Category Archives: International Affairs

ROBERTO SAVIANO. The migrant caravan: made in USA.

The migrant caravan that left Honduras and headed north toward the US last October is the largest flight from drug trafficking in history. Though the phenomenon of Central American caravans isn’t new, never before have thousands of people decided to … Continue reading

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PETER O’HARA. My Lunch with French Secret Service Agents Who Sank Rainbow Warrior.

Dateline: 1986 in the remote South Pacific. For thirty years French ‘atomic bombs’ were exploded in atoll islands of the Tuamotus archipelago in French Polynesia. I was Qantas area manager based in the capital Papeete. A dream job some would … Continue reading

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MOTOKO RICH. ‘We Are Koreans’: Diaspora in Japan Looks to Trump-Kim Summit With Hope (New York Times).

 Every time Jiro Oshima wants to see his siblings, he must travel to North Korea.

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DAVID HUTT, PHNOM PENH. Vietnam’s new view of an old war (Asia Times).

Hanoi marked the 40th anniversary of its bloody 1979 border war with China with unprecedented candor, a revisionist reflection of declining contemporary ties

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RAMESH THAKUR. Thinking aloud: Imagine if the reservations mania extended to the selection of Team India (The Times of India).

In 1990 British politician Norman Tebbit proclaimed his cricket loyalty test: In a match between England and their country of origin, whom did immigrants support? Alas, like most Indians in Australia and England, I would comprehensively fail the Tebbit test.

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MACK WILLIAMS. The Second Trump:Kim Summit – Just another step along the way?

Amid all the media speculation feeding off Trump’s own optimistic commentary and resolute scepticism of many long term Korea watchers there are some recent glimmers of very limited progress emerging from the Hanoi Summit. After a late start, the lead … Continue reading

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NOEL TURNBULL. Alarmed with due cause.

As Australia is heading for the mother of fear campaigns for the next election it is significant that in the USA – home of fear, loathing and negative campaigns – voters are becoming alarmed about the most fundamental threat (other … Continue reading

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RAMESH THAKUR. Reasons for cautious optimism in Hanoi (The Japan Times).

Americans seem to be afflicted by a curious historical amnesia. The facts are indisputable. The number of non-nuclear countries to have been attacked and invaded by the United States since 1945 is legion. Conversely, not one country with the bomb … Continue reading

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MEKERE MORAUTA. Australia Should Come Clean on Intentions Behind Paladin Contract.

The money spent by Australia on Manus is not aid, In fact it disadvantaging PNG because it’s helping corruption. Public Statement by Rt Hon Sir Mekere Morauta, former Prime Minister and Member for Moresby North-West Port Moresby, 19 February 2019

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PEPE ESCOBAR. US elites remain incapable of understanding China

A new report on US policy toward China launched by the Asia Society in New York is another example of how supposedly bipartisan US intellectual elites, instead of offering impartial advice, do little more than parrot Washington’s talking points, failing … Continue reading

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ERIK PAUL. Resurgent racism in Australia’s foreign policy.

Australia’s banning Huawei points to a resurgent racism in foreign relations. Australian foreign policy should disengage from the military alliance with the US and adopt a more sustainable economy and independent foreign policy. 

Posted in Asia | 6 Comments

JOHN TULLOH. The ties that bind – the US and Saudi Arabia.

If an international criminal like ‘El Chapo’, the Mexican drug baron, can be tried (and convicted) in the US within two years of falling into American hands, why can’t the surviving alleged perpetrators of the 9/11 atrocity? Why is it … Continue reading

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ANDREW FARRAN. The UK will make Brexit on 29th March

The UK will make Brexit on 29th March if the government is to avoid a huge humiliation and unforgivable damage to its economy, not to mention the nation’s future diplomatic standing and credibility. This appears to have got through to … Continue reading

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HENRY REYNOLDS. The Debate About Anzus and the Defence of Taiwan.

 Last week Pearls and Irritations printed spirited contributions by Hugh White and Cavan Hogue about the future of Anzus and the American Alliance. They were both responding to an earlier paper in The Strategist, the in- house journal of the … Continue reading

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PATRICK JORY. Explaining a Thai royal’s aborted electoral debut (East Asia Forum).

On 8 February 2019, Thai Raksa Chart (a Thai political party aligned with exiled, former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra) made the bombshell announcement that it was nominating King Vajiralongkorn’s elder sister, Ubolratana, as its candidate for prime minister. Late that … Continue reading

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EKA KURNIAWAN. Indonesia’s next election is in April. The Islamists have already won. (New York Times 14.2.2019)

When Joko Widodo, the incumbent presidentof Indonesia, last year chose Ma’ruf Amin as his running mate for the general election this April, it became clear that Indonesian politics is now backed into a corner. Mr. Ma’ruf is an Islamic cleric and scholar, … Continue reading

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MOBO GAO. The Chinese United Front Strategy: Its History and Present.

