Category Archives: International Affairs

CAVAN HOGUE. What Australian interests are involved in the Skripal poisoning?

By signing up to sanctions against Russia along with 22 European and North American countries Australia has made it very clear to the 100 countries that did not sign up where we think we belong. We seem to be telling … Continue reading

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RAMESH THAKUR. The Skripal affair: ‘curiouser and curiouser’.

On 4 March a former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, who came from Moscow on 3 March to visit her father, were found slumped unconscious on a bench outside a shopping centre in Salisbury. Both remain in … Continue reading

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BRUCE HAIGH. Dutton ventures where fools fear to tread

The Minister for Home Affairs, Peter Dutton, has gratuitously interfered in the internal affairs of South Africa. His comments on what he termed ‘the horrific circumstances’ relating to white South African farmers, at the urging of white right-wing extremists, has … Continue reading

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ANDREW FARRAN. The Brexit withdrawal agreement for the transition tabled

The Brexit negotiators have produced a lengthy and complex draft agreement to provide for all procedural aspects of Britain’s withdrawal over the transitional period. It is concerned to preserve acquired individual rights and to enable the institutions (including judicial and … Continue reading

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ANDREW FARRAN. The ASEAN Summit – lots of hyperbole and some successes

While the ASEAN summit was a public relations success it demonstrated to all that the only common factor in the group is that they belong to the one region. If tensions with China were to increase it might not last … Continue reading

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CAVAN HOGUE. Reflections on the ASEAN-Australian Summit.

The ASEAN-Australian summit provided an opportunity for Australia to get close to countries and leaders important to us and to make a public statement to that effect. The media coverage in Australia tended to focus on human rights in Cambodia … Continue reading

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SUE WAREHAM. Parliamentary debate on going to war is long overdue.

This week marks the 15th anniversary, on March 20, of one of Australia’s most disastrous foreign policy decisions – our involvement in the invasion of Iraq. To characterise this as “our” involvement, however, does a great disservice to the millions … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. Peter Dutton is an embarrassment for all of us.

Peter Dutton failed as Health Minister.  His track record since then is even worse. 

Posted in Human Rights, International Affairs, Politics | 10 Comments

RAMESH THAKUR. The Nuclear Ban Treaty Embeds the Nuclear Taboo

The non-use of nuclear weapons since 1945 is largely explained by the strong moral taboo. There have been many occasions when they could have been used without fear of retaliation but were not, even at the price of defeat on … Continue reading

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BRIAN TOOHEY. Teresa May’s rush to judgment on nerve agents

The British Prime Minister Teresa May failed to produce any evidence that the Russian state used a nerve agent called Novichok before she announced measures to punish the Kremlin.  At least Tony Blair famously produced a “dodgy dossier” claiming Saddam … Continue reading

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JOHN TULLOH. Egypt – The rise of an Erdoğan on the Nile.

These are sensitive times in Egypt. A leading singer was sentenced to six months in prison for joking about a song she was asked to sing ‘Have you drunk from the Nile’. Drinking from the Nile, she said, ‘will get … Continue reading

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ALISON BROINOWSKI. Happy Anniversary Iraq

If there are any Australians who think we have anything to celebrate on the 15th anniversary of our invasion of Iraq and the start of our longest war, they must know something the rest of us don’t. In fact, there’s … Continue reading

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ERIC SIDOTI. What if anything Corbyn can teach the ALP?

Populism is rapidly evolving as the catch-all explanation for the maelstrom engulfing national and international politics. It is said to be driving the rise of the authoritarian right in Europe and to be evident in the re-emergence of ‘strong man’ … Continue reading

Posted in International Affairs, Politics | 2 Comments

JOHN MENADUE. The ASEAN Summit in Sydney this weekend.

The meeting this weekend will highlight for Australia the importance of our relations with regional countries.  It will also highlight the importance of our relationship with the US and China, and how that rivalry can best be managed in association … Continue reading

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TIM LINDSEY and DAVE MCCRAE. Australian-Indonesia: strangers next door

At the weekend, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will meet with President of Indonesia Joko Widodo (Jokowi) on the margins of the Australia-ASEAN Special Summit. Although Turnbull seems to have built the positive personal relationship with Jokowi that eluded Tony Abbott, managing … Continue reading

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NANDINI PANDEY. Rome’s “Empire Without End” and the “Endless” U.S. War on Terror (Replaying the Roman Civil Wars in Reverse Since 9/11)

That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, … Continue reading

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RICHARD BUTLER. The US/DPRK Summit: War or Peace?

