SINGAPORE (July 22): With major elections in India, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines over, talks resuming between North Korea and the US, President Donald Trump calling off a military strike against Iran at the last minute, and China and the US negotiating again on their trade disputes, it might seem that political risks are contained. But this is a complacent view. As we outline below, there are too many political hot spots around the world where there are rising risks of some kind of dislocation that will affect Southeast Asia. Thus, the region needs to be prepared for a lot of turbulence in coming months and should take proactive measures to support their economies as well as bolster their defence and diplomatic capacities.

The US heads early into election mode

There are 16 months to go before Americans actually vote for a president and new Congress. The political class is already campaigning, however, with Trump in particular focused like a laser on consolidating his political base. The tinge of nastiness that has hung over politics in the US will get worse, as recent controversies such as Trump’s attacks on non-white opposition politicians show. This may seem far remote from us in the region but, unfortunately, there are also many ways in which this nastiness could hurt our region:

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