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Richard Javad Heydarian
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Richard Javad Heydarian is a foreign affairs and economic analyst, focusing on the Asia-Pacific and MENA regions. Follow him on twitter @Richeydarian

He is an Assistant Professor in political science at De La Salle University, and consultant/policy advisor to a number of local and international institutions. As an expert on current and international affairs, he has written for or interviewed by Asia Times, Aljazeera English, Bloomberg, BBC, Foreign Affairs, CCTV, USA Today, Voice of America, The Straits Times, The National Interest, The Nation, The Diplomat, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, South China Morning Post, NPR , among other publications. He is the author of How Capitalism Failed the Arab World: The Economic Roots and Precarious Future of the Arab Uprisings. He is also the author of the forthcoming book The Philippines: The US, China and the Struggle for Asia's Pivot State.

His areas of specialization are South China Sea disputes, emerging markets, and Middle East politics. He can be reached at

Entries by Richard Javad Heydarian

Philippines' Mindanao Dilemma: Aquino, the Mamasapano Tragedy, and the Future of the Peace Process

(2) Comments | Posted February 14, 2015 | 7:09 AM

Emotions are running high. There are even talks of a possible coup d'état against the government. Benigno "Pinoy" Aquino, who has managed to maintain relatively high approval ratings almost five years into office, is now confronting a growing call for his resignation. Even if he survives what some...

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Pope Francis in the Philippines: Inspiring Political Transformation

(1) Comments | Posted January 22, 2015 | 10:59 AM

Pope Francis' recent visit -- capturing the hearts and minds of Filipinos from all walks of life, regardless of gender, class, and religion -- to the Philippines couldn't be timelier. The Southeast Asian country, the sole Catholic-majority nation in Asia, was in desperate need of a sacred touch of magical...

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Philippines' Shallow Capitalism: Westernization Without Prosperity

(150) Comments | Posted January 12, 2015 | 1:10 PM

As the sole Catholic-majority nation in Asia, with a distinct combination of Spanish and American colonial past, the Philippines stands as one of the most unique countries. Yet, many Westerners tend to find the country too familiar -- that is to say, not as "exotic" as other neighboring countries --...

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Philippines vs. China: Law and Disorder in the South China Sea

(13) Comments | Posted January 7, 2015 | 10:24 AM

Generalizations about Asian cultures are often misleading, if not despicably orientalist. But I would dare to say that the Philippines is a nation of lawyers, while China is a nation of strategists and business-minded leaders. And this partly explains how the two countries approach the South China Sea disputes.

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After Aquino: Time for 'Effective Governance' in the Philippines

(4) Comments | Posted November 11, 2014 | 2:52 PM

In his newly-released magisterial work, Political Order and Political Decay, Francis Fukuyama discusses the emergence of modern bureaucracy, the importance of effective public administration, and the perils of rising economic inequality in modern democracies. Although he hasn't fully abandoned his original thesis in The End of...

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Philippines at a Crossroads: End of Aquino's Popularity?

(22) Comments | Posted August 29, 2014 | 6:54 PM

A key lesson in politics, especially among developing countries, is that everything is relative: It is difficult to develop a stable metric for assessing the performance of any particular administration without taking the context -- that is to say, the set of circumstances that enable and constrain political change and...

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Entente Cordiale: The US and Iran in the Middle East

(2) Comments | Posted August 25, 2014 | 6:52 PM

A year after the election of reformist Hassan Rouahni, Tehran and Washington have entered a de facto entente. While the ongoing nuclear negotiations are yet to produce a permanent deal, both sides have stepped up their assistance to the Shia-dominated government in Baghdad and the Kurdish regional government...

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Philippines and Vietnam in the South China Sea: A Burgeoning Alliance

(0) Comments | Posted May 26, 2014 | 12:55 PM

It was bound to happen. For decades, the Philippines (liberal democracy) and Vietnam (communist) have developed a lukewarm partnership -- within the confines of regional bonds of solidarity -- despite the increasing convergence of their strategic interests. But as China steps up its territorial claims in the South...

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Philippines' Infrastructure Conundrum: Prematurely Hosting the World Economic Forum?

(0) Comments | Posted May 23, 2014 | 6:21 PM

With the Philippines emerging as one of the economic bright spots of Asia, it came as little surprise that Manila was chosen as the host of the 2014 World Economic Forum (WEF) on East Asia, bringing together leading policy-makers, businessmen, academics and journalists from around the...

