Category Archives: International Affairs

JAMES LAURENCESON. Morrison’s visit to the US shows his common ground with China (AFR 25-9-19)

Scan the headlines generated by Scott Morrison’s trip to the United States and you could get the impression that the Australian government is increasingly tilting towards supporting Washington in its economic war against Beijing.

Posted in Asia, International Affairs | 2 Comments

JOHN TULLOH. Troubling times for Saudi Arabia

It is an unsettling time for Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s effective leader, or MBS, as he is often referred to. The unchallenged attack on the kingdom’s oil industry made a mockery of the billions it spends to … Continue reading

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DUNCAN GRAHAM Bali alert! Busybodies at large

It was excruciatingly embarrassing. The hotel receptionist was adamant: We either proved our marriage or we left.  Voices were raised which drew more staff and onlookers to the foyer. Security guards appeared.

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GEORGE BROWNING. Zionism – the ugly truth

Alex Ryvchin’s article “Zionism and the big lie. How Soviet anti-Semitism shaped contemporary anti-Zionism”, published through the ABC’s “Religion and Ethics” site, is too cute by half.  Of course the strong critique of current Israel (which likes to call itself … Continue reading

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PETER SAINSBURY. Sunday environmental round up, 29 September 2019

Six deep transformations in the structure of society will be required to meet the SDGs and the Paris goals – but are the proposals deep enough? Net zero emissions is ‘Mission Possible’ though for the hard-to-reduce industrial and transport sectors … Continue reading

Posted in Environment and climate, International Affairs, Politics | 2 Comments

ROBERT FISK. As Netanyahu’s Power in the Middle East Wanes, Trump Has to Find His Own Way to Deal with Iran (Counterpunch 24-9-19)

There is an extraordinary irony in the fate of both Benjamin Netanyahu and Iran. The first has been captaining the Titanic, in the words of one Israeli academic, through the past couple of days. The second – a rather better captain, it might be said – has … Continue reading

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EDOARDO CAMPANELLA. Back to Little England? (Project Syndicate 17-9-19)

Future historians may come to describe Brexit as the defining moment of a nationalist wave that swept away the postwar liberal international order. Yet their task will be complicated by the fact that Brexit is not, in fact, a manifestation … Continue reading

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PATRICK COCKBURN. The Drone Strikes on the Saudi Oil Facilities Have Changed Global Warfare (Counterpunch 24-9-19)

The devastating attack on Saudi oil facilities by drones and missiles not only transforms the balance of military power in the Middle East, but marks a change in the nature of warfare globally.

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RENUKA MAHADEVAN and ANDA NUGROHO. RCEP must move forward, with or without India (East Asia Forum 19-9-19)

As the international trading system grows increasingly strained under the escalating US–China trade dispute and the paralysis of WTO reform, many have eagerly called for the conclusion of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) by the end of 2019. The ASEAN-led initiative is … Continue reading

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IAN BOWIE. Australia’s Place in the World

In geopolitics, Geography matters. Dimensions such as distance, relative location, area, terrain and economic reach between countries all influence how countries are positioned in the shifting sands of global power. Australian perceptions of geographic dimensions are often distorted by the … Continue reading

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RAMESH THAKUR. Justin Trudeau is trashing his own brand

Canada’s PM Justin Trudeau is caught in a messy hypocrisy scandal, not a racism scandal. To be absolutely clear: Trudeau is not a racist, was never a racist and, in my judgment, has never behaved in a racist manner – … Continue reading

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ANDREW FARRAN. UK Supreme Court thwarts Boris’ sneaky exit from the EU

The implications of the UK Supreme Court’s decision in holding the Boris government’s Prorogation of Parliament as unlawful, null and void, have far reaching implications for the Westminster system both in the UK and elsewhere. As for Brexit, the decision … Continue reading

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RAMESH THAKUR. Nuclear arms treaty and umbrella states (Japan Times 12 Sep)

In 1984, U.S. President Ronald Reagan noted the nuclear emperor had no clothes: “The only value in our two nations [United States and Soviet Union] possessing nuclear weapons is to make sure they will never be used. But then would … Continue reading

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KEVIN RUDD. Australia destroys its own reputation in the Pacific (East Asia Forum 9-9-19)

The dust-up at the Pacific Islands Forum was not simply a zero-sum game between the Pacific and Australia over coal. While this may have been the tip of the spear, it went to a far deeper divide over climate and … Continue reading

Posted in Environment and climate, International Affairs | 1 Comment

DAVID SHEARMAN. Climate change diplomacy, one big step for humanity

As fire, flood and drought ravage swathes of the Earth, communities around the world are realising that climate change is accelerating and climate emergencies are declared. Many governments fail to act and quibble about fulfilling the meagre responsibilities of the … Continue reading

