Category Archives: International Affairs

RAMESH THAKUR. Five Steps to Peace in Myanmar

The bloodshed in Myanmar has uprooted hundreds of thousands of Muslim Rohingya, eroded the prestige of government leader Aung San Suu Kyi, and damaged the credibility of ASEAN and the United Nations. The crisis can be resolved, but not without … Continue reading

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WALTER HAMILTON. Big changes mean more of the same in Japanese election

Early signs of trouble for the Abe government in Japan have seemingly evaporated under the more intense heat of election campaigning, and “more of the same” is now the likely outcome of the 22 October poll.

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WE ARE ALSO READING AND LISTENING TO …

Pearls and Irritations provides the following links for weekend reading:

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SUE WAREHAM. Open letter: Parliament, not ministers, must decide Australia’s response to a Korean war

The possibility of war between the United States and North Korea – particularly a war triggered by one too many provocative moves by an unpredictable leader, leading to miscalculation or misinterpretation – continues to threaten millions of people. The consequences … Continue reading

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SUSAN RYAN. Postcard from Ireland, a resilient democracy

It is heartening to see Ireland, so recently condemned as an economic basket case with social attitudes belonging in the middle ages effectively renew and redirect its democracy

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PAUL FRIJTERS. EU plans for VAT taxation are doomed to fail. Again.

Taxation is the potential downfall of the EU as an institution. The reason is that within the EU, several member states are making money from the tax evasion in other member states, a situation akin to having a wife slowly … Continue reading

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JOHN TULLOH. The paranoia of the US/Iran relationship.

 If North Korea were willing to sign much the same kind of nuclear agreement as Iran did in 2015, President Donald Trump would exult in the ultimate deal and there would be international relief far and wide. Yet now there … Continue reading

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ARTHUR STOCKWIN. Developments in Japan including threats to press freedom

Most international attention on East Asia today is sharply focused on North Korea’s nuclear and missile developments. But this does not mean that we can neglect the significant developments taking place in Japan’s domestic political landscape. Since winning the December … Continue reading

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PAUL FRIJTERS. Observations, lessons, and predictions for the Catalan situation

I make the following observations about the Catalan situation:What might happen!

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LEONID PETROV. Imagining the catastrophic consequences of a new war in Korea.

The 1953 Armistice Agreement brought a sustainable halt to the Korean War, but has never ended it. Nor did it transform into a peace regime. During the last sixty four years the North and South Koreans have lived in conditions of … Continue reading

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DUNCAN MACLAREN. Catalonia is not Scotland and Vice Versa

Scotland’s independence referendum campaign, described by an academic, objective source as one of the best examples of participative democracy in Europe, was completely peaceful apart from triumphant Unionists who were followers of the Orange Lodge attacking forlorn “Yes” voters on … Continue reading

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WE ARE ALSO READING AND LISTENING TO …

Pearls and Irritations provides the following links for weekend reading and listening:

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RAMESH THAKUR. Incorrigible Optimist by Gareth Evans – review-Part 2 of 2

At a time when the world’s political landscape seems starved of good policy-making, Gareth Evans’ political memoirs are a reflection on the pursuit of good leadership in Australia and the world, Ramesh Thakur writes.

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SHAUN KING. The White Privilege of the “Lone Wolf” Shooter

White killers are invariably ‘lone wolves’ and not terrorists.Muslim and African-Americans killers are treated differently

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DAVID STEPHENS. Who’s Schlesinger now? Something that may have happened in the Nixon era could be relevant today.

It is said that, when President Richard Nixon, assailed by Watergate, drunk and psychotic, wandered the corridors of the White House in the dead of night, talking to portraits of his predecessors, members of his administration put measures in place … Continue reading

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WALTER HAMILTON. Koike’s coup.

Japan is going to the polls on 22 October, with the conservative coalition led by Shinzo Abe facing a stiff challenge from a new party led by the right-wing governor of Tokyo. 