Amidst the fear of political interference of the Chinese government there is often a reference to one organ of the Chinese State, i.e., the United Front (UF). In some Australian news stories about the China, UF is sometimes dangled to … Continue reading

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ANDREW FARRAN. Brexit: Game Plan upended?

As the deadline of 29th March approaches what could be the UK Prime Minister’s game plan to get her deal across the line and avoid the chaos and disruption that a crashing out Brexit would entail? She would want to avoid … Continue reading

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CAVAN HOGUE. Comment on Hugh White’s response to Paul Dibb on ANZUS and Taiwan.

Hugh White has made an effective rebuttal of Paul Dibb’s claim that we should join the US if China takes military action against Taiwan. It is important to stress that ANZUS does not require us to join with the USA … Continue reading

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DIANNE HERIOT. New Zealand and Federation. (Parliamentary Library Flag Post 25.1.2019)

While New Zealand participated in the Australasian Federation Conference convened in Melbourne in 1890, it had little real enthusiasm for the prospect of federating with the Australian colonies. As Sir John Hall, then Premier of New Zealand and one of two New Zealand delegates … Continue reading

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HUGH WHITE. The US shouldn’t go to war with China over Taiwan—and nor should Australia (ASPI: THE STRATEGIST, 13 Feb 2019)

Paul Dibb, in his recent Strategist post, writes that America’s strategic position in Asia would be fatally undermined if it didn’t go to war with China if China attacked Taiwan, and that Australia’s alliance with America would be fatally undermined if we didn’t … Continue reading

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LINDSAY HUGHES. Saudi Arabia’s Ballistic Missile Programme: The Tip of the Iceberg.

It was recently reported that Saudi Arabia could be working towards developing a nuclear-capable ballistic missile programme. The fact that the news came as a surprise was, arguably, the biggest surprise of all. Saudi Arabia had made it clear, under Crown Prince … Continue reading

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RAMESH THAKUR. Canada, China, the US and the Rule of Law – A Postscript

It will be recalled that on 1 December, Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Huwaei Technologies, was arrested at Vancouver airport by Canadian authorities at the request of US prosecutors seeking her extradition to face charges of breaching sanctions imposed … Continue reading

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CHRISTIAN SORACE. From the Outside Looking In: A Response to John Garnaut’s Primer on Ideology (Made in China, 7.2.2019)

An introduction by Mobo Gao, Chair of Chinese Studies, Department of Asian Studies, University of Adelaide. The article below is a response by Christian Solace, an American academic, to a speech given at an internal Australian government seminar in August 2017 … Continue reading

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SHEILA A. SMITH. US policy in Asia heads from bad to worse.

If the past year is any indication of the year ahead, US policy in Asia will be erratic and self-serving. The beginnings of an Indo-Pacific strategy notwithstanding, the Trump administration continues to work out its issues with countries in the region bilaterally … Continue reading

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SANDRA MORRISON, INGRID HUYGENS. Explainer: the significance of the Treaty of Waitangi (The Conversation).

The Treaty of Waitangi is New Zealand’s foundation document. On February 6, 1840, the treaty was signed by representatives of the British Crown and Māori chiefs who acted on behalf of their hapū (sub-tribes). Māori are indigenous to New Zealand, … Continue reading

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JOSEPH A. CAMILLERI. Just Peace: A timely roadmap for Australia or impossible dream? – Part 2

If ‘just peace’ requires peacemaking and peacebuilding to be sensitive to the cries of the poor and the cries of the Earth, how relevant is it to Australia’s present circumstances? If what is proposed is a holistic approach to the … Continue reading

Posted in Environment and climate, Indigenous affairs, International Affairs | 1 Comment

ANTHONY PUN. A relapse of China panic.

Three media reports in the Sydney Morning Herald could be seen as a “Relapse of the China Panic” since it went into remission last December.  It came in a period where Chinese Australians celebrate the Lunar New Year and indeed … Continue reading

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MACK WILLIAMS : Chinese view of Second Trump:Kim Summit

Given the key role which President Xi has played in the negotiating process between President Trump and Chairman Kim a recent analysis in the Global Times (published by the People’s Daily) provides some valuable Chinese insights into the prospects for … Continue reading

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JOSEPH A. CAMILLERI. Just Peace: The only antidote to the age of violence – Part 1

Endemic violence, the hallmark of the last hundred years, shows no sign of abating. The death toll resulting from war in the 20th century is 187 million and probably higher. The number of armed conflicts in the world has risen … Continue reading

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