The economic uncertainties that continue to grip the world over how the US and Europe will resolve their respective financial crises are front and center in the minds of policy makers worldwide. Here in Asia there is much that could be done to assist the global recovery.
When the US financial crisis triggered the Great Recession that afflicted much of the world in 2008-2009, policy makers in the US and elsewhere clearly understood that their economies needed massive stimulus measures, and fast.
Even as the 17 European Union countries that use the euro agreed at a summit in Brussels in December, uncertainty persists about whether Europe is finally on a road to recovery from its debt crisis.
China stands out as a silver lining in the clouds that hang over the global economy, and there is much the country can do to assist a recovery in the US and Europe, such as stimulating demand in its domestic economy.
China's surging growth and huge domestic market have long fueled dreams that once its consumers are unleashed rising demand will help heal ailing Western economies.
As Europe continues to reel from its financial crisis, policy-makers there would do well to cast an eye on the Asian financial crisis of 1997-1998 and other emerging market crises to avoid the pursuit of remedies that will only make things worse.
While Asia's leading economies have been largely immune from the current European economic crisis, the long-term prospects are perilous unless the region uses its strength to assist the global economy.
The key is only allowing the ‘right’ sort of corruption: Small bribes that oil the wheels of commerce for everyone are less of a problem than high-profile scandals involving officials pocketing millions of dollars.
As a developing country riddled with corruption at every level, Indonesia appears to defy expectations with consistently high growth rates in recent years.
It is taken as orthodoxy in much of the democratic West that intrusive efforts to promote democracy, up to and including armed intervention of the kind seen recently in NATO's support of the Libyan uprising, are means justified by the ends.
China's newfound assertiveness, particularly in its maritime disputes with its neighbors, has disturbed the region and reawakened US attention to a part of the world it had largely been neglecting.
Despite its potential for conflict rooted in historical grievances, Northeast Asia lags far behind Europe in developing multilateral systems to ensure effective regional security co-operation.
As the Six-Party talks aimed at eliminating North Korea's nuclear program remain stalled, a fresh approach incorporating the concept of a nuclear weapons-free zone in Northeast Asia should be considered as a way to ensure peace and security in the region.
Nuclear energy, long a contentious issue in Taiwanese politics, has been catapulted into the spotlight by upcoming presidential elections and the nuclear disaster at Fukushima in March 2011.
If the political process under way in Burma genuinely heralds the end of the country’s long torpor under military rule, the opening of the economy is a key factor.
One by-product of democracy over the last dozen years in Indonesia has been the creation of a political polling and consulting industry.
Thirty-two years after his death, Park Chung Hee (1917"“1979) is currently the most revered former president in the history of South Korea. Park's popularity is largely a posthumous phenomenon.
Short reviews of Water: Asia's New Battleground by Brahma Chellaney; Red Capitalism: The Fragile Foundation of China's Extraordinary Rise by Carl E. Walter and Fraser J. T. Howie; Consumptionomics: Asia's Role in Reshaping Capitalism and Saving the Planet