Category Archives: International Affairs

HENRY REYNOLDS. When will it end?

Three days after the Abbott government was sworn in on the 18th of September 2013 the new defence minister Senator David Johnston made a statement to the media. He told the Sydney Morning Herald that he wanted the military to … Continue reading

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DUNCAN GRAHAM When sinking looms, jump.

Imagine if almost six per cent of the Coalition reckoned they’d lose their seats at the next election so switch to Labor.  Chances are they wouldn’t be piped aboard, as ship jumpers are not favoured in Australian politics, distrusted by … Continue reading

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GEOFFREY MILLER. Intelligence and the function of government. (Australian Outlook 9.1.2019)

“Intelligence and the Function of Government”, edited by Daniel Baldino and Rhys Crawley, contains a great deal of useful material on the Australian Intelligence Community (AIC), intelligence issues and intelligence in relation to government. It consists of 12 chapters, covering … Continue reading

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FINTAN O’TOOLE. Today Britain discovers it cannot escape history. (Irish Times 16.1.2019)

Today is supposed to be historic, one of the most epic moments in the long life of the Westminster parliament. So why does it not feel like that? The tabling by a British prime minister of an agreement on the … Continue reading

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KIM WINGEREI. Brexit chaos – the failures of Westminster

As the Brexit chaos continues, it is worth reflecting on the background that led Britain to where it is today – with no ending in sight. The root cause lays in how the Westminster system is failing to serve the … Continue reading

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JON FINER and ROBERT MALLEY. Trump is right to seek an end to America’s wars (The New York Times International Edition).

The president’s desire to disentangle the country from costly overseas conflicts must be encouraged.

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MICHAEL McKINLEY. The unsettling reality if Five Eyes is the guardian against Huawei, Part 2: A survey audit concerning prudence, integrity, law and ethics.

In the frequent denunciations of Huawei and ZTE the inference is that these Chinese corporations are existing, or potential espionage agents of the Beijing Government and a threat to all who have been foolish enough to acquire their products.  These … Continue reading

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RAMESH THAKUR. Nuclear arms: A year of living dangerously

Last January, the Doomsday Clock was moved to two minutes to midnight — the closest it has ever been, matching the acute sense of crisis of 1953. The primary explanation for the heightened threat alert was disturbing developments in the … Continue reading

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STUART REES. Redefining anti-Semitism erodes freedom of speech.

Claims about western values usually include praise for the freedom enjoyed through governments’ respect for freedom of speech. Yet, even in democratic states, those principles are being treated as outmoded, not least in regard to criticism of Israeli policies towards … Continue reading

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MICHAEL McKINLEY. The unsettling reality if Five Eyes is the guardian against Huawei, Part 1: Questions of Honesty and Loyalty.

According to a recent assessment Australia is the world’s 11th most vulnerable country in terms of its exposure to internet security threat.  This is the general case.  The particular case, articulated by the Five Eyes signals intelligence agencies, is that China is to … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. Joined at the hip to a very dangerous ally that is almost always at war. An update

We are a nation in denial that we are ‘joined at the hip’ to a dangerous ally that is becoming even more dangerous with the increasing privatisation of the US ‘war complex’  The complex is less and less under civilian … Continue reading

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HUGH WHITE. The Costs of Containing China (East Asia Forum)

Washington’s policymakers at last understand that China is a serious strategic rival. For the first time since the Soviet collapse, they recognise that a major country is trying to expand its power and influence at the expense of US global … Continue reading

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RICHARD McGREGOR. We need the Five Eyes spy network, but with oversight (SMH 12.1.2019)

After Canadian authorities seized a top Chinese executive from the telecommunications giant Huawei at Vancouver Airport last month on a US arrest warrant, Beijing immediately set about retaliating. A couple of Canadians who, until then, had been working openly in … Continue reading

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RICHARD BROINOWSKI. The US-Mexican Border Paradox

President Trump’s characterisation of asylum seekers from Mexico as illegal criminals and rapists threatening American citizens is a cynical distortion of reality. Drug runners and criminals both from Mexico into the United States and vice versa represent a tiny fraction … Continue reading

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ANDREW FARRAN. Brexit: Going for Broke?

Uproar and acrimony has resumed, even more intensely, over Brexit at Westminster this week on the resumption of Parliament following the Christmas break. The expectation, or rather hope, that members might have softened their hard lines after a due period … Continue reading

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CLIVE KESSLER. Mahathir’s deep dilemma for 2019 (ASIAN NIKKEI REVIEW).

