Stories by Joshua Kurlantzick

Expert Voices

Jokowi's growth agenda could leave democratic reforms behind

Joko Widodo standing on stage at his second inauguration ceremony
Joko Widodo at his inauguration ceremony, Oct. 20. Photo: Oscar Siagian/Getty Images

Newly sworn in for his second term in office, Indonesian President Joko Widodo has already made clear that he will prioritize an economic agenda focused on investment and infrastructure over political reforms.

Why it matters: Indonesia is the largest economy in Southeast Asia and has made a striking transition from the Suharto dictatorship to a vibrant democracy over the past 20 years. Jokowi, as the president is widely known, entered his first term vowing to battle graft, but his shift in focus may put civil liberties and the country's hard-won democratization at risk.

Expert Voices

China's expanding global influence campaigns are sparking pushback

students in a classroom at a Confucius Institute
A class at the Community College of Denver's Confucius Institute. Photo: RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images

China's global influence campaigns are drawing heightened responses, from a bipartisan bill in the U.S. Senate and anti-interference laws in Australia to new legislation in Germany that would limit Chinese investment in media.

Why it matters: Under President Xi Jinping, Beijing has more openly wielded power abroad, trying to influence other countries’ political debates, media coverage and education systems. These efforts extend China's authoritarian control of information, manipulate discussions of its policies and intimidate ethnic Chinese populations around the world.

Expert Voices

Philippine midterm elections could further consolidate Duterte's power

Rodrigo Duterte speaking at a lectern
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. Photo: Noel Celis/AFP/Getty Images

Despite provoking international condemnation for his disdain for laws and institutions, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte seems likely to gain stronger domestic support in the May 13 midterms, when voters will elect the lower house of Congress and part of the Senate.

Why it matters: Long one of the most democratic states in Southeast Asia, the Philippines has seen under Duterte an illiberal crackdown on the press, judiciary and political opposition and an anti-drug campaign that reportedly has led to the deaths of over 12,000 people, often through extrajudicial killings.