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Richard Javad Heydarian
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Richard J. Heydarian teaches political science at De La Salle University, and has been a consultant/policy adviser to a number of local and international institutions. As an expert on current and international affairs, he has written for or/and interviewed by ABC, Agence France Presse, Aljazeera English, Bloomberg, BBC, CNN, Channel News Asia, Foreign Affairs, USA Today, Voice of America, The Straits Times, The National Interest, The Nation, Reuters, The Financial Times, The Diplomat, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, South China Morning Post, NPR , among many other leading 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 Asia's New Battlefield: US, China and the Struggle for Western Pacific State.

His areas of specialization are South China Sea disputes, Southeast Asian/Philippines current affairs, emerging markets, and Middle East politics. He can be reached at

Entries by Richard Javad Heydarian

Philippines' Labor Export Policy in the Middle East: Time for a Big Rethink

(38) Comments | Posted January 9, 2016 | 2:30 PM


What started as a supposedly standard execution of (medieval-style) Saudi judicial system quickly morphed into a regional conflagration, when Riyadh decided to execute a prominent Shia cleric, Nimr al-Nimr. What (predictably) followed was massive protests by members of the Shia sect...

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The End of China's 'Peaceful Rise'?

(18) Comments | Posted December 30, 2015 | 4:13 AM

For decades, the world has been debating whether China's rise will be peaceful or threatening, or perhaps a combination of both. This is a relevant discourse, precisely because China's rise is perhaps the question of the century. "It's not possible to pretend that [China] is just another big player," Singapore's...

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Beauty Queens and Geopolitics: Debating American Bases in the Philippines

(0) Comments | Posted December 24, 2015 | 10:41 AM


The 2015 Miss Universe contest will perhaps go down as the franchise' most memorable, if not controversial, edition, mainly thanks to Steve Harvey's (the event host) gargantuan mix-up of the eventual winner's announcement. Donald Trump, who no...

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Philippines' Black Swan Elections: The New Normal in Democratic Politics

(0) Comments | Posted December 14, 2015 | 2:58 AM


In his bestselling book, The Black Swan (2007), Nassim N. Taleb sought to demystify the highly unpredictable, extremely rare events that have massive impact, so much so that they reorder the world as we know it beyond the grasp of conventional wisdom....

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Philippines' APEC Fever: Is it Worth it?

(2) Comments | Posted November 16, 2015 | 4:56 AM


In the coming days, the Philippines will be in the global spotlight. It will play host to one of the world's most important gatherings, the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting -- a prestigious hobnob comparable with the G20 and G7 summits.

Though the

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Philippines vs. China: International Law or Rule of the Jungle?

(49) Comments | Posted October 30, 2015 | 9:22 PM

Earlier this month, many Filipinos, who are sick and tired of chronic corruption, were annoyed by the United Nations' (UN) decision to slam the Filipino government's detention of former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, one of Philippines' most unpopular politicians in history.

The UN High Commission on Human Rights Working...

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The Philippines and America: A Tale of Two (Troubled) Democracies

(14) Comments | Posted October 25, 2015 | 12:14 AM


"Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time," argued Britain's legendary prime minister, Winston Churchill. The implosion of the Soviet...

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Philippines' Forgotten Revolution: General Luna and the Quest for Independence

(31) Comments | Posted September 26, 2015 | 1:31 AM


Writing for Foreign Affairs in 1968, Filipino national hero Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino lamented: "Almost half a century of American rule bequeathed to the Asian Filipino a trauma by making him uncomfortably American in outlook, values and tastes..." No wonder then, in...

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Philippines' Presidential Race: Hard Choices

(0) Comments | Posted September 12, 2015 | 1:11 PM


"I would rather have a country run like hell by Filipinos than a country run like heaven by the Americans, because however bad a Filipino government might be, we can always change it," Philippine Commonwealth President Manuel Quezon once said. Back...

