Category Archives: International Affairs

RICHARD BUTLER The Espionage Olympiad and the Art of “Plausible Deniability”.

If there was a competition between the key ways in which international relations is conducted, aside from the use of military force, then the area of intelligence gathering and the covert pursuit of national objectives – all-round spookery – would … Continue reading

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TREVOR WATSON. Hong Kong and Beijing – two cities, one fearful regime.

Millions of students, blue collar workers and professionals poured into the streets of Hong Kong in protest over proposed legislation that would allow people to be extradited for trial in China.

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MACK WILLIAMS . North Korea : The tangled web becomes more so !

That the past few months have seen no real progress towards the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula is not all that surprising given the swirling global environment demanding priority attention for President Trump and other key stakeholders. Post mortems of … Continue reading

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ALI KAZAK.  Another side of Bob Hawke

Bob Hawke was long known as a great friend of Israel, but in his years after retiring from Parliament, I came to know him as person increasingly concerned about Palestinian rights and getting a fair peace deal for Palestinians and Israelis.

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RAMESH THAKUR. Modi vs who? The question needed a clear answer in a quasi-presidential contest (The Times of India)

No Bihari political scientist can possibly understate the importance of caste and religion in shaping the electoral contest. However, there is one other factor that is of growing importance. In all parliamentary democracies across the world, including Australia, power is … Continue reading

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KISHORE MAHBUBANI. A ‘yellow peril’ revival fuelling Western fears of China’s rise (East Asia Forum)

Do we arrive at geopolitical judgements from only cool, hard-headed, rational analysis? If emotions influence our judgements, are these conscious emotions or do they operate at the level of our subterranean subconscious? Any honest answer to these questions would admit … Continue reading

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GEOFF RABY. What a Morrison Government could do on China.

The Accidental Morrison Government needs now to face up to Australia’s most important foreign policy challenge: how to restore relations with China.  Under Turnbull/Bishop’s mismanagement, the relationship plumbed its lowest depth since diplomatic relations were established 47 years ago.  Doing … Continue reading

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DENNIS ARGALL. Tiananmen in context

There has been feverish interest in the anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen incident, in Australia with some focus on repression in China, fuelling antagonism towards China. In this essay I want to provide context that is lacking: in the evolution … Continue reading

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LINDSAY HUGHES. Saudi Arabia’s Nuclear Plans: The Regional Danger (Future Directions International)

Saudi Arabia remains one of the largest oil producers (it produced 9.8 million barrels of oil a day in April this year) and the largest oil exporter in the world, despite the fact that Venezuela has larger proven oil reserves … Continue reading

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BOB CARR. Making a multilateral Belt and Road (East Asia Forum)

Between 2012 and 2030, China will add 850 million people to its middle class. This is unprecedented in human history, even exceeding the numbers of the European, North American and Japanese industrial revolutions. It is the biggest rolling back of … Continue reading

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MARTIN WOLF. The looming 100-year US-China conflict (The Financial Times)

Donald Trump’s unnecessary fight for domination is increasingly being framed as a zero-sum game. 

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BRETT McGURK. American Foreign Policy Adrift (Foreign Affairs)

Pompeo Is Calling for Realism—Trump Isn’t Delivering

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MURRAY SAYLE. On Tiananmen Square – June 1989

On May 13, with Gorbachev’s visit imminent, the students began a hunger strike in seven-day relays. How did the regime react? The People’s Liberation Army sent one thousand quilts; the Chinese Red Cross brought water, salt, and sugar for the … Continue reading

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HAJO DUKEN. High time for Australia to understand and embrace the EU

It has been said that in the world order of the 21st century, countries will end up as a colony of either the US or China or be a member of the EU. This may sound overly simplistic but one … Continue reading

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ROBERT FISK. The final punishment of Julian Assange. (Counterpunch 3.6.2019)

Shame and the fear of accountability for what has been done by our “security” authorities, not the law-breaking of leakers, is what this is all about. 

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KOICHI NAKANO. The Leader Who Was ‘Trump Before Trump’ (The New York Times)

Under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Japan has taken a decidedly authoritarian turn.

