Category Archives: International Affairs

WANNING SUN. Blind Spots in Australia’s Soft Power Strategies.

Blessed with an enviable healthy and relaxed lifestyle, beautiful landscape, and clean environment, Australia has rich soft power assets and resources. Yet, more than ever before, Australia faces unprecedented challenges in its soft power efforts. The China factor cannot be … Continue reading

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DUNCAN GRAHAM. Robbing Roads To Keep Rice Cheap.

Unlike their southern neighbours, Indonesians know when they’ll go to the polls – 17 April 2019. That Wednesday will be a public holiday to encourage a big turn out.  Voting is not compulsory. In the 2014 election 135 million electors … Continue reading

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RICHARD BUTLER. John Bolton’s speech: Hostility, misrepresentations, US self-regard.

Bolton’s authorized major speech on the International Criminal Court misrepresented it, expressed deep hostility to it, but was revealing of just how deeply entrenched in US foreign policy is the notion of US exceptionalism, under which it and Israel are … Continue reading

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MELISSA PARKE. Conflict in Yemen

‘I don’t want to live any more’ said the man standing in the rubble of his destroyed home. His teenage daughter beside him burst into tears and the younger daughter looked up at him, not understanding. The airstrike, in the … Continue reading

Posted in International Affairs, Politics | 4 Comments

JOSEPH NYE. The two sides of American exceptionalism (Project Syndicate, 5.09.18)

In July, I joined 43 other scholars of international relations in paying for a newspaper advertisement arguing that the US should preserve the current international order. The institutions that make up this order have contributed to “unprecedented levels of prosperity … Continue reading

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GEOFF RABY. Prometheus bound: How China’s power is constrained

The more Australia positions itself as if there is only a binary choice between US or Chinese hegemonic influence in the region, the more likely conflict becomes.

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PETER JANSSEN. Wealth gap remains under Thai junta rule.

PM Prayut Chan-ocha vowed to tackle the kingdom’s politicized income inequality but has failed to pass a redistributive land tax that would hit elite holdings

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ISHAAN THAROOR. The White House’s new attack on the international system.

In his first major policy address since joining the White House in April, national security adviser John Bolton offered a particularly aggressive demonstration of President Trump’s “America First” agenda. He threatened the International Criminal Court, a U.N.-mandated body based in … Continue reading

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STEPHEN LEEDER. The Evil You Cannot See.

Concern about air quality in Australia popularly centres around two topics:  exhaust stacks from city road tunnels and climate change.  Neither are as critically important as the effects of small particle pollution.  

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MICHAEL KELLY SJ. Religious Persecution and Home Churches in China.

When will they ever learn? The best tonic to stir up religious fervor and greater commitment in a totalitarian society is to persecute believers. 

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ELAINE PEARSON. Open letter to Marise Payne: Will Australia let James Ricketson unjustly spend 6 years in Cambodian prison?

Dear Foreign Minister, Human Rights Watch writes to urge you to press the Cambodian Government to quash the conviction and immediately release imprisoned Australian journalist and filmmaker James Ricketson.

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ANDREW FARRAN. The US goes after the International Criminal Court

It is monstrous and ill conceived that the US National Security Adviser to President Trump, the notorious underminer of international institutions, including those with clear humanitarian purposes, one John Bolton, should get on his high horse to denounce the ICC … Continue reading

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VIPS STEERING GROUP. Trump should involve himself in worsening Syria crisis

Respected US public interest  group Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) has issued a public warning that uncontrolled escalation of the final battle for Idlib in Syria is worsening the risk of direct US-Russian military clash there. They appeal to … Continue reading

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JUDITH WHITE. Governments, bankers and burning museums.

When Brazil’s Museu Nacional in Rio de Janeiro burned down on 2 September, staff described it as “a tragedy foretold”. For years, successive governments had cut recurrent funding for the museum, whose collection of 20 million priceless and irreplaceable objects … Continue reading

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ADAM HUGHES HENRY. Unresolved questions of “Independence”.

