Transparency Key as Indonesia Relaxes Restrictions – Opinion by Camille Bismonte

A shopper walks past a monitor showing the body temperatures of visitors at a shopping mall in West Jakarta on Wednesday.

The COVID-19 pandemic has not only drastically affected the way we live our lives, but it has thrust many countries into having to decide when to transition from sheltering to reopening –sometimes precipitating harmful partisan domestic battles.

By way of example, the United States and Brazil, although somewhat distinct, are both suffering greatly from COVID-19 and are considering reopening. Both are led by aggressive populists who rose to power as antielite and anti-establishment figures. Their leaders are prone to reject the opinions of scientists, promote conspiracy theories and undermine media that oppose them. Yet now they seek to avoid blame for any failure to ameliorate COVID-19 damage.

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Why Democracy Matters? – Learning from the Experience of Indonesia and South Korea in the Time of COVID-19 – Opinion by Noto Suoneto

As we all know, the COVID-19 pandemic is not only affecting the global health and economic situation, but it has also tested the political leadership of all countries no matter what their political system is. Either they are Republic with Presidential System (Indonesia) and Parliamentary System (India), Absolute Monarchy (Saudi Arabia), Constitutional Monarchy (Japan, United Kingdom), or One-party State (China). Many even say, Democracy? Autocracy? coronavirus doesn’t care.

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The Disproportionate Effect of COVID-19 on Migrant Workers in ASEAN – Opinion by Camille Bismonte

A significant percentage of all ASEAN workers consist of migrant labor, whose remittances contribute a substantial proportion of GDP in many nations around the region. In light of COVID-19, however, the impact on these migrant workers has been significantly higher — and the consequences devastating. Migrant workers are often the most overlooked population during a crisis such as the pandemic, and they are now being viewed as the primary cause for second-wave infections. If issues involving marginalized communities such as migrant workers are not addressed, this will fuel more virus containment obstacles going forward.

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World Desperately Needs Cooperation, Leadership to Beat COVID-19 – Opinion by Dr. Dino Patti Djalal

Kim Kyung Hoon | REUTERS

The preferred policy response of every country threatened by COVID-19 seems to be a lockdown, or severely restricting movement (of people, goods and services) into and out of cities or countries. For now, this is undoubtedly the best way to slow down, contain and hopefully roll back the spread of the novel coronavirus within and between nations. But beating COVID-19 will require much more than a lockdowns, social distancing and travel bans. Even if China, South Korea and Japan succeed in scaling back the virus, that does not mean much if the rest of the world catches it.

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Historic challenge for Abrahamic religions – Opinion by Dr. Dino Patti Djalal

The recent attack by a white supremacist in Christchurch, New Zealand, revealed to us what the most extreme form of Islamophobia can be. The terrorist had reportedly developed a burning hatred of the growing number of Muslims that he saw as “invading his land”. Analysts have pointed out that if this could happen (of all places) in New Zealand, it could happen anywhere. The rare attack was also a manifestation of the historic “Abrahamic” problem. Relations among the Abrahamic religions of Islam, Christianity and Judaism remain fraught with negativity, tension and hostility. At times they do result in oppression, discrimination and persecution.

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Insight: Are we ready for Indo Pacific 2.0? – Opinion by Dr. Dino Patti Djalal

The year 2019 is poised to be a critical episode for the Indo-Pacific. This is the year when ASEAN will attempt to form a common position on the Indo-Pacific, and before that, there will also be an East Asia Summit (EAS) foreign ministers conference in Jakarta in March. The Indo-Pacific, of course, is not a new concept. I would say that the EAS — created in 2005 and since 2011 has included the United States and Russia — is in itself a manifestation of Indo-Pacific thinking; let’s call it Indo Pacific 1.0.

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US and China: Contrasting leadership for Asia – Opinion by Dr. Dino Patti Djalal

As United States President Donald Trump makes his way across Asia, he will see lots of smiling faces from Asian leaders and citizens who, unlike his domestic constituents, find him somewhat amusing. Actually, Trump should pay attention to an important perceptual shift in Asia. A recent poll by Perth USAsia Center showed that most respondents in Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Australia, India for the first time see China as the most influential country in Asia, overtaking the US.

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An open letter to President Trump – Opinion by Dr. Dino Patti Djalal

As America’s 45th president, you will become the leader of the free world, manage the world’s largest economy, command the world’s most powerful military, control the world’s largest nuclear arsenal and be in charge of the world’s only superpower. We hope you will keep a sense of humility despite the enormous power and awesome responsibility of your new position.

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