What is taking place in Venezuela is a proxy for larger geopolitical conflicts between the United States and Russia. Is the US reviving the long-defunct Monroe Doctrine?
China is still the new kid on the block. Yet over the past several years, the CCP regime has dramatically increased its presence in Latin America. Now China has managed to turn itself into the region’s top creditor by funding large-scale infrastructure projects. Compared with the United States, the Chinese model is mostly mercantile, not political.
In blow to Beijing, El Salvador’s 37-year-old president-elect hinted that he would reassess the country’s diplomatic relations with China, only a few months after the government abandoned Taipei for Beijing. If El Salvador ends up switching diplomatic recognition back to Taipei, then it will represent a setback for China who has long sought to poach Taiwan’s allies.
The Monroe Doctrine might be outdated. On many diplomatic and national security issues the US-EU alliance is quite obvious: The United States and the EU has joined forces to oust Maduro. They are implementing a concerted strategy against Huawei as well.
Yet China has successfully bought its way into many countries. Thailand is a case in point: the enormous revenue stream from tourism alone is sufficient to keep the bilateral relationship amicable.
Thailand on Friday launched a 5G test bed for Huawei, even as the United States urges its allies to bar the Chinese telecoms giant.
Important as it is, 5G is not what grabs the headlines in Thailand today. The 67-year-old elder sister of Thailand’s king, Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya Sirivadhana Varnavadi, was nominated Friday as a candidate for prime minister in upcoming elections, a surprise move that shatters the established protocols of Thai politics.
Bhumibol Adulyadej, also known as Rama IX, the ninth monarch of Thailand from the Chakri dynasty, was, at the time of his death, the longest-reigning monarch in Thai history. Just a couple years before he passed away in 2016, in 2014, General Prayut staged yet another couple d'état and assumed control of the country. Although he granted himself sweeping power and imposed strict limitations on public expression, the country remains a democracy, which means elections are still in order: Prayut will be Phalang Pracharat's candidate for prime minister in the upcoming election.
Rama IX was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His eldest daughter, Princess Ubolratana was born in Switzerland but educated at MIT. The former actress relinquished her royalty when she married an American. (They later divorced.)
She was put forward by the Thai Raksa Chart Party of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted by the military more than a decade ago. Her chances of winning should be greater than Prayuth Chan-ocha, the retired Thai general and the current prime minister, who has also announced his candidacy and will be running against Ubolratana in the upcoming election. For Ubolratana, representing the party of Thaksin, the most capable politician of Thailand since the 1932, is a key advantage.
The Southeastern Asian country has now become a geopolitical arena pitting China against the US-EU alliance.
Update: Thai Raksa Chart Party which nominated Princess Ubolratana as candidate for prime minister issued a statement announcing its compliance with the king’s objection to Princess Ubolratana’s bid, thereby ending the princess’s bid.