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ASEAN ANALYSIS 6 July 2010

Security: do you have it?

By David Swartzentruber
AseanAffairs   6 July 2010

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This week’s news seems to indicate a world full of insecurity and quite frankly, jitters.

On the global scene, the world’s stock markets seem to have the creeps about a double-dip recession. Good advice might be to have the investors each purchase a double-dip ice cream cone and spend some money on current consumption. That might be the best way to deal with a double-dip recession.

Closer to home, Thailand inched toward security when it removed the emergency decree from five provinces.

Following the May 19 protest events in downtown Bangkok, an emergency decree has been in effect, maintained by a few random bomb blasts that hurt no one and did little damage. These appeared to be cases of psychological warfare on the part of the red-shirt group.

The masterminds of the most noteworthy attack were apprehended in Cambodia and returned to Thailand to face charges, making everyone fell more secure.

Another issue of security, food security, in Asia is being discussed in Vietnam.

The timing of the event is well, timely, as both Thailand and Vietnam, major rice producers and exporters, have been affected by a drought that will cut into their rice production.

Nevertheless, feeding all the people in Asia stretching from India through China is a formidable task for many countries. The Vietnam forum is discussing new rice strains that require less water to produce as raising rice is, of course, water-intensive.

In the Philippines, investors may be scared off by the country’s gap between expenditures and revenues and some think raising taxes is the solution.

At the other end of the Asean, the new budget in Malaysia promises to bring about higher incomes in eight years, thus ensuring a secure financial future

A secure state of mind appeals to many and the promises and hopes that national leaders hold out when they promise more food through higher incomes is a way to massage voters.

However, growth and development in Asean, may entail a degree of risk-taking not to mention sound judgment and planning.

So the road to so-called security is often paved by those who take risks and assume the risk of failure, making their lives quite insecure.

Taking risks and braving the unknown are the opposite of those who place a secure feeling above all else.

Security-insecurity will also be opposite poles of the human experience.


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