Author: Stein Tønnesson

Are Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping Two of a Kind?

Democracy and separation of powers are in decline. In many countries, individuals have taken all the power into their own hands. This is true not least of Russia and China. Vladimir Putin has used his power to invade Ukraine. Recently, Xi Jinping practised encircling Taiwan. Could Xi be as willing to take risks as Putin?

Telenor’s Exit from Myanmar: An External Review Is Needed

Telenor’s sale of its Myanmar venture has been completed. Its new majority owner is Myanmar’s Shwe Byain Phyu group, which is mainly known for its petroleum trade. On 11 May, in their reports to Telenor’s Annual General Meeting, Chair of the Telenor Board Gunn Wærsted and CEO Sigve Brekke spoke at length about the extremely difficult situation Telenor had faced after Myanmar’s 1 February… Read more »

Will Taiwan Be the Next Ukraine?

“Ukraine today, Taiwan tomorrow.” This warning rings through Taiwanese social media. “We should not allow this problem to be passed down from one generation to the next,” said Xi Jinping in 2019 about the political differences between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait. The annual report from the Chinese government that was issued on… Read more »

Putin, Xi, and World War III

Vladimir Putin is playing for high stakes against the US and its allies on the global scene. Since Xi Jinping does not play along, Putin has temporarily transformed a bipolar power system into a triangular game, with Xi in the middle. Yet Xi is the one that Biden fears most. China does not have and… Read more »

The New Pattern of Conflict in Myanmar

A new conflict pattern has appeared in Myanmar. Amidst a spiraling economic, social and health crisis, armed fighting is no longer confined to ethnic minority areas but has cropped up in cities and regions where the ethnic Bamar are in majority. They see themselves as pursuing a nation-wide resistance. Preventive diplomacy is needed to stop… Read more »

Myanmar’s Pandemic: The UN Must Act!

More than 1/3 of those tested for Covid-19 in Myanmar now test positive. The crematorium in Yangon can hardly handle all the bodies. Many health workers remain on strike since the February 1 coup. When they try to help people on a voluntary basis, they risk arrest. Social media is full of desperate requests for… Read more »

Myanmar – from one dictatorship to another

The coup d’état in Myanmar marks a defeat for the military’s attempt to create a “discipline-flourishing” democracy. The coup occurred on 1 February, just before the newly elected parliament was set to convene. This timing made it easy to arrest the country’s leading politicians. The military used allegations of electoral fraud as a pretext. The… Read more »

Facebook’s Power in Myanmar

Facebook is Myanmar’s dominant media platform. Now the country is again a dictatorship. In 2018, Facebook banned commander-in-chief Min Aung Hlaing for his role in the expulsion of the Rohingya. Now, as the country’s new dictator, he temporarily shuts down Facebook. Myanmar’s many conflicts have given Facebook director Mark Zuckerberg one headache after another. He… Read more »

A Migrant in the Common European House: Pavel Baev Interviewed by Stein Tønnesson

Pavel Baev, interviewed by Stein Tønnesson In the late 1980s, when I took part in drafting speeches for Mikhail Gorbachev underpinning his concept of an ‘All-European House’, one part of my work was to strive towards the elimination of tactical nuclear weapons in Europe. Nothing came out of it at the time. Now, after more… Read more »