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The Debate

The Debate is our home for the best opinions from around Asia. Whether it is negotiating with Iran, responding to North Korean provocations, discussing Japan's looming demographic issues, or considering the new balance of power in the Asia-Pacific, some of the region's leading thinkers offer their take.

A Decentralized Government Is Not the Answer to Afghanistan’s Problems
February 29, 2020

A Decentralized Government Is Not the Answer to Afghanistan’s Problems

By Ajmal Burhanzoi
In Afghanistan's case, devolving power to local institutions will only encourage further jihadism designed to wring concessions from the state.

China Says There’s No Risk of a COVID-19 Outbreak in Xinjiang Camps. Don’t Believe It.
February 28, 2020

China Says There’s No Risk of a COVID-19 Outbreak in Xinjiang Camps. Don’t Believe It.

By Jewher Ilham and Munawwar Abdulla
In trying to deny any cause for concern, a government spokesperson only helped justify fears.
Don’t Be Too Pessimistic About Timor-Leste’s New Political Instability
February 27, 2020

Don’t Be Too Pessimistic About Timor-Leste’s New Political Instability

By David Hutt
The new round of uncertainty brought about by the premier’s resignation deserves attention but also needs to be kept in perspective.

Sister-City Relations and Identity Politics: The Case of Prague, Beijing, Taipei, and Shanghai
February 25, 2020

Sister-City Relations and Identity Politics: The Case of Prague, Beijing, Taipei, and Shanghai

By Matej Šimalčík and Adam Kalivoda
Shanghai’s cancellation of its partnership with Prague reveals how normally apolitical relations are increasingly tainted by identity politics.

The US Didn’t Just Wake Up to Central Asia’s Importance
February 21, 2020

The US Didn’t Just Wake Up to Central Asia’s Importance

By Catherine Putz
No, Washington isn’t just now waking up to Central Asia as a strategic region.

The MCC and Nepal’s Strategic Ties With the US
February 19, 2020

The MCC and Nepal’s Strategic Ties With the US

By Kripendra Amatya
Rumors of a secret military conspiracy are absurd, but there are real concerns about the pact's implications for Nepali sovereignty.

A Free and Open Indo-Pacific Needs a Free and Open India
February 19, 2020

A Free and Open Indo-Pacific Needs a Free and Open India

By Aman Thakker
India's ability to contribute to a "free and open" Indo-Pacific will require a course correction at home first.
The US Is Losing the 5G Fight, But Hampering China Is Not the Solution
February 18, 2020

The US Is Losing the 5G Fight, But Hampering China Is Not the Solution

By Enea Gjoza
If the United States wants to compete, it should focus on domestic revitalization.

Is Australian Media Biased Against China?
February 15, 2020

Is Australian Media Biased Against China?

By Dan Hu
Increasingly fierce competition in Australia’s media sector contributes to sensationalist reporting on China.

STEM Gender Bias Cripples Asia-Pacific Region
February 14, 2020

STEM Gender Bias Cripples Asia-Pacific Region

By Lateisha Ugwuegbula
The future depends on girls and women having equal opportunities to learn – and to contribute – in the STEM disciplines.

What We Can All Learn From Australia’s Bushfires
February 14, 2020

What We Can All Learn From Australia’s Bushfires

By Luke Gosling
Pinning the blame on others and saying “but they’re worse than us!” is not a responsible climate policy.
US Must Recapture Lost Ground in Southeast Asia or Risk Being Shut Out
February 14, 2020

US Must Recapture Lost Ground in Southeast Asia or Risk Being Shut Out

By John Goyer
The “State of Southeast Asia 2020” report is a warning bell for American influence in the region.

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