18 November 2016

Each fortnight on the Policy File we round-up some essential weekend policy reading from around the web. This week we look at what Trump’s victory means for the Asia-Pacific, the political crisis in South Korea, and mass protests in Jakarta.

Donald Trump’s victory in the US presidential election has surprised political commentators around the world. In The New Yorker, David Remnick writes that Trump’s victory is an ‘American Tragedy’, while Richard Painter from the New York Times has a more optimistic view, arguing that it is possible for political outsider Trump to be a good president.

Writing for The Guardian, Thomas Piketty argues that Trump’s victory is a consequence of rising economic inequality, while on Project Syndicate, Joseph Stiglitz makes some suggestions for how President-elect Trump might deliver for his supporters who feel left behind by a failed economic system. John Agnew, however, warns that if Trump voters think the new President can return the country to a time when it ‘made things’, they’ve got another think coming. For some comic relief on Trump’s victory, check out fake British reporter Jonathan Pie’s profanity-laden rant about how the left is to blame.

What will Trump’s win mean for countries in the Asia-Pacific? On Policy Forum, Simon Reich reviews the key issues that will shape Trump’s approach to the region, from China, to North Korea, to a fierce domestic debate about the merits of globalisation, while Stephen Nagy looks at the security implications of a Trump Presidency for Northeast Asia. At The Atlantic, James Fallows argues that political regression in China makes dealing with the country Trump’s first priority. At The National Interest, Joshua Walker describes how Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been quick to forge a personal connection with the President-elect.

Like Japan, Australia must also face hard questions about the terms of its relationship with its ally. Writing for the Sydney Morning Herald, Michael Fullilove argues that Australia must ‘grimace and bear’ a Trump presidency for the sake of its security. On Policy Forum, Jane Golley argues that Trump’s positions on trade and climate change are just two reasons why Australia should now seriously and openly question the benefits of its US alliance.

Moving away from the US election, South Korea is in the midst of an unprecedented political crisis, with President Park Geun-hye facing corruption allegations and widespread protests calling for her resignation. Writing for The Washington Post, Chung Min Lee looks at how South Korea can best weather the crisis and restore faith in the machinery of government, while at The Diplomat, Justin Fendos argues that South Korea’s culture of corruption is to blame for this latest scandal.

Indonesia has been rocked by massive demonstrations in Jakarta over allegations of blasphemy levelled against the non-Muslim Governor of the city. At New Mandala, Adhi Priamarizki and Muhamad Haripin look at what impact the protests might have on Indonesia’s democratic consolidation and the Jokowi presidency. At the Straits Times, M Taufiqurrahman and Kornelius Purba ask what the demonstrations reveal about pluralism and religious tolerance in the country.

Concerns over immigration have been commonly cited as a major factor behind both Trump and Brexit. At The Australian, Judith Sloan looks at how immigration has become a powerful political issue, and argues that Australia needs to reform its own immigration policy. At DevPolicy Blog, Matthew Dornan reviews what the academic literature says about the impact of immigration on living standards in the OECD.

The Chinese government has intervened in Hong Kong politics to bar two elected legislators from taking office over anti-China statements they made at their swearing-in ceremony. At Bloomberg, Anson Chan writes that the people of Hong Kong are in desperate need of a champion to defend the city’s independent judicial system from Chinese interference. At Time, Wilson Leung and Kevin Yam argue that China’s heavy-handed treatment of Hong Kong demonstrates that the Asian power needs to develop more nuanced ways of handling its affairs.

Want more for your weekend? You can catch up with our Policy Forum podcast series via iTunes, Stitcher, and Soundcloud. If you like what you hear, please give us a review on iTunes and help us get the word out.

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