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The Dangers of Asian Nationalism: Why Washington Should Be Alarmed

(0) Comments | Posted May 20, 2014 | 1:18 PM

Few saw it coming. In the words of The Economist, it was "hot oil on troubled waters", as an international crisis over a naval standoff between Beijing and Hanoi in the South China Sea swiftly transformed into large-scale riots against Chinese interests in Vietnam,

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China Tests American Resolve: More Trouble in the South China Sea

(4) Comments | Posted May 9, 2014 | 6:33 PM

"What would America fight for?" exclaimed The Economist, as it cautioned the Obama administration against strategic retreat and neo-isolationism. It dismissed President Obama's foreign policy as a cerebral doctrine that excuses inaction -- one that is based on visceral recoil at confrontation and distaste for strategic gamble. It...

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The Philippine-U.S. New Security Pact: Good Bargain, or a Lopsided Deal?

(7) Comments | Posted May 2, 2014 | 10:01 PM

Recently, I had the opportunity to present at an experts conference on the South China Sea disputes in Myanmar, with maritime specialists from across the Asia-Pacific region gathering to explore innovative solutions to a brewing territorial conflict in Asia. With practically no functioning communication channels between the leadership...

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Algerian Elections: The End of the Arab Spring?

(0) Comments | Posted April 18, 2014 | 7:00 PM

As Algeria's President Abdelaziz Bouteflika secured his fourth term in office, many are wondering whether the 2010-11 Arab uprisings have had any lasting imprint on the region at all. Soon to be an octogenarian, Bouteflika -- once the world's youngest and most dashing foreign minister --...

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The Post-Deng China: The End of China's Soft Power?

(1) Comments | Posted April 9, 2014 | 9:24 PM

In the last three decades the world came to witness one of history's most dramatic stories of economic transformation in the once-isolated, formerly frail China. It marked a decisive end to the country's "century of national humiliation" (beginning with the First Opium War in 1839 and ending with...

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Philippines Takes China to Court: End of Diplomacy in the South China Sea?

(0) Comments | Posted March 31, 2014 | 5:34 PM

"To file, or not to file" this was the crucial question, which Filipino policy-makers have been wrestling with for months, as Manila pondered challenging China's sweeping territorial claims in the South China Sea before a United Nations (UN) court at The Hague. On March 30, the Philippines was...

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Time for an Arab Economic Revolution: How Keynes Can Save the Arab Spring

(1) Comments | Posted March 9, 2014 | 9:36 PM

"It is better to be roughly right than precisely wrong," argued the legendary British economist John Maynard Keynes, one of history's greatest thinkers. His ideas on the fragile balance between capitalism and democracy enlightened a whole generation of leaders and policy-makers, who managed to overcome the tumultuous aftermath...

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South China Sea Disputes Enter a Dangerous Phase: The U.S. Pivot Gathers Steam

(4) Comments | Posted February 24, 2014 | 2:13 PM

"At what point do you say: 'Enough is enough'?" Philippine President Benigno Aquino exclaimed in an exclusive interview with the New York Times. It was a forceful call for international support amid intensifying territorial disputes with China. Quite shockingly, he even compared China to Nazi Germany, cautioning the...

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The Privatization Dilemma: Regulatory Crisis in the Philippines and Emerging Markets

(0) Comments | Posted February 4, 2014 | 6:30 PM

To privatize, or not to privatize -- this is a fundamental question facing the Philippines, and many other similarly-situated emerging markets, which face increasingly unaffordable public services after decades of aggressive privatization. Many are beginning to ask whether the state should (once again) play a more central role in providing...

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Upgrading the Philippine Economy: Why Emerging Markets Need a New Governance Model

(1) Comments | Posted January 12, 2014 | 2:10 PM

With much of the developed world hobbling under the burden of massive public debt, The Economist couldn't resist the opportunity to encourage a global, multi-trillion-dollar "new wave of privatizations, this time centered on property." Unsatisfied with earlier waves of privatization, which focused on the banking sector, transport, telecoms,...

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Philippines in 2014: Emerging Economies with Contentious Leadership

(1) Comments | Posted January 3, 2014 | 5:52 PM

Across a number of emerging markets, the coming year will mark a consequential political transition. This could ultimately prove much more important that the U.S. Federal Reserve's scheduled tapering in early 2014, which is expected to precipitated further capital outflow from emerging markets towards center-economies. After all, a relatively steady...

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