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January, 21, 2017

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Commentary
Every president taps a legislative affairs director to work with Congress. President-elect Donald Trump appears ready to use a legislative whip like none other: Twitter.
 
U.S. Gulf allies are looking at Donald Trump to tilt Washington in their favor, analysts say, but fear a dangerous void if the incoming president goes so far as to tear up the Iran nuclear deal.
 
His country mired in recession, Brazilian President Michel Temer's government ordered more than US$400,000 worth of food, including 500 cartons of Haagen-Dazs ice cream and nearly 1.5 tons of chocolate cake, for his official plane trips in 2017 only to cancel the order hours later amid public outrage.
 
Milton Friedman once described Lee Kuan Yew as a "benevolent dictator" from whom a lesson can be drawn: that a free, private-market economic system can be combined with a strongarm political system.
 
Donald Trump's inauguration as the next U.S. president is less than three weeks away. Judging by his appointment of ardent China hawk Peter Navarro to head a newly formed White House National Trade Council, hard-nosed trade negotiations with U.S. trade partners are in store during his term.
 
There was a time when the word "development" referred to a process that would transform society altogether into an image of the advanced industrial democracies, with abundance and freedom for all.
 
As he goes through the wrap-up motions of his eight-year presidency, Barack Obama has effected a robust reprisal against Russia ... barely a fortnight after he pledged to respond to cyber-attacks by Moscow during the elections and "at a time and place of our choosing."
 
The Thai military is amid a full-bore "pivot" of its own towards China, to the detriment of our long-time Western allies. This has been particularly obvious in the realm of procurement, with Thai generals eyeing more Chinese military hardware in recent years, beginning with submarines.
 
Twenty years ago, Hong Kong was handed over to China by Britain, its colonial master for 156 years. The decision had been made earlier by China's diminutive but doughty leader Deng Xiaoping, and the reputedly unbending "Iron Lady" Margaret Thatcher had little choice but to acquiesce.
 
Show of hands: How many of us have attempted to engage in a rational political discourse online or with family or friends during a dinner gathering, only for it to end with the head meeting wall each time?
 
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