Category Archives: International Affairs

SAM BATEMAN. South China Sea Encounters

Australian and Chinese warships recently had what has been called a robust but polite encounter in the South China Sea. This was always likely and the Australian Government has been correct in not over-reacting. Rather than unnecessarily confronting China, Australia … Continue reading

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LINDSAY MURDOCH. Former Islamic cleric could be Malaysia’s kingmaker.

Unlikely election alliance between PAS and UMNO could result in the country taking a stronger Islamic direction.

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RICHARD BUTLER. Admiral Harris is not coming: does it matter?

The decision by incoming US Secretary of State Pompeo, to withdraw the nomination of Admiral Harry Harris as US Ambassador to Australia, is something within his gift. Julie Bishop and Malcolm Turnbull had fervently welcomed the proposed appointment. Presumably she … Continue reading

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MACK WILLIAMS. North Korea – it’s summit time!

The pace of developments on the  Korean peninsular in the past month or so has been breathtaking matched by  the plethora of pundits who have sought to interpret what it all means and where we may be headed. Not surprisingly … Continue reading

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ELIZA BERLAGE. Our flailing aid created a Pacific problem.

The report by Fairfax’s David Wroe of a potential Chinese military presence on Vanuatu sent alarm bells ringing for many. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said a Chinese military base in the region would be ‘of great concern’ and Australian diplomats … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE Anzacs fought and died at Gallipoli for Britain, not Australia

Conservatives and militarists want us to cling to a disastrous imperial war.  Such a war could never be ‘nation building’ as the apologists for empire suggest. It was quite the reverse.The Anzac myth makers encourage us to focus on how … Continue reading

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HENRY REYNOLDS. Remembrance Day in New York: Anzac Day in Tasmania.

I was in New York during May last year. At the end of the month, there was a public holiday. It was their Remembrance Day. Not that much happened in New York. There were no flags, no marches or processions. … Continue reading

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DAVID JAMES. The big, bad business of America’s war industry.

The spread of militarism does not just involve creating the specific apparatus of war. As the Western allies flirt with starting World War III in Syria, it is worth examining some of the financial and business dynamics behind the United … Continue reading

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MICHAEL PASCOE. The reality of our ‘scary’ China confrontation.

Fresh on the heels of the Chinese invasion of Vanuatu that wasn’t, febrile minds have been seized by the headline-grabbing story of a Chinese navy “confrontation” with the Royal Australian Navy. The Prime Minister was quickly ready in London to assert Australia’s right … Continue reading

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ERIC WALSH. Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un.

The highly- important upcoming meeting between North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un and America’s Donald Trump  could hopefully  settle one of the world’s red-hot trouble spots.

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ALISON BROINOWSKI. War on demand

The UK and the US moved closer this week to enabling their governments to bypass legal and  democratic processes in committing forces to war, virtually anywhere, at any time and continuously. Australian politicians and the mainstream media seem to assume … Continue reading

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RAMESH THAKUR. ‘We know where your kids live’ – John Bolton to OPCW DG José Bustani, March 2002

In justifying her decision to commit the UK to joining the US and France in the unilateral air strikes on Syria on 14 April, PM Theresa May said in Parliament on 16 April that a requirement for UN authorisation would … Continue reading

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RAMESH THAKUR. Syria a symptom of a broken international order

Last Saturday US, British and French forces bombed three chemical weapons facilities in Damascus in retaliation for the alleged use of chemical weapons by Syrian forces in Douma on 6–8 April that killed around 70 people.

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SCOTT BURCHILL. What The West Really Thinks About Chemical Weapons Attacks.

How genuine is the West’s concern about the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria last week? Did they constitute a “line in the sand”, a crime so egregious that military strikes by Washington, London and Paris were necessary and … Continue reading

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ROBERT FISK. The search for truth in the rubble of Douma – and one doctor’s doubts over the chemical attack

This is the story of a town called Douma, a ravaged, stinking place of smashed apartment blocks – and of an underground clinic whose images of suffering allowed three of the Western world’s most powerful nations to bomb Syria last week. … Continue reading

Posted in International Affairs, Media | 6 Comments

ANDREW FARRAN. Stalemate and Lawlessness over Syria.