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Philippines and Japan: An Alliance Beyond History

(6) Comments | Posted August 23, 2015 | 9:53 PM

The 70th anniversary of the end of Second World War has transformed into a critical juncture for Asia, particularly in Northeast Asia where Japan, China and the Korean Peninsula still grapple with a traumatic past. Despite the region's remarkable economic success in the post-war period, anchored by deepening regional integration...

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Philippines' Competition Conundrum: A Nation of Oligopolies, Dynasties and Autocratic Nostalgia

(7) Comments | Posted August 19, 2015 | 11:45 PM


As Benigno "NoyNoy" Aquino entered his final year in office, the question of how to assess his legacy has gained greater salience. Both his opponents and supporters have powerful arguments to present.

Among sympathizers, Aquino has been hailed for, among other things,...

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China and the Philippines: Asia's Most Toxic Relationship

(25) Comments | Posted August 17, 2015 | 12:25 PM


In the West, it is often said that Asians are a different bunch, that they conduct diplomacy in a more subtle fashion -- disguising their differences under the veil of cultural solidarity and burgeoning economic ties. I vividly recall the 'guidelines'...

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Philippines' Survey Republic: Popularity and the Making of Presidents

(40) Comments | Posted August 9, 2015 | 9:03 PM


Though the formal campaign season is yet to kick off, the Philippines is already gripped by an election fever. By and large, the overall political atmosphere is beaming with optimism and hope; it is festive and lively rather than anxious and...

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Aquino's Dilemma and the Philippines' Fate: The Question of Succession

(28) Comments | Posted August 1, 2015 | 4:43 PM

In his magnum opus War and Peace (1869), Russian literary genius Leo Tolstoy eloquently underplayed the impact of singular leaders (think of Napoleon Bonaparte) on the dialectical flow of history. Preempting the social scientists of the 20th century, he brilliantly discussed the...
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Philippines' Moralpolitik: Good Governance and Aquino's Legacy

(49) Comments | Posted July 27, 2015 | 11:58 AM


Genuine political reform is no easy feat, especially in a country like the Philippines, which has been dominated by a fairly coherent oligarchy for much of recent history. Since many powerful forces have a stake in preserving the status...

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The Philippines vs. China: The Real Fight in the South China Sea

(105) Comments | Posted July 17, 2015 | 6:59 AM


Though China has effectively boycotted the arbitration proceedings at The Hague, the Arbitral Tribunal has (once again) given Beijing the opportunity to respond to Manila's claims and arguments. From the Philippines' voluminous memorial, submitted in March...

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China vs. the Philippines: Will International Law Resolve South China Sea Disputes?

(0) Comments | Posted July 9, 2015 | 11:46 PM


Will the 21st-century global order be led primarily by might and military muscle or rights and norms? We may get an answer in the near future.

The Philippines' quest for peacefully resolving territorial disputes in the South China Sea has entered a...

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Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank: China's Trojan Horse?

(3) Comments | Posted July 2, 2015 | 6:11 PM


The struggle for hegemony in Asia has entered a critical phase.

China has stepped closer to claiming full-fledged economic leadership in Asia by officially launching the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), which has been the centerpiece of the Xi administration's...

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Chinese-Filipino Community's Dilemma: The Philippines, China, and the South China Sea Disputes

(154) Comments | Posted June 26, 2015 | 6:00 AM


At its very core, the Philippines is an idea, representing a pluralistic land with hospitable people, who have always welcomed persecuted people from around the world. It is an all-embracing society that has been open to peoples from around the world.


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Time for China and the Philippines to Talk: Resolving the South China Sea Conundrum

(25) Comments | Posted June 18, 2015 | 10:08 AM


Among American foreign policy hawks, President Ronald Reagan has been continuously portrayed as the tough, principled leader, who stood up to an "evil empire" (Soviet Union) and facilitated its demise by employing a combination of uncompromising diplomacy and rapid military buildup. One...

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