Category Archives: International Affairs

MARGARET BEAVIS. Will the Nobel Peace Prize change Australia’s double speak?

On December 10th the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to ICAN – the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear weapons –  which was founded here in Melbourne in 2006. The Nobel Committee made the award “for its work to draw attention … Continue reading

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ROSS BURNS. The Art of the Pushover

There are perhaps no negotiations more fraught, or with higher stakes, than those surrounding Israel-Palestine. Has the self-professed “world’s greatest deal-maker” dropped the ball after making his first major play in the region?

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RICHARD BUTLER. Jerusalem: US Foreign Policy begins at home.

In fulfilling a campaign promise made to what he discerned to be an important part of his base, Christian evangelicals and Jewish Americans, that is, to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Trump has: trashed all prior iterations of … Continue reading

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BRIAN TOOHEY. The US doesn’t need Asia

The US doesn’t need to be the dominant power in Asia to maintain its own national security. No amount of wishful thinking can negate this key insight from Hugh White, a leading professor of strategic studies, about the government’s latest … Continue reading

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LARRY JAGAN. Suu Kyi should heed Pope’s suggestion on UN role

Pope Francis’ visit to Myanmar last week was an overwhelming success and may provide the much needed spark to ignite the government’s peace process and its efforts to bring reconciliation to the country’s violence-torn western region of Rakhine. The Pope’s … Continue reading

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ALISON BROINOWSKI. Truth is not an excuse.

If ASIO bugged Mr Huang’s phone, and sat on what it knew, the political timing of the latest leak against Dastyari could not have been more deliberate.

Posted in Asia, Defence/Security | 2 Comments

ALI KAZAK. Why should Israel’s lobby have different standards?

The government’s plans to address foreign influence in Australian life provide an opportunity for the first time to define the level of Israeli activity designed to influence the making of our foreign policy. George Brandis didn’t plan this. But it … Continue reading

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MICHAEL McKINLEY. Australia and the wars of the alliance: fragments for a coronial inquiry – Part 4: The finding: a disordered national mindset and body politic

Australia’s alliance wars – their respective causes, conduct, and consequences – are overdetermined by the politics and strategies of the United States. In general, though they consist of few battlefield successes, the overall record is one of failed campaigns informed … Continue reading

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TIM COSTELLO. A striking lack of ambition.

The Turnbull Government’s white paper on Australian foreign policy has raised as many questions as it has provided answers. Much comment has focused on its failure to resolve, or even point to a resolution of, the tension between Australia’s unwavering adherence … Continue reading

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JAMES O’NEILL. The North Korean situation requires a different policy

It is said that one definition of insanity is to repeat the same process over and over again and expect a different result. That axiom was never truer than when it is applied to United States and Australian policy towards … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. The Australian Strategic Policy Institute.

Agents of influence,presumably Chinese are in the news. But the really important agents of influence are organisations linked ‘hip to hip’ to the US and its military/industrial complex. One of these is the Australian Strategic Policy Institute which is an … Continue reading

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RICHARD BUTLER. North Korea joins the club

North Korea (DPRK) has made clear that it expects recognition as a nuclear weapon state (NWS). It has now implied, like most existing NWS, that it would follow a policy of “no first use”. US policy continues to be that … Continue reading

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MICHAEL McKINLEY. Australia and the wars of the alliance: fragments for a coronial inquiry – Part 3: The United States military

Australia’s alliance wars – their respective causes, conduct, and consequences – are overdetermined by the politics and strategies of the United States. In general, though they consist of few battlefield successes, the overall record is one of failed campaigns informed … Continue reading

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FRAN MARTIN. Overstating Chinese influence in Australian universities

Both Australia’s national government and its security agency ASIO have expressed concerns over the influence that the Chinese government exerts on Chinese student groups studying at Australian universities. They have also accused Beijing of using those groups to spy on … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, Education, International Affairs | 3 Comments

MARK BEESON: When worlds collide: The unlikely relationship between Australia and China

The debate about Australia’s relationship with China is characterized by a degree of mutual incomprehension born of difference. Both sides share some of the blame for the current bilateral tensions.

