A supporter holds up a sign in Manchester, New Hampshire, US, on 20 January 2024. (/Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

The US has never been so divided

Academic Han Dongping notes that the 2024 US presidential election will likely be a rematch between current President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump. One thing for certain is that if Trump is re-elected, this will surely exacerbate the divide between "red" and "blue" America.
Presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto reacts while dancing as he claims victory after unofficial vote counts during an event to watch the results of the general election in Jakarta, Indonesia, on 14 February 2024. (Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters)

What Prabowo’s victory could mean for Indonesia-China relations

Based on current vote counts, Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto is set to clinch the Indonesian presidency after two previous losses against incumbent President Jokowi. Observers believe that Prabowo is riding on the popularity of Jokowi and could continue on the diplomatic path of non-alignment set out by the latter. Lianhe Zaobao associate editor Han Yong Hong takes a look at what Prabowo’s victory could mean for Indonesia-China relations.
Members of Border Angels and migrants demonstrate at the US-Mexico border as part of International Migrants Day in Playas de Tijuana, Baja California State, Mexico, on 18 December 2023. (Guillermo Arias/AFP)

Populism and anti-immigration fervour surges in the West

Taiwanese commentator Chen Kuohsiang notes that populist fervour and anti-immigration sentiments in the US and Europe embolden each other and form a vicious circle, dominating major political issues. This has led to the potential political comeback of former US President Donald Trump and the rise of opposition parties in Europe.
Migrants look for a way past concertina wire after crossing the US-Mexico border through the Rio Grande River into El Paso, Texas, seen from Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua state, Mexico, on 8 February 2024. (Justin Hamel/Bloomberg)

The fight over what US immigration policy should look like

Commentator He Qinglian notes that Operation Lone Star launched by Texas governor Greg Abbott — who has refused to remove the wire fence at the Mexico border — is a signal to the Biden administration and also the Supreme Court about what the people truly desire in terms of immigration policy.
A supporter of Republican presidential candidate and former US President Donald Trump holds a sign outside Forrest Fire BBQ restaurant ahead of a campaign event of Republican presidential candidate and former US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley in Hilton Head, South Carolina, US, on 1 February 2024. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)

China does not want Donald Trump to come back

Commentator Jin Jian Guo notes that among those running to be the next US president, former President Donald Trump is China’s least favoured to enter the White House, as he is likely to bring back the harsh measures he imposed against China during his previous term.
Stickers at a polling station in Rock Hill, South Carolina, US, on 3 February 2024. Democrats are holding their primary on February 3, and while Biden is expected to win, he is using the race as a chance to quiet his critics and demonstrate strength among key voter groups. (Grant Baldwin/Bloomberg)

2024 US election: A face-off between common sense and counterintuition

US-based economist He Qinglian notes that with former US President Donald Trump likely to be the Republican candidate in the next US presidential elections, perhaps it is worth taking another look at who his supporters are, as well as the effects of the Democratic policies of the last four years.
Supporters of Islami Andolan Bangladesh party attend a protest rally demanding to abolish what they call a "dummy election" and to reorganise a free and fair election under the caretaker government, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on 9 January 2024. (Mohammad Ponir Hossain/Reuters)

China and India unfazed by Bangladesh's one-sided elections

Bangladesh’s ruling government led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was easily returned to power on 7 January. While the US has often criticised Bangladesh's elections as not being free and fair, its close neighbours China and India seem prepared to focus on Bangladesh’s strategic value in increasing their regional influence.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un looks on as a rocket carrying a spy satellite Malligyong-1 is launched, as North Korean government claims, in a location given as North Gyeongsang province, North Korea in this handout picture obtained by Reuters on 21 November 2023. (KCNA via Reuters)

The world will see a more provocative North Korea

Academic Kang Jun-young examines the recent rhetoric by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, especially comments relating to the prospect of nuclear war. How likely is that, and how will continuing US-China tensions and upheavals in this year of elections around the world affect the stability of the Korean peninsula?
Demonstrators take part in a march in support of Palestinians in Boston, Massachusetts, US, on 17 December 2023. (Joseph Prezioso/AFP)

How Israel-Hamas war has revived debate on the clash of civilisations

Both Hamas and Israel have framed their war over Palestinian national independence as religious and civilisational, says academic Ma Haiyun. This seems to fit into Samuel Huntington’s “clash of civilisations” theory, even though to define Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a cultural fault line war is historically, religiously and intellectually untrue. Such rhetoric is dangerous, especially when talk of religious wars is turning into reality, and the US’s “Israel first” policy is undermining US diplomacy, soft power, reputation, and most importantly, international institutions such as the UN that the US has sustained after World War II.