[Regarding Hanoi's market reforms Doi Moi in 1986] Vietnam's choice to liberalize its economy was one made out of desperation...Vietnam's socialist experiment was failing, growth was at a standstill and inflation was running at something like 500% per annum. The regime had no choice but to reform if they wanted to survive.
[South Korean President] Moon’s challenge is get something from Kim [Jong-un] that he can then sell to [President] Trump. To judge from Trump’s endless flattery of Kim, this shouldn’t be too hard. The question is whether this game can persist indefinitely without definitive evidence of North Korean actions [as opposed to words] of what Kim has supposedly agreed to.
The state of Israel needs partners to advance its goals in the world, but Israel also represents ‘an ethos’ which doesn’t sit comfortably with dodgy characters such as [Philippines President Rodrigo] Duterte....Exercising leadership also means choosing one’s friends prudently.
There’s no question that many in Southeast Asia see the region caught uncomfortably between the United States and China. The Trump administration’s repeated calls for a free and open Indo-Pacific have fallen flat in various capitals, which many see as very thin gruel, begging the issue of how the U.S. intends to remain relevant to the regional future.