On ABC News Radio (Monday 16th April) Paul Barrett, a former Deputy Secretary of DFAT and former Secretary of the Department of Defence was asked in an interview whether the military actions over the past weekend in Syria by the … Continue reading

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RICHARD BUTLER. Hypocrisy and Sanctimony: a Poisonous Brew.

The arguments advanced to justify the illegal US/French/UK attack upon Syrian CW related facilities incorporated buckets of sanctimony and numbing hypocrisy. There has been no serious discussion of the justification given by the three; because it was known to be … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, International Affairs | 2 Comments

MORTON HALPERIN, PETER HAYES, LEON SIGAL. Options for denuclearising the Korean peninsular

A critically important part of assembling the Korean peninsula-wide denuclearization jigsaw puzzle is the institutional and legal form of North Korean commitments on the one hand, and the nuclear negative security assurances by the NPT-Nuclear Weapons States (NWSs), especially the … Continue reading

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RAMESH THAKUR. Was DT Mouse-Trapped Into Attacking Syria?

Those of us of a certain age will remember the phrase ‘DTs’, short for delirium tremens: a rapid onset of confusion caused by an alcoholic’s immediate abstinence. Is the world suffering from a different set of DTs: the rapid-fire onset … Continue reading

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DAN MCGARRY. Want to lead in the Pacific? Try listening first

The average Australian’s conception of Pacific island nations is so limited it makes some of us wonder if they even want to understand. Our voices—and our reality—have been pointedly and repeatedly ignored in the media, and in the corridors of … Continue reading

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HAMISH MCDONALD. Downer leaps into British political fray with gratuitous advice

There was a time, back in the days of childhood, when everything that was modern and power about Britain seemed to begin with a “V”: Vanguard and Vauxhall cars, Vickers Viscount aircraft, the Victor, Vulcan and Valiant bombers…Alexander Downer wants … Continue reading

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JOCELYN CHEY. China Watchers Are Not China Stooges.

Australia needs informed and balanced study and reporting on China more than ever before. Informed opinion depends on the ability to see both sides of the picture and to avoid over-simplification. 

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SCOTT BURCHILL. The attack on Syria

There are seven points to consider after the US, UK and French attacks on Syria last week.

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MACK WILLIAMS. Vanuatu : Chinese Cargo Cult ?

Fairfax Media’s awakened interest in the South Pacific would have been only too welcome if it had not been sparked by a leak from the all too familiar ‘senior defence sources’ in Canberra and Washington which so distorted the scene.  

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MICHAEL O’KEEFE. Response to rumours of a Chinese military base in Vanuatu speak volumes about Australian foreign policy

Rumour has it that Vanuatu has agreed to a Chinese request to establish a military base. The substance of this rumour is highly speculative at the least and disingenuous at most. Regardless of the truth, the fact that it raises … Continue reading

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RAMESH THAKUR. Substituting question marks for exclamation marks

‘Fake news’ seems unavoidably associated with Donald Trump. He insists on casting himself as the victim of fake news even as any resemblance between his compulsive tweeting and facts seems largely coincidental. Still, it seems a pity that the rumours … Continue reading

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CAVAN HOGUE. Morals, slogans and PR hype

Australian politicians and media have been beating their hairy chests accusing and warning China and Russia over their failings. One is reminded of the famous  thundering headline in The Launceston Examiner ‘We warn the Tzar of Russia’ . The question … Continue reading

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RAMESH THAKUR. All bets off on the Korea summit outcome.

CANBERRA – The pieces of the jigsaw are falling into place on the Korean Peninsula. But the overall picture — a denuclearized North Korea, a nuclear-weapon-free zone for all of Northeast Asia and/or a U.S. withdrawal from East Asia — remains … Continue reading

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JOHN TULLOH: Be careful what you say about Malaysia.

Perhaps it is time for DFAT to issue a travel advisory about Malaysia, namely be very careful what you say about the country. Uttering anything amounting to ‘fake news’ is now a criminal offence. Offenders can be fined up to … Continue reading

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MAX HAYTON. Inexperience in government brings problems for smiling Prime Minister.

Inexperience, arrogance or ignorance among members of the administration are causing problems for the New Zealand government of Jacinda Ardern.  After nine years in opposition, too few members of Ardern’s cabinet have previous experience as ministers and some prefer to … Continue reading

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