Category Archives: International Affairs

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

Posted in Asia, International Affairs | 7 Comments

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

Posted in Asia, International Affairs | 1 Comment

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

Posted in Defence/Security, International Affairs | 1 Comment

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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ROBERT FISK. The Evidence we were never meant to see about the Douma Gas Attack. (Counterpunch, 27 May 2019)

We like to take the Big Boys on trust. No longer do we believe in our meretricious little leaders with their easy lies and twitters: the Trumps and Mays and now all the nationalists of Europe. We certainly don’t put … Continue reading

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JAMES LAURENCESON, MICHAEL ZHOU. Small Grey Rhinos: Understanding Australia’s Economic Dependence on China (Australia-China Relations Institute)

  Australia lives with an acute ‘fear of abandonment’. In security terms this fear has underpinned Australian foreign policy settings for decades. Recently, doubts about the reliability of the United States as Australia’s security guarantor have sent Australian government ministers … Continue reading

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STEPHEN ