Southeast Asian Politics


1:10 PM – 2:50 PM

9/12, 9/19, 9/26, 10/3, 10/10, 10/17, 10/24, 10/31

What is President Duterte of the Philippines doing, and why? Why was there another military coup in Thailand? Why do Burmese Buddhists react so violently to Muslim Rohingyas? Why is China so aggressive in seeking control of the South China Sea? We attempt to answer these questions and others while explaining the politics governing the 11 South East Asia countries extending from Myanmar to Timor- Leste. Brief histories are included but emphasis is on the post-independence period.  This exploration should further an understanding of the area and enhance any anticipated visit.


8 sessions starting Tuesday, Sept. 12 at 1:10 PM

Syllabus: Southeast Asian Politics
Paul Sarno,

  • Class I: Introduction                 
  • Geography, Names of the 11 countries, Present leadership and government, Trade and Economic statistics
  • Class 2:  The South China Sea dispute with China
  • Classes 3-8: The Politics of the Individual Countries
  • Class 3: Viet Nam and Laos
  • Class 4: Thailand and Cambodia
  • Class 5: Myanmar/Burma and Philippines
  • Class 6: Indonesia and Singapore
  • Class 7: Malaysia and Brunei
  • Class 8: Timor Leste

Facilitator: Paul Sarno

Paul Sarno is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and the Columbia Law School.  He has been engaged in a systematic effort to better understand Southeast Asian countries, through 14 visits since 1971 (the last to Thailand in Nov. 2016) and memberships in the Asia Society and the Burma Study Group.  Paul has taught about this region at LLI and in Florida for 14 years.