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RAMESH THAKUR. Tiananmen anniversary revisited

Readers of my generation will recall the horror story told to the US Congressional Human Rights Caucus on 10 October 1990 by a 15-year old Kuwaiti girl. ‘Nayirah’ claimed to have witnessed invading Iraqi troops storming a Kuwaiti hospital, ripping … Continue reading

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JOSH RUEBNER. Kushner’s plan to sugarcoat the occupation of Palestine (The New Arab)

In 2018, prosecutors in Brooklyn subpoenaed information from the family-run real estate development business Kushner Companies to investigate how it “routinely filed false paperwork that resulted in the company netting millions during a three-year period” when presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner … Continue reading

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DIRK VAN DER KLEY. What should Australia do about… the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)?

The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has grown so large that it has become difficult to separate from the international economic and technology policies of the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC). Policies crafted in the name of BRI are reshaping … Continue reading

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IAN BURUMA. Deng Xiaoping’s victory. (Asia Times 3.6.2019)

China’s massive protest movement in the spring of 1989, centered in (but not confined to) Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, seems to have been the anti-Communist revolt that failed. As the brutal crackdown on and following June 3-4 played out, political freedom … Continue reading

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JOCELYN CHEY. Remembering June Fourth

As people in Australia and around the world remember the events of June Fourth 1989, I think back to my own experience. The story is worth repeating and perhaps can give some guidance to all who are presently trying to … Continue reading

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JONATHON MANTHORPE. Trump’s shambolic Japan visit and America’s decline (Asia Times)

The age of the United States dominating in Asia is drawing to a close, and the president is leading the way

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DENNISS ARGALL. Thinking through the choppy issues in trade and strategic threat.

The public discussion of trade war and security issues is too simplistic. Trump’s bilateral adventures in liking and bullying will mean discussion of structural changes in regional affairs to which Australia will not be party. Trump is not a passing … Continue reading

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IAN JOHNSON. China’s ‘Black Week-end’ (New York Review of Books, 27 June 2019)

The Last Secret: The Final Documents from the June Fourth Crackdown edited by Bao Pu Hong Kong: New Century Press, 362 pp., HK$158.00 When Chinese law professor Xu Zhangrun began publishing articles last year criticizing the government’s turn toward a … Continue reading

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RICHARD BUTLER US Foreign Policy: Preference for Conflict

US foreign and military policy is thoroughly fused. The cliches which assert that: military postures are designed to shore up diplomacy and, the other favourite; articulated by the US in virtually every situation:- “all options are on the table”; do … Continue reading

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DANNY SJURSEN. Key US Allies in the Middle East Are the Real Tyrants (Truthout, 01.06.19)

American foreign policy can be so retro, not to mention absurd. Despite being bogged down in more military interventions than it can reasonably handle, the Trump team recently picked a new fight — in Latin America. That’s right! Uncle Sam … Continue reading

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ANDREW FARRAN. ‘America First’: Strategic Choices

President Trump’s ‘America First’ policies are shaking established structures. Regardless of Trump’s future they are unlikely to be reversed anytime soon. His split with China opens unprecedented opportunities for Australia. Indeed a brave new world, if we have the intelligence … Continue reading

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NATHAN GARDELS. The Digital Curtain Descends (The World Post)

While China’s last few decades of “opening up and reform” welcomed foreign investment and the global integration of supply chains for manufacturing and export, it followed an “import substitution” strategy in the digital realm. This kept out the likes of … Continue reading

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ANTHONY PUN:  The Battle of Huawei escalates with new fronts opening. 

President Trump has upped the ante on the US-China trade war by opening several new fronts in the Battle of Huawei.  These fronts are designed to kill Huawei off by banning Tech companies in supplying essential chip hardware. This has … Continue reading

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PETER DRYSDALE. Getting the Australia–China relationship right (East Asia Forum)

There’s no more important issue for Australia at this time in the history of its international economic and foreign affairs than to get the relationship with China right. It’s an issue that went through to the keeper during the election. … Continue reading

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