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Asia Maior Vol. XXVI / 2015

The Chinese-American Race for Hegemony in Asia

Anno di pubblicazione: 2016
Asia Maior Vol. XXVI / 2015


Foreword: Asia Maior in 2015

As has been pointed out in the foreword of the previous Asia Maior volume, Asia – even the portion of it that the Asia Maior think-tank defines as «Asia Maior», namely Asia south of the Caucasus and Siberia and east of Turkey and the Arab countries – is a profoundly diverse area, basically devoid of […]

Korean peninsula 2015: one step forward and two steps back

In 2015, in South Korea, President Park Geun-hye’s decline in popularity, which had begun in the previous year, further accelerated. In particular, the outbreak of the MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) crisis between May and June contributed, once again, to show the government’s inability to act quickly and effectively. The already difficult situation worsened in […]

Japan 2015: Confronting East Asia’s Geopolitical Game of Go

This essay focuses on the mounting geopolitical tensions around the South China Sea so as to gauge Japan’s growing assertiveness in foreign and security policy there. It defines regional strategic interaction in 2015 along the lines of a «game of go» (known as go or igo in Japan, and as weiqi in China): China calmed […]

Philippine 2014-2015: Domestic politics and foreign relations, a critical review

This article analyses some of the key issues in Philippine domestic politics and foreign policy during the years 2014 to 2015. The analysis is divided into two main parts. First, the article examines domestic politics from the lens of political corruption, President Aquino’s good governance programme, and electoral politics. Second, the article examines the principal […]

Indonesia 2015: The First Year of the «People’s President»

Joko Widodo’s election in 2014, after a long and harshly contested presidential race, raised great expectations: not beholden to the military and political elites of the Suharto era, Indonesian people considered him a representative of new democratic forces vis-a-vis the deep-seated «New Order» legacy. Accordingly, 2015 was important to see the extent to which these […]

Singapore 2011-2015: A Tale of Two Elections

The electoral authoritarian regime of Singapore has experienced two very different general elections in 2011 and 2015. The first was a watershed election that allowed the opposition to capture the largest number of seats ever, including a group representative constituency, which was once believed to be impossible. It had also fielded the most candidates ever, […]

Malaysia 2015: Najib Razak’s hardest year

In 2015 Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak’s leadership was badly shaken by the eruption of a huge corruption scandal in July. This same scandal contributed to making the Malaysian economic outlook negative, while the national currency fell to an all-time low against the US dollar. This was accompanied by a massive protest movement (Bersih 4.0), […]

Thailand 2015: Anxiety over the royal succession in the post coup 2014

The military staged a coup on 22 May 2014, overthrowing the elected government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. Outwardly, the military justified its political intervention with the classic claim that corruption was the rot of Thai politics and the coup was needed to purify the political domain. At a deeper level however, the military intervened […]

Myanmar 2015: Political turning point, economic and social challenges

The year 2015 will be remembered as a watershed in the political evolution of Myanmar. After 5 years of semi-civilian government, the country was allowed to hold free elections for a new national parliament and regional assemblies. In November, the National League for Democracy (NLD) led by Aung San Suu Kyi won by a landslide […]

Bangladesh 2015: The emergence of radical Islam

The main issues that shaped Bangladeshi politics in 2015 were the emergence of radical Islamic terrorism, the continuation of the trial related to the war crimes committed by pro-Pakistan organizations during the 1971 war of independence, the continuation of the Rana Plaza case, and the positive evolution of the bilateral relations with India. It is […]

India 2015: The uncertain record of the Modi government

Narendra Modi’s 2014 election generated enormous expectations in the economic sphere. However, in 2015, on the one hand, Modi was unwilling or unable to push through any «big bang» reforms; on the other hand, jobs generation – one of Modi’s key electoral promises – proceeded at an excruciatingly slow pace. At the macroeconomic level, the […]

Sri Lanka 2015: The downing of a new era?

At the beginning of the year under review, the Opposition common candidate, Maithripala Sirisena, emerged as the winner of the January presidential election. The new Presidency brought with it the promise of a new political phase, characterised by the restoration of both democratic institutions and the rule of law, seriously eroded during the previous ten […]

Pakistan 2015: domestic and foreign policy challenges

In Pakistan, the period under review (January–December 2015) was characterised by the overall stable rule of the Nawaz Sharif-headed government of the PML-N (Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz) of the Prime Minister. The main challenge to the Nawaz Sharif government was the internal militancy. The cruelty of the 2013 attack on an army-run school in Peshawar that […]

Kyrgyzstan 2015: a country adrift?

In August 2015 Kyrgyzstan completed the accession process to the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU). Bishkek now firmly gravitates in Russia’s orbit. In October parliamentary elections returned a six-party national assembly, where the president, Almazbek Atambayev, could count on a strong pro-presidential power base, consisting of the «president’s party», the Social-Democratic Party of Kyrgyzstan (SDPK), and […]

Turkmenistan 2015: existing challenges to the permanent neutrality and the strategic development of the multivector energy policy

As the country with the fourth largest natural gas reserves in the world, Turkmenistan is aiming to diversify its energy export routes in order to enhance its strategic role as an energy supplier. In 2015, this central Asian republic paved the way for the implementation of the eastward and westward export corridors, starting the completion […]

Iran 2013-15: in the midst of Change

Iran has gone through great changes in the past two and a half years. After Hassan Rouhani’s election in June 2013, the country has reached a deal with the P5+1 (the permanent five members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany) that promises to bring an end to the twelve-year old dispute over its […]


The other side of the chinese economic miracle: the dilemmas of access to health care in the People’s Republic Of China

Daniele Brombal, Curarsi è difficile. Curarsi è costoso. Storia, politica e istituzioni della sanità cinese, 1978-2013, Roma, Aracne, 2015, 167 pp. (ISBN 9788854883390). Daniele Brombal’s book focuses on an extremely relevant issue – health care in the People’s Republic of China (PRC). In some respects, health care can be seen as a litmus test of […]

The development of the most challenging relationship of our times

Dong Wang, The United States and China: A History from the Eighteenth Century to the Present, Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2013, 377 pp. (ISBN 978-0742557826) The relationship between the United States and China is likely the most studied and analyzed topic of the post-bipolar world. The growing interest towards the Sino-American issue arose since the […]