The planned Trump/Kim Summit has a clear choice between a negotiated solution, or war. There is a choice, whatever both sides may say. War is not unavoidable and if it were to occur it would be devastating.  

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TOYO KEIZAI. The Peace Train Leaves The Station.

Tokyo — In a flurry of developments that left experts stunned, the long-stalled Korean peace train has suddenly left the station. Sitting in the locomotive is the engineer of these events, North Korea’s young leader, Kim Jong Un. The conductor … Continue reading

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MOTOKO RICH. Japan Fears Being Left Behind by Trump’s Talks With Kim Jong-un

As recently as last fall, it was Seoul that appeared sidelined by Washington in its approach to North Korea, as President Trump made fiery threats and accused South Korea of “appeasement” for advocating dialogue. Shinzo Abe, Japan’s prime minister, was … Continue reading

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RAMESH THAKUR. Could the Trump Kim summit succeed?

The Kim–Trump summit is an opportunity that will be difficult to seize and easy to squander. For example, if Trump decertifies the Iran nuclear deal on May 12, ahead of the summit, the move would almost certainly call into question … Continue reading

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SAM BATEMAN. No need to rock the boat in the South China Sea.

In the wake of Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s visit to Washington, there has been renewed pressure for Australia to undertake assertive freedom of navigation operations (FONOPs) in the South China Sea. It has also been suggested that France and … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. When will we wake up to the risks as well as the benefits of the US alliance? (Repost)

We are a nation in denial that we are ‘joined at the hip’ to a dangerous ally. Apart from brief isolationist periods, the US has been almost perpetually at war; wars that we have often foolishly been drawn into. The … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, International Affairs, Politics | 5 Comments

MACK WILLIAMS. North Korea: What now?”

President Trump’s positive response to Kim Jong-un’s invitation to direct talks naturally has created a swirl of media commentary and speculation.  It has served Trump’s interest to promote a sense of surprise though it probably also reflects a considerable amount … Continue reading

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Trump Is Smart to Talk to Kim Jong Un

The problem is, the United States is nowhere near ready for this kind of high-stakes diplomacy.   SUZANNE DIMAGGIO and JOEL WIT point out the risks

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MUNGO MacCALLUM. Tariffs and Mateship.

Yet another triumph for our indefatigable Prime Minister. Now he has saved the nation – maybe the world – from the scourge of The Donald’s dastardly tariffs on steel and aluminium. 

Posted in International Affairs, Politics | 6 Comments

DUNCAN GRAHAM Welcome Down Under, Mr President Widodo : An open letter

Later this week Indonesian leader Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo is expected in Sydney with other heads of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations for a ‘special summit’. The President recently told his ambassadors that while working overseas they should lift their … Continue reading

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GEOFF MILLER. The ASEAN meeting in Sydney and the Quad – same same but different.

Singapore and Australia are having to deal with the same set of problems and relationships as the strategic situation in the Asia-Pacific changes.  Singapore isn’t a contender for an expanded “Quad” but, as next year’s Chairman of ASEAN, it will … Continue reading

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JIM COOMBS. The Italian Election: Traditional “Right and Left” parties losing out and elsewhere (except perhaps in Britain) What is going on? The people are asking “What is government for?”

Well, Italy! The usual mess, or something else? Five Star mid 30%, Northern League next, low 30s, with Berlusconi next, but not a sufficient force. 5 Star is nearly anarchist, with “direct democracy” in its platform, and distinct distrust of … Continue reading

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GRAHAM FREUDENBERG. American Malaise and Malice.

The key to the Trump presidency is its malice. Trump daily mocks Lincoln’s noble intent: “with malice toward none”. There is now not a country or region in the world untouched by Trumpite malice, defined as the irrational desire to do … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, International Affairs, Politics | 4 Comments

JOHN MENADUE. Afghanistan – the graveyard of empires and the opium poppy.

They have all failed to conquer Afghanistan – the Greeks, Indians and more recently, the British in the mid 19th Century and the Soviets in the late 20th Century. And now the US empire is failing to subdue the tribes … Continue reading

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