing U.S.-China tensions back into high gear. Because of their proximity to and deep integration with regional supply chains (and with China in particular), Southeast Asian countries are among the best-positioned to benefit from the manufacturers leaving China to escape U.S. tariffs. Indeed, Vietnam has emerged so far as the clear winner on this front, though even it isn't immune to the world's fraught economic outlook. The strengthening U.S. dollar, for one, has roiled Southeast Asian currencies, while declines in global demand have sapped Southeast Asia's vital export revenue. The global headwinds also pose a challenge to the region's political orders built on delivering rising prosperity -- forcing each country to balance benefits with risks to maintain its
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AssessmentsAug 2, 2019 | 09:30 GMT
The United States detonates an atomic bomb nicknamed "Smokey" as part of Operation PLUMBBOB in the Nevada desert in 1957.
The Sun Sets on an Arms Control Treaty
On Aug. 2, the United States officially leaves the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, 32 years after U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev signed the agreement to ban nuclear and conventional ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with a range of 500-5,500 kilometers (310-3,410 miles). As the end of the INF Treaty threatens to accelerate and intensify an ongoing arms race, we look back on some of our key stories charting the fall of that agreement, as well as the status of other key arms control deals.
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AssessmentsMay 31, 2019 | 10:00 GMT
Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood senior members, including Khairat al-Shater (top left), gesture from the defendants' cage at the Egyptian Police Academy on the outskirts of Cairo on June 2, 2015.
Charting the Muslim Brotherhood's Influence
As a staunch advocate of political Islam, the Muslim Brotherhood has played a prominent part in society and politics throughout the Sunni Arab world for more than 90 years. Formed by conservative Muslim thinker and teacher Hassan al-Banna in 1928, the organization's Egyptian branch continues to be the most pronounced, but the Brotherhood's reach stretches across the Middle East and beyond. The group has inspired (or aligned with) the thinking of countless other Islamist groups across the Muslim world that oppose Westernization and secularization to some degree. While many of these groups have a clear link to the original Egyptian Brotherhood, others do not. It is important to remember that the Brotherhood and other Islamist groups did not develop in a vacuum -- they emerged from, and seek to represent, the segments of society that support a revivalist Islamic tradition. The Brotherhood's message does not always resonate with more progressive establishments,
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AssessmentsMay 20, 2019 | 09:00 GMT
This photo shows protesters opposed to the military junta's rule over Thailand during a demonstration disputing election results.
Thailand Faces a Transition From Junta to Military-Favored Rule
The dust from Thailand's landmark election has largely settled, and the country's military junta, on the verge of handing the reins to popularly elected leaders, has emerged in an even stronger position than early returns suggested. The country's National Assembly will convene May 22, five years to the day when Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha ordered the military to seize power and arrest the members of the civilian Cabinet. Since then, a military junta, with Prayuth serving as prime minister, and its allies in the monarchy have worked diligently not only to effect a royal transition but also to promulgate a constitution that limits civilian rule. With the rewrite, the military leaders are guarding against the potential return to power of forces loyal to the popular exiled politician Thaksin Shinawatra and his family, fearing a return to political chaos and its ripple effects on Thai stability. With a relatively strong position in the
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AssessmentsMay 15, 2019 | 11:00 GMT
Residents cast their votes in Philippine national and midterm elections on May 13, 2019, in Malabang, Lanao del Sur, in the southern Philippines.
Duterte's Policies Earn a Vote of Confidence in Philippine Elections
From the start, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has sought to be a game changer. The first president from the remote southern region of Mindanao, he swept to victory in 2016 elections by advocating a ruthless approach to crime, promising to spread economic development to far-flung regions and vowing to end chronic insurgencies. The man known as "The Punisher" has proven to be wildly popular, managing to sustain his controversial drug war, attracting record foreign direct investment (FDI), advancing the Mindanao peace process and maintaining healthy growth numbers overall. Now, midway through his single term, Duterte's allies have made a strong showing in elections that will help him move forward on key agenda items. At stake are ambitious objectives to implement a federal system of government, raise FDI limits and revamp the mineral sector, among others. Amid the Philippines' careful balancing act between the United States and China, Duterte's domestic fortunes
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