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Malaysia’s 92-Year-Old Comeback Kid, Mahathir Mohamad

With the surprise victory of the opposition on May 9th, it is the first time since its independence in 1957 that Malaysia has seen a peaceful transfer of power like this. The United Malays National Organization (UMNO) had long been the dominant political force in the country, using its far-reaching patronage system to maintain power and influence. It was a ... Read More »

Can politics still be poetic?

This article was inspired by a discussion organised by SIB Groningen, on the 12th March 2018, called “Poetry and Politics in Iran: The Power of Verse”. It was led by Professor Asghar Seyed-Gohrab an Associate Professor of Persian and Iranian Studies at Leiden University, who has specialised in Islamic spirituality and Persian mysticism.  The ideas of politics and poetry may ... Read More »

Conditions, Challenges and Consequences of Korean Unification

Last week has witnessed a dramatic shift in the relationship between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the Republic of Korea: after years of increasing tensions North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un announced he wanted to ‘write a new history’ of unification with the South. Even after the unprecedented cooperation between the two Koreas during the Olympics, this announcement came ... Read More »

Marketing for States – the Power of Nation Branding

The common war strategy of demoralizing the enemy by providing them with one’s own ideology over radio airwaves had found its way into the Cold War tactics. Western German radio stations were using frequencies that were so strong they could be easily received and thus heard in the East, behind the wall. The, so-called „Westfunk“, widely condemned by the eastern ... Read More »

The Beastly Component of Conflict: How War Endangers Species

New Year’s: it is the time of excessive drinking, an overdose of oliebollen and rants by cat ladies about the bombshells and fireworks their most beloved pets must endure. While their outcries are often ridiculed, there is a certain truth in them, as they shine light to the overlooked damage conflict causes on animals. War is viewed as being fought ... Read More »

A Link between Worlds: The History and Future of the Silk Road

When taking a look at the countries that once constituted the Soviet Union, one notices either violent internal unrest and bloody civil wars, or ongoing stagnation and economic crisis. Even several developing countries in the global South seem to outpace the former Soviet Republics due to their lack of dynamism. This has not always been the case, however, for central ... Read More »

Rodrigo and the Rainbow: Same-sex marriage in the Philippines

Rodrigo Duterte, the President of the Philippines, has become notorious for his rowdy rhetoric and supercharged war on drugs. Last month, however, he struck a remarkably progressive tone on a wholly different issue. At an LGBT gathering in his hometown of Davao City on December 17, Duterte declared his support for marriage equality, saying that “If that is the trend ... Read More »