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JOHN TULLOH. The potholed U.S. road to Jerusalem

It was a bizarre move earlier this year when a New York real estate investor, with no experience in politics, diplomacy or foreign affairs, was appointed to broker an Israeli/Palestinian settlement. He would follow in the footsteps of a succession … Continue reading

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MICHAEL McKINLEY. Australia and the wars of the alliance: fragments for a coronial inquiry – Part 2: United States strategy.

Australia’s alliance wars – their respective causes, conduct, and consequences – are overdetermined by the politics and strategies of the United States. In general, though they consist of few battlefield successes, the overall record is one of failed campaigns informed … Continue reading

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MICHAEL McKINLEY. Australia and the wars of the alliance: fragments for a coronial inquiry – Part 1: History and politics.

Australia’s alliance wars – their respective causes, conduct, and consequences – are overdetermined by the politics and strategies of the United States. In general, though they consist of few battlefield successes, the overall record is one of failed campaigns informed … Continue reading

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BRUCE DUNCAN. Did Pope Francis succeed in Myanmar?

Myanmar’s neighbours were watching closely the Pope’s visit, worried that the shocking treatment of the Rohingya Muslims could inflame inter-religious conflicts throughout the region. Francis has intervened personally to promote deeper mutual understanding among the major religions, urging them to … Continue reading

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ALLAN PATIENCE. Whose ruled-based international order?

There is much bleating in Australia about the obligation on states to comply with a rules-based international order. The bleating intensifies whenever the Foreign Minister reacts to Chinese territorial claims in the South China Sea or in relation to the … Continue reading

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Myanmar Is Not a Simple Morality Tale

In this article published in the New York Times on November 25, 2017, Roger Cohen writes about the dilemma of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.  He comments ‘The West made a saint of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. The Rohingya crisis revealed a … Continue reading

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ROSS BURNS. Syria: the Task Ahead

The next attempt to hold UN-sponsored talks in Geneva with the main parties to the Syrian conflict is due to begin this week. With the defeat of ISIS on the ground, what hope is there that a clearer picture will … Continue reading

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HUGH WHITE. The White Paper’s grand strategic fix: Can Australia achieve an Indo-Pacific pivot?

By far the most important and sobering part of the 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper is Figure 2.4. It offers the Treasury’s estimates of the sizes of the region’s key economies in 2030. They are calculated in purchasing power parity … Continue reading

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CAVAN HOGUE. The White Paper – a curate’s egg?

There is much to be commended in the Government’s White Paper but there are some assumptions which need to be questioned. The focus on Asia is welcome and most of the analysis of our changing world is good, in particular … Continue reading

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RAMESH THAKUR. A whitewash rather than a white paper on how we go to war

The ‘organising principle’ of the 2017 foreign policy White Paper is the importance of and commitment to a rules-based order. At the heart of that order lies the United Nations and “Australia is a principled and pragmatic member of the … Continue reading

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TIM LINDSEY. Will Indonesia’s fugitive Speaker escape again? The elite’s war on the Anti-Corruption Commission continues.

 Indonesians have been riveted for the last two weeks by a bizarre series of events that finally led to the arrest late last week of Setya Novanto, the speaker of the DPR, Indonesia’s national legislature.  

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MACK WILLIAMS. 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper : An urgent case for genuine change management !

The White Paper provides a long overdue but commendable assessment of the extensive challenges and opportunities for Australian foreign policy. It should have formed the basis for considered parliamentary debate. Unfortunately, while acknowledging for the first time the extent and … Continue reading

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ALLAN PATIENCE. The complacency of the 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper.

The 2017 White Paper displays, yet again, Australia’s foreign policy complacency, its misplaced middle power imagining, and its awkward partnering in its region. It is a failure as a strategic map for advancing Australia’s security and prosperity in the “Indo-Pacific” … Continue reading

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BOB CARR. Foreign Policy White Paper: Faulty roadmap in a GPS world.

While the Australian government’s Foreign Policy White Paper was at the printers, it was being overtaken by events.

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JOHN MENADUE. 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper.

Yesterday, the government released the 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper.   A group associated with Pearls & Irritations made a submission in the preparation of the White Paper:  Submission on foreign policy white paper – filling the void. The media release … Continue reading

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