Can he win over the dominant ethnic Malays and halt the growth of Islamist forces?

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ROBERT D KAPLAN. The case for leaving Afghanistan (The New York Times International Edition).

America is spending beyond its means on a mission that might only be helping its strategic rivals.

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STEWART FIRTH. China, Samoa and debt-for-equity swaps- East Asia Forum Jan. 3 2019

Last year, Australia discovered the debt owed to Chinese banks by Pacific island countries. As the debate over China’s intentions in the region grew, commentators pointed to the possibility that Pacific countries might be compelled to accept debt-for-equity swaps if … Continue reading

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PAUL KRUGMAN. The Trump tax cut: even worse than you’ve heard. (New York Times 1.1.2019)

The 2017 tax cut has received pretty bad press, and rightly so. Its proponents made big promises about soaring investment and wages, and also assured everyone that it would pay for itself; none of that has happened. Yet coverage actually … Continue reading

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DUNCAN GRAHAM. Ignoring the Doings Next Door

On a recent edition of ABC TV’s free-for-all Summer Drum, participants sounded off about possible Democrat nominees for the 2020 US Presidential election. Social commentator Jane Caro sprayed the screen with alternatives. The Australian columnist Greg Sheridan, who comes across … Continue reading

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MUJIB MASHAL. Afghan units led by C.I.A. leave trail of abuse .Victims and officials say raids are pushing people toward the Taliban (The New York Times International Edition).

Razo Khan woke up suddenly to the sight of assault rifles pointed at his face, and demands that he get out of bed and onto the floor. Within minutes, the armed raiders had separated the men from the women and … Continue reading

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RICHARD CHAUVEL. The Cycle of Violence in Papua.

The killing of construction workers in Nduga and the Indonesian security force’s subsequent military operations impact quite differently on the politics of the Papua – Indonesia conflict. It is contested whether the 16 construction workers were unarmed civilians or members … Continue reading

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RICHARD BROINOWSKI. Trump and Syria

While Prime Minister Morrison was visiting Australian troops in Iraq this month (but not Afghanistan -‘ too dangerous’), President Trump was preparing to pull US ground forces out of Syria. Nothing Morrison said indicated that he or Joe Hockey, our … Continue reading

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ROSS BURNS. US Withdrawal from Syria

There is everything wrong with the way in which Donald Trump reached his decision to pull US forces out of Syria, apparently without touching base with his own advisers and commanders. Australia is also now exposed to such impromptu creativity … Continue reading

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MACK WILLIAMS. Trump: Beginning of end or end of beginning?

Following the major Republican defeat in the US mid-term elections, President Trump has accelerated preparations for his 2020 re-election replacing “Make America Great Again” with  “Keep America Great” as the theme. This will put more pressure on achieving his initial … Continue reading

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CLIVE KESSLER. New hopes or old fears for Malaysia?

Against the odds, and against most informed predictions, Malaysia’s 14th general elections in May 2018 produced a change of government. The Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition under Najib Razak, which had been in power since 1957, was ousted by the opposition … Continue reading

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JONATHAN STEVENSON. How Jim Mattis failed (New York Times 24.12.2018)

Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, who submitted his resignation on Thursday, was the last “adult in the room” of the Trump administration — or so claim a small army of pundits, who now worry that the president, finally unchecked, will … Continue reading

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M.K.BHADRAKUMAR. Trump’s Afghan withdrawal could pave the way for peace (Asian Times 24.12.2018)

The US president’s controversial decision signifies a well-crafted political and diplomatic move aimed at ending the 17-year conflict There has been withering criticism from within the United States regarding the reported decision by President Donald Trump on troop withdrawal in … Continue reading

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STUART REES. Free speech about Israel/Palestine at an American and Australian university.

Anti-Semitism is on the rise across Europe and the United States. So too are accusations of anti-Semitism as a means of stifling any criticism of Israeli policies towards Palestinians. As with any racially motivated prejudice, anti-Semitism is completely unjustifiable.  So too … Continue reading

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M.K.BHADRAKUMAR. Trump made the right decision to quit Syrian conflict (Asia Times 21.12.2018)

Despite the criticism, there is a strong argument that the US president has done the right thing by withdrawing his forces from Syria If 700 days out of US President Donald Trump’s 1,461 days of presidency seem a wasteland of … Continue reading

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