The Perils and Promises of Democracies in Southeast Asia in the aftermath of Jan 6th US Insurrection

The attack on the US Capital on January 6, 2021 on the day of the electoral college vote that would establish Joe Biden as president sent shockwaves around the world. While it was no question that the Trump presidency had for four years tested the strength of the US democratic institutions, the perilous brush with violent insurrection left many people around the world, including in Southeast Asia, questioning the strength of their own democracies against the forces of right wing populism, the rise in authoritarianism, and increasing nativism. This panel addresses the question of how the January 6th event has been understood within five different Southeast Asian countries with variable levels of democracy: Myanmar, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, and the Philippines. Did the event serve as a warning or was it dismissed? Did it spur the advocates of democracy to fight harder or did it encourage supporters of authoritarianism to clamp down harder on protestors?

Panelists: Lisandro Claudio, University of California, Berkeley; Duncan McCargo, NIAS, University of Copenhagen; Caroline Hughes, University of Notre Dame; Bridget Welsh, University of Nottingham Asia Research Institute Malaysia; Seinenu Thein-Lemelson, University of California, Los Angeles

Chair: Sophal Ear, Occidental College

Organizers: Eve Zucker, Yale University, Center for Khmer Studies and NYSEAN; Duncan McCargo, NIAS, University of Copenhagen and NYSEAN

The event is sponsored by the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies, New York Southeast Asian Network, and the Southeast Asian Student Initiative (SEASI), Columbia SIPA
Recorded: 26 February 2021