The collapse of TPP and the movement of the EU toward autonomy in light of Brexit are perhaps somewhat known but there have also been some interesting developments in Asia. While the Philippine's Duterte has made the news for cursing Obama and cozying up to Beijing there are other stories that point to the American 'Pivot' being in jeopardy.
In fact the election of Trump may lead to not only its collapse but something of a regional reaction.
The most recent story involving Thailand is in regard to the death of its king and how his long reign marks the end of an era.
But earlier this summer there was another story that's been slowly developing. A longtime US ally, Bangkok is beginning to tentatively look to China for the purchase of advanced weapons systems, submarines no less. This would have sent shockwaves through the Pentagon and State Department.
The Diplomat piece is interesting. As always it's very biased and whitewashes US machinations but it is nevertheless informative.
Thailand, long a US proxy in Indochina has been wracked by instability. The Shinawatra regime has been a source of American gain and grief. With deep ties to both Wall Street and Anglo-American institutions the Thai ruling elite and figures like Shinawatra have long been 'propped up' by the American Deep State. Even after Shinawatra's ouster he has continued to exert a great deal of influence, first through his sister and after she was removed through other forces in Thai society. The military which has solid ties to the Pentagon seems frustrated and the ruling junta is trying to broaden its horizon. This move has to be particularly disturbing as it limits what Washington can do.
In part (it would seem) the Thai leaders and elements of the junta are perhaps insulted, much in the same way Duterte of the Philippines has been. Weary of the schemes, backstabbing and hypocrisy they are (perhaps) beginning to forge a path of independence.
Thailand has greatly benefited from Washington's largesse but at the same time has suffered a great deal of internal grief and instability. A staging ground for airstrikes and operations during the Vietnam War, Thailand has also (at US behest) facilitated the Golden Triangle drug trade and for many years harboured (again at US behest) the late Pol Pot and the remnants of the Khmer Rouge. And this is only the beginning. There's a long sordid history with the remnants of the Kuomintang which extends from their defeat at the hands of Mao Zedong all the way into the Vietnam era. At that point the task was taken up by the Hmong and other elements.
Why would Bangkok look to China? Why now? They are assessing the reality and progress of the American Pivot and like many other small nations they want (as much as possible) to play both sides. They would rather assuage both the great powers than antagonise them but they will find as the tension increases this will be harder to do.
Another point that is probably irritating to the military junta is the presence of Turkic Grey Wolves in Thailand and their prosecution of the 2015 Bangkok bombing which killed 20 civilians. This was believed to be a result of their deportation of Uighurs and it also led to an attack on the Thai consulate in Istanbul.
This ironically brings a Southeast Asian nation into a larger Eurasian struggle and provides an opening to find common cause with Beijing which had been putting a lot of pressure on Bangkok.
Thus far I have not been able to ascertain why the Uighurs were in Thailand to begin with but as Thailand is the hub for people escaping China it's possible they're using some of the same underground pathways utilised by North Koreans trying to get to the South. Unable to cross the DMZ they must cross China and usually end up in Thailand and from there they can get to South Korea. As far as the Uighurs go, that route may prove easier than trying to exit China into Central Asia where they are often not wanted. That said, it would seem some are passing into Afghanistan and after traversing Pakistan and India they make their way to Thailand or Malaysia. And it is from there they hope to access Turkey itself. It's a long and arduous road. For some the southern road would prove difficult because like North Koreans on the run, they stick out and must remain hidden. I'm not sure if they have the same networks Christians are employing to smuggle North Koreans. It's expensive and I would imagine many of the Uighurs are fleeing without aid or support.
These attacks are believed to have been the work of the Grey Wolves, the shadowy fascist paramilitary network that has long had ties to the US Deep State and has served as a proxy in the larger Turkic world. Bitterness over what can only be called terrorist acts on its soil may have proven too much for the junta and out of resentment they have decided to quit trusting in the US and its proxies.
A Thai pivot to Beijing would severely retard US aspirations for the region and could increase tensions in Indochina at a moment the US is trying to rally support for an anti-Beijing coalition.