North Sea Oil Gold Rush

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North Sea Oil Gold Rush

SINCE the turmoil of the Asian financial crisis in the late 1990s, South-East Asia has, with some glaring exceptions, enjoyed remarkable political stability. Its leaders have used that calm to promote greater integration of their club, the Association of South-East Asian Nations, or ASEAN. This was supposed to reach something of a climax at the end of 2015, with the birth of the ASEAN Community, which would set up an “economic community”, turning a region of 630m people into a “single market and a single production base”. But this looks likely to be a hollow achievement. There will be myriad formal legislative targets but little genuine integration. One reason is that the political backdrop has changed. Throughout the region, governments are increasingly preoccupied by crises at home.

The usual sources of instability, such as Thailand and Myanmar, remain troubled. A coup last year has imposed a phoney calm on Thai politics. But the central dilemma—that voters keep electing governments the establishment cannot tolerate—is no nearer resolution. Thais have long feared unrest or worse after the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, now a frail 87-year-old. The worry makes the generals even less willing to restore anything like real democracy, in case the monarch should die with the wrong sort of people in charge.

The usual sources of instability, such as Thailand and Myanmar, remain troubled. A coup last year has imposed a phoney calm on Thai politics. But the central dilemma—that voters keep electing governments the establishment cannot tolerate—is no nearer resolution. Thais have long feared unrest or worse after the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, now a frail 87-year-old. The worry makes the generals even less willing to restore anything like real democracy, in case the monarch should die with the wrong sort of people in charge. The usual sources of instability, such as Thailand and Myanmar, remain troubled. A coup last year has imposed a phoney calm on Thai politics. But the central dilemma—that voters keep electing governments the establishment cannot tolerate—is no nearer resolution. Thais have long feared unrest or worse after the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, now a frail 87-year-old. The worry makes the generals even less willing to restore anything like real democracy, in case the monarch should die with the wrong sort of people in charge.

The usual sources of instability, such as Thailand and Myanmar, remain troubled. A coup last year has imposed a phoney calm on Thai politics. But the central dilemma—that voters keep electing governments the establishment cannot tolerate—is no nearer resolution. Thais have long feared unrest or worse after the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, now a frail 87-year-old. The worry makes the generals even less willing to restore anything like real democracy, in case the monarch should die with the wrong sort of people in charge. The usual sources of instability, such as Thailand and Myanmar, remain troubled. A coup last year has imposed a phoney calm on Thai politics. But the central dilemma—that voters keep electing governments the establishment cannot tolerate—is no nearer resolution. Thais have long feared unrest or worse after the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, now a frail 87-year-old. The worry makes the generals even less willing to restore anything like real democracy, in case the monarch should
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