Posted in Environment and climate, International Affairs | 1 Comment

PETER SAINSBURY. Sunday environmental round up, 22 September 2019

The world’s rich countries continue to pump US$64 billion per year into coal companies, with Japan leading the charge internationally and domestically. Unhealthy environments are responsible for almost a quarter of deaths globally, but maybe if your community is in … Continue reading

Posted in Environment and climate, Health, International Affairs | 1 Comment

AMY VERDUN. What to Make of the Win of the AfD in Germany? (Australian Outlook 13-9-19

On 1 September 2019, the German far right-wing political party, Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) had a historical win in state elections. It won 28 percent of the votes in Saxony and 24 percent of the votes in Brandenburg — the … Continue reading

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NICOLA NYMALM. Washington’s old ‘Japan problem’ and the current ‘China threat’ (East Asia Forum 11 Sep)

In April 2019, Kiron Skinner — former director of policy planning at the US State Department — described Washington’s new China strategy as built on the understanding that the current clash with Beijing ‘is a fight with a different civilization and a … Continue reading

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TIMOTHY L. O’BRIEN. Trump Is Cornered by the Saudi Drone Attacks (Bloomberg 16-9-19)

Regarding the drone strikes on Saudi oil facilities, writes the executive editor of Bloomberg Opinion: “Not everyone is telling the truth here (although everyone might think they are) and any prudent response to the attacks hinges on more factual certainty.”

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GARETH EVANS. Emotion, reason and nuclear disarmament

I first came to Hiroshima in 1964 as a twenty-year old student, and it was one of the most formative experiences of my life. Nothing had quite prepared me for the experience of standing at the epicentre of that first … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, International Affairs | 3 Comments

DUNCAN GRAHAM. PM in gaffe-strewn Indonesian TV interview

Scott Morrison has given a rambling error-littered interview to Indonesian TV where he fudged the figures of casualties in the 2002 Bali bomb blast. The Prime Minister told English-speaking journalist Andini Effendi that “more Indonesians were killed than Australians” when … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, Media | 1 Comment

MOUIN RABBANI. Jerusalem and the Trump administration

In December 2017, the administration of U.S. president Donald Trump upended seventy years of U.S. policy by recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. In doing so, it also effectively recognized Israel’s sovereignty over the city.

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JOHN MENADUE. We have surrendered our sovereignty to a very dangerous and violent ally. An update

As China reasserts its historical world role, its influence will grow in Australia and elsewhere. But that influence is minimal compared with the US which has ‘agents of influence’ thick on the ground in Australia. Our media ,including the ABC, … Continue reading

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JOHN CARLIN. Let Them Shoot Themselves

Boris Johnson will go down in history, not as a Churchill he so much admires, but the prime minister who led his country into humiliation and global irrelevance.

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GILL HOFFMAN, KHALED ABU TOAMEH, OMRI NAHMIAS. Netanyahu Vows to Annex All Settlements, Starting with Jordan Valley (Jerusalem Post 11-9-19)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Tuesday that if reelected, he will apply sovereignty over all settlements in Judea and Samaria, starting with the Jordan Valley.

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MIKE SCRAFTON. The Afghanistan failure

President Trump’s muddled and reactive approach to foreign and strategic policy regularly distracts the media and commentators away from the geopolitical consequences of America’s actions under his stewardship. The coverage of the negotiations with the Taliban and proposed withdrawal of … Continue reading

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JOHN ENGLISH. Canada goes to the polls: “It can’t happen here”.

Looking south as Canadians must and can do invariably provokes the comment, “It can’t happen here.” But it already has. While Donald Trump certainly cannot be replicated, the nativist, populist, and authoritarian tendencies of American Republicans have often appeared in … Continue reading

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MACK WILLIAMS. Attacks on Saudi Oil Facilities: Trump “Locked and Loaded”?

Whatever the real story behind the damaging attacks on the Saudi oil facilities, tensions in the Gulf and Middle East more widely have been significantly elevated. US attempts to engage the Iranians in direct and secret dialogue to try to … Continue reading

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RAMESH THAKUR. Kashmir: the international dimension (Strategist 10 Sep 2019)

India’s decision last month to revoke Kashmir’s autonomy and statehood, break it into two union territories and merge them fully with the Indian union caught everyone unawares. The changes give effect to the Bharatiya Janata Party’s vision of India as one nation … Continue reading

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TSUYOSHI MINAMI. Are Japan and China really getting along? (East Asia Forum 7 Sep 2019)

Following the 2019 Osaka G20 summit, Japan–China relations appear to have entered a new period. While improved Japan–China ties are in the national interests of both countries, the ongoing US trade war with China is beginning to have significant effects … Continue reading

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