One of the core areas of interest for Gough Whitlam and his government in the realm of international affairs was a process of modernisation in Australia’s engagement with international law and its impact on the domestic scene. Some of this … Continue reading

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HUMPHREY HAWKSLEY. US-led Indo-Pacific alliance against China is an outdated idea (Nikkei Asian Review, 03.09.18)

Asia should avoid being divided by Sino-American rivalry.

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ALISON BROINOWSKI. Afghanistan: Set And Forget.

If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither … Continue reading

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CLIVE HAMILTON. None So Blind As Those Who Will Not See

Jocelyn Chey has a bee in her bonnet. In a series of articles on this blog she has repeatedly characterised my book, Silent Invasion: China’s Influence in Australia, as anti-Chinese. In her latest attack, she claims that I engage in … Continue reading

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WANNING SUN. Reasons aplenty for China’s ban of the ABC.

As a form of symbolism, banning a website works much more effectively than conventional expressions of official displeasure such as flexing military muscles, cancelling a trade deal, recalling a country’s ambassador or refusing a foreign correspondent’s visa.

Posted in Asia, Media | 4 Comments

DAVID FRUM. This Is a Constitutional Crisis (The Atlantic 5/9/2018)

A cowardly coup from within the administration threatens to enflame the president’s paranoia and further endanger American security. Impeachment is a constitutional mechanism. The Twenty-Fifth Amendment is a constitutional mechanism. Mass resignations followed by voluntary testimony to congressional committees are … Continue reading

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JAMES GOLDGEIER, ELIZABETH SAUNDERS. The Unconstrained Presidency.

Checks and Balances Eroded Long Before Trump. 

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RAMESH THAKUR. India’s VIP culture: Forget Lincoln’s definition of democracy. India’s government is of VIPs, by VIPs and for VIPs (Times of India, 04.090.18)

Last week, the Madras high court ordered the National Highways Authority of India to separate ordinary citizens from VIPs at toll gates, with a dedicated lane for the latter. Of course, high court judges are included in the list of … Continue reading

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JOCELYN CHEY. Chung Kuo, Cina: Déjà Vu.

The ABC has been off-line in China since 22 August and press reports speculate that the Chinese ban is retaliation for Canberra’s decision on foreign investment in the telecommunication industry, which effectively bars China’s telecom giant Huawei from participating in … Continue reading

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EUGENE ROBINSON. Why Trump is so frantic right now.

President Trump’s incoherence grows to keep pace with his desperation. These days, he makes less sense than ever — a sign that this malignant presidency has entered a new, more dangerous phase.

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GARY P SAMPSON. BREXIT: A Pandora’s Box awaits the UK at the WTO

Whether the U.K. crashes out from the E.U. or retains some residual connections with the Customs Union it will need to negotiate ab initio  its position as an independent, free-standing member of the WTO. Indeed the U.K. is placing much … Continue reading

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BATES GILL. Australia’s Political Division at Home Undermines Its Leadership Abroad.

Fractious domestic politics have made it all but impossible for the country to formulate coherent policy on critical regional and global issues.

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WILLIAM CASE. UMNO’s ethnoreligious order is not gone — just waiting.

Malaysia’s new Pakatan Harapan government rode to power on a pledge to clean up Malaysia’s foul politics. It was wise to focus on the UMNO-led Barisan Nasional’s transgressions: Pakatan’s appeal lay less in its own glowing imagery and manifesto than … Continue reading

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DAVID SHULMAN. The Last of the Tzaddiks.

In the somewhat exotic Jewish home in Iowa where I grew up, it was axiomatic that there was an intimate link between Judaism and universal human rights. Like nearly all Eastern European Jewish families in America, my parents and grandparents … Continue reading

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GEOFF MILLER. Challenges facing the new foreign policy team.

There are many uncertainties and unresolved issues facing the new government within its own ranks.  These are paralleled by the international situation it has to deal with.  As former Prime Minister Turnbull said in his introduction to last year’s Foreign … Continue reading

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DUNCAN GRAHAM. A done deal – or a deal not yet done?

Trying to do business in Java on a Friday is seldom a good idea.  The chantings that Prime Minister Scott Morrison heard mid-morning last Friday were not part of the standard welcome to overseas VIPs, but calling the faithful to … Continue reading

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