DRI Asia Review

Each week, DRI Asia Review focuses on a single country, subregion, or theme, and based on in-house research, new DRI products, and regional media monitoring, helps you uncover the drivers of change in the Asia-Pacific.

Ungated, impartial, and to-the-point, let DRI Asia Review tell you where the region is heading – and how it is getting there.

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October 15, 2021

Pakistan: Neither Sink nor Swim?

This week’s DRI Asia Review looks at Pakistan, specifically the latest revelations of widespread financial malfeasance among members of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s cabinet and those of the country’s hallowed and all-powerful military establishment. It delves into how voices across the border—in India—are viewing how the return of the Taliban to Kabul stands to affect Pakistan and Kashmir, and recaps some of the key conclusions from a September The Diplomat/DRI webinar on Afghanistan, India, and Pakistan. And it leaves you contemplating an evolutionary theory of national honor, and the role of “sacred spaces” in geopolitics.
October 8, 2021

Bangladesh-China Relations

This week’s DRI Asia Review looks at the health of the Bangladesh-China relationship which has considerably deepened in the recent years across a wide spectrum of issues ranging from infrastructure, trade, and investment to defense cooperation and vaccine diplomacy. We also delve into how Bangladeshi voices view the challenges in the relationship and present a short summary of how both Bangladesh and China are affected by climate change-induced stress, drawing from a new DRI report. Finally, in honor of this week’s physics Nobel Prize announcement, we offer you a short account of how complexity science has informed security studies.
October 1, 2021

Asia-Pacific’s Climate and Energy Woes

This week’s DRI Asia Review focuses on energy and climate change in Asia-Pacific. We offer you an analysis of what Europe’s deepening energy crisis means for India and other major developing countries in the region and look at what a leading Japanese newspaper expects Prime Minister to-be Kishida Fumio to do when it comes to disaster prevention and mitigation. Drawing on a DRI Monthly Report, we briefly flag how India is faring when it comes to combatting climate while setting its economy on a path of mend. And finally, we ask: Is climate change an existential risk, and if not why call it so?
September 24, 2021

AUKUS Ruckus, Quad Rumble

This week’s edition—which goes to press hours before the leaders of Australia, India, Japan, and the United States meet for the first-ever in-person Quad summit in Washington, D.C.—looks at the Biden Administration’s incipient Indo-Pacific strategy. It assesses the significance on the AUKUS partnership announced last week, and regional views on China joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership as well as the future of the South Korea-U.S. alliance. It highlights DRI research on semiconductor supply chain risks and leaves you with the work of Peter Turchin on history as a predictive, mathematical science.
September 17, 2021

A High Low: Asia-Pacific and Narcotics

This week’s edition throws light on a critical challenge in the region: the unabated flow of – and appetite for – narcotic drugs. We look at how Sri Lanka is emerging as a critical spoke in narcotics trafficking, even as domestic consumption continues unabated posing serious risks. We probe how South Korea too is finding itself at the unfortunate frontline of drugs trafficking as a key transshipment node. Also in this edition: China’s counterterror posture, and modeling narco-trafficking networks.
September 10, 2021

9/11: Two Decades Later

This week’s DRI Asia Review looks at the 9/11 attacks in the United States, two decades after they upended geopolitics in West and South Asia. We recommend six movies and television shows around the events leading up to 9/11, and the momentous ones that followed. Through monitoring Bengali news media in both the Indian state of West Bengal and Bangladesh, we summarize what leading voices are saying about the return of the Taliban to Kabul. We give you some of the key conclusions in a new DRI report about Afghanistan and Taliban 2.0, and remind you of the importance of the availability heuristic.
September 3, 2021

Afghan Aftershocks

As developments in Afghanistan indicate an across-the-board catastrophe for the Afghan people, this edition explores how the international community, the United Nations in particular, is responding to it. It argues for immediate action to protect aid workers in the country who are especially vulnerable under the Taliban regime. It looks at how countries in eastern Asia-Pacific are responding to the return of the Taliban, as well as South Asian apprehensions about the regional security environment. It suggests viewing the developments in Afghanistan through the lens of self-organized criticality to understand its true nature.
August 27, 2021

