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Who is Hun Sen?

Who is Hun Sen?

Perhaps Goethe put it best when he wrote that “the romance of politics is best used to numb and to quell the fears of the uninformed.” Maybe Mr. Hun Sen, Prime Minister of Cambodia, is a romanticist in light of his recent comments warning of the “instability of war” if his ruling Cambodian People’s Party […]

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Change is Not a Game

Change is Not a Game

At the sound of a whistle, a Cambodian policeman clad in a sweat stained, light blue uniform and gripping a flashing baton in his hand races out into an intersection to abruptly stop traffic in all directions. The identity of the entourage coming down the perpendicular boulevard — with a police escort of at least […]

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As Election Approaches, Cambodia’s Parties Offer Little Hope

As Election Approaches, Cambodia’s Parties Offer Little Hope

PHNOM PENH — As one approaches the intersection of Norodom and Sihanouk Boulevards in Phnom Penh’s Boeung Keng Kang 1 District, a mansion of impressive size and grandeur can be observed. Located adjacent to, of all things, the North Korean embassy to Cambodia, this awesome house belongs to Hun Sen, Prime Minister of Cambodia. That title […]

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The Rise of Thaksinomics

The Rise of Thaksinomics

Two weeks ago, I used this space to lament the austerity measures currently being implemented in Europe. With the European Common Currency Zone stuck in six consecutive quarters of recession, it’s easy to understand just how sick the continent’s economy is on a macro scale. One country which is certainly not sick these days is Thailand. […]

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Why Austerity Always Fails: Lessons from Thailand

Why Austerity Always Fails: Lessons from Thailand

Watching the news these days and hearing about yet another austerity plan being implemented in some European country usually requires a shake of the head and a rueful look directed at the television for most people. I’m not sure what else can possibly be cut, but it seems there is always more to take away […]

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Pillage, Plunder, and Western Hypocrisy

Pillage, Plunder, and Western Hypocrisy

By now, most people have come to the realization that the global economic order is under the unrepentant control of neoliberal institutions. Not to conflate neoliberalism with capitalism, but suffice to say both philosophies share the same goal: privatization, deregulation, and trade liberalization, all in the pursuit of profits. For some people, like Slate’s Matthew […]

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America and North Korea — Relax

America and North Korea — Relax

The insufferable Thomas Friedman has been ranting in recent columns about how North Korea threatens to step over a “red line” in the country’s latest belligerence towards the West which would disrupt the world’s conflict-free period. The New York Times’ champion of neoliberalism explains: “Think about what a relative luxury we’ve enjoyed since the Great […]

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Holy War: A One-Sided Affair

Holy War: A One-Sided Affair

No sooner had my previous post — warning of an imminent massacre of Muslims in Burma — been published two weeks ago, deadly sectarian riots swept through the town of Meiktila in central Myanmar leaving an estimated 32 people dead, according to a government official. Alternative estimates claim that the death toll is quite a […]

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None Dare Call it a Genocide

None Dare Call it a Genocide

Never again. Remember that? The world was very determined to never allow another attempt at genocide after the Holocaust. We know now that those words were as empty and hollow as a whiskey barrel on the George Bush ranch. Genocides have happened again and will continue to happen if it is not in the “international […]

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North Korean Jive

North Korean Jive

Give the people sports and they will forget all about politics. Such a maxim could be attributed to all manner of political figures from Commodus to Machiavelli. We can now add Kim Jong Un to that list after the North Korean leader welcomed former NBA weirdo Dennis Rodman to Pyongyang for a basketball game between […]

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Laos Joins WTO

Laos Joins WTO

Last week saw Laos formally become the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) 158th member.  Before the ink had time to dry on the agreement, Asia-based pundits were already weighing in about the potential benefits of such a move, which took fifteen years in the making. Gretchen A. Kunze, the Laos-based representative for The Asia Foundation writes […]

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Wretched Refuse of Cambodia’s Teeming Shore

Wretched Refuse of Cambodia’s Teeming Shore

After three months of national mourning, Cambodia’s late King Father Norodom Sihanouk’s body will be cremated this upcoming Monday in a ceremony that could only be fit for a king.  As is the case whenever Cambodia draws international attention, the capital city of Phnom Penh is spit shined and polished in an attempt to live […]

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Thailand Losing Face

Thailand Losing Face

If you thought last week’s story about Thailand’s decision to forcibly deport Rohingya refugees escaping ethnic violence in Myanmar was horrifying enough, you should probably stop reading now. An investigation conducted by the BBC has uncovered evidence that Thai military and police officials have been complicit in intercepting refugees and then selling them to human […]

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When People Vanish

When People Vanish

Do you remember the term “disappeared” from the Cold War days? It was a common phenomenon in countries with a less than stellar record on human rights and democracy in the second half of the 20th century. Many people — sometimes outspoken critics of the government, sometimes not — would simply vanish. One day they’d […]

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Thailand’s Dirty Little Secret

Thailand’s Dirty Little Secret

The deplorable decision by the government of Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to forcibly repatriate around 70 ethnic Rohingya fleeing ethnic violence in neighboring Myanmar this past week should certainly not come as a surprise. Successive governments have routinely prevented asylum seekers from remaining in Thailand from various trouble spots surrounding the country. This is […]

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About the Author

Tim LaRocco
Tim LaRocco

Tim LaRocco is an adjunct professor of political science at St. Joseph's College in New York. He was previously a Southeast Asia based journalist and his articles have appeared in a variety of political affairs publications. He is also the author of "Hegemony 101: Great Power Behavior in the Regional Domain" (Lambert, 2013). Tim splits his time between Long Island, New York and Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Twitter: @TheRealMrTim.

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