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BOB CARR. Australia declares rhetorical war on China.

This year Australia declared rhetorical war on China. The words being used by Australian leaders are the harshest any time since diplomatic relations commenced in 1972, with the exception of comments at the time of Tiananmen. The tone is harsher … Continue reading

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ALISON BROINOWSKI. Back to the FutureAsia.

How can Chris Bowen ensure that engagement with Asia will be different this time? By convincing all Australians it’s important and urgent, and by getting Bill Shorten to endorse it convincingly.

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RAMESH THAKUR. Australia’s engagement with Asia should start at home with engagement with Asian-Australians.

Do we want to defend ourselves from Asia-sourced threats, be smarter in doing business with Asia, or be part of Asia? The Coalition seems to be pursuing the first, Labor is promising the second, but neither seems interested in the … Continue reading

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PAUL MEYER and RAMESH THAKUR. Canada’s nuclear diplomacy is make-believe

The late U.S. senator and one-time ambassador to the United Nations, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, famously rebuked a political opponent: “You are entitled to your own opinion, but not to your own facts.”

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JOHN MENADUE. Is the Australian ‘cruise control’ in Asia going to end?

Last week, Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen gave a very encouraging speech outlining ‘a new comprehensive and holistic policy approach to Asian engagement which will be called “FutureAsia”’.    After many false starts about our engagement with Asia, could this be … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, International Affairs, Politics | 5 Comments

DENNIS ARGALL. Not so scary under Korean skies

Australia has had yet another high level former US defence official breeze in, this time to warn that we might be attacked by the DPRK. Whether there is or is not a concerted plan to all this, the visits of … Continue reading

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ANDREW FARRAN: Korea – could nuclear war come out of clear blue sky?

A decision about joining in the Korean conflict at any point could be the most critical war decision ever taken by Australia. Parliament should be allowed the time to take it. Whatever, the  decision must not be taken by the … Continue reading

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TIM LINDSEY. Watch out Indonesian democracy – Islamism, communism and Jokowi’s Neo-New Order?

On 16 September, police broke up an academic discussion at the offices of renowned activist NGO the Jakarta Legal Aid Foundation (LBH). The topic was the killings of alleged leftists in 1965 and 1966 in the wake of the failed … Continue reading

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RAMESH THAKUR. APLN Group Statement on Nuclear Threats

On Tuesday 26 September 2017, 55 Asia–Pacific political, diplomatic, military and civil society leadership figures, who are members of the Asia–Pacific Leadership Network for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament (APLN), signed a statement urging that nuclear crises are best resolved diplomatically, … Continue reading

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MACK WILLIAMS. Muslim Mindanao: once more into a quagmire?

We need to be very careful in not overhyping the IS activity in Marawi and soliciting an invitation to military involvement without a comprehensive Australian review of the complex issues at stake in Mindanao and our wider relationship with the … Continue reading

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ANDREW FARRAN. Not the time to deny natural justice to the Kurds.

Will the revived march of the Kurds for an independent homeland be the time when the Sykes-Picot agreement, which amidst the chaos of the First World War divided the Arab world between British and French influence and control, becomes finally … Continue reading

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ELAINE PEARSON and JOHN BLAXLAND. Myanmar Rohingya crisis: Australia needs to stand up and help as the situation worsens

The world seems to be sitting on its hands as the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar descends into what the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has described as “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing”.

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CAVAN HOGUE. Mindanao and terrorism.

The situation in Mindanao is complicated by historical, ethnic, religious, criminal and social factors that are not easily unravelled. The introduction of Saudi Wahabism and foreign fighters complicates the mix even further. Separatism is not new but the arrival of … Continue reading

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GREG WOOD. The China Australia FTA Meets the All Controlling State

During Premier Li Keqiang’s visit to Australia in March, Australia and China signed a “Declaration of Intent” to accelerate a review of the provisions governing services trade and investment in the bilateral China Australia free trade agreement (Chafta).  So far … Continue reading

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