Afghanistan and the Indo-Pacific

This edition dips into how Asia-Pacific powers are likely to view the tumultuous events in Afghanistan, amid a regional counter-China diplomatic offensive by the United States. It dives into U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris’s first solo overseas trip, to Southeast Asia, and evaluates how it was colored by Washington’s ignoble exit from Afghanistan. It looks at how observers in Taiwan and Thailand are viewing Beijing’s outreach to the Taliban, and draws attention to new, rigorous, ways of thinking about causality.
August 20, 2021

The Taliban Wins

This edition, released soon after Kabul fell to the Taliban, looks at the calculations that shaped the Biden administration’s decision to pull out of Afghanistan and those likely to be made by the Taliban as they establish a new regime in Afghanistan. It also looks at how New Delhi is viewing the developments in Afghanistan, and probes claims that the U.S. intelligence community failed to anticipate the Afghan military’s collapse in the face of a Taliban push. In view of these developments, it reaffirms the importance of strategic notice for intelligence analysts.
August 12, 2021

Democracy in Asia: Down and Out?

This edition focuses on the state of democracy in Asia. It looks at the pro-democracy protests in Thailand and brings out the complicated relationship between voter turnouts and democratic norms consolidation in the country and elsewhere. Ahead of the presidential elections in South Korea, it provides insights into President Moon Jae-in’s precarious political position. It also explores the concept of a narrow corridor of liberty.
August 6, 2021

Groundhog Day in India-Administered Kashmir?

Marking the second anniversary of the revocation of Article 370, this edition of DRI’s Asia Review looks beyond the Modi’s government’s tough rhetoric on Kashmir to assess the true rationale behind the Indian government’s decision. It looks at Kashmir’s economy as well as views the disputed region through a triangular geopolitical lens, situating the state of play there within the context of China-India-Pakistan relations. It looks at the possibility of Afghanistan emerging as a site of proxy war between India and Pakistan and leaves you thinking about political moral hazard.
July 30, 2021

The End of Geoeconomics?

This edition of DRI’s Asia Review examines the failures of the Trump Administration’s attempts to tame China through tariffs, which not only failed to reduce Washington’s trade deficit with China but took bilateral trade to new heights. It looks at Australia-South Korea cooperation to counter Chinese monopoly over rare earths and examines the possibility of U.S. joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. Finally, it leaves you questioning the possibility of economic decoupling.
July 16, 2021

The United States in the Asia-Pacific

This edition assesses the emerging contours of the Biden Administration’s Asia Policy and the key challenges ahead of it as it tries to reshape Washington’s regional posture in the Asia-Pacific. It also looks at how traditional ally South Korea is responding to the Biden Administration’s overtures and renewed emphasis on regional diplomacy. It also examines the possibility of China coercing Taiwan through a military assault on the Pratas Islands, while leaving you thinking about new ways to think about climate cooperation.
July 9, 2021

Asia-Pacific’s Rocky Technology Landscape

This edition looks at how Asia-Pacific powers are seeking to shape the regional tech landscape even as they grapple with key challenges at home. Geopolitics – specifically, a revisionist, rising China’s technology ambitions – looms large over how some in the region approach emerging and established tech efforts. However, others would prefer a more pragmatic approach, refusing to be drawn into sharpening strategic competition between the U.S. (and allies) and China that also, increasingly, has a strong tech component.
July 2, 2021

India at Risk

This edition assesses the plethora of critical security, economic and foreign policy questions facing India in the wake of recent regional developments, and their implications for India-Pakistan relations. It covers a drone attack on an Indian Air Force base in Jammu, upcoming elections in Uttar Pradesh, and assesses the geopolitical costs of India’s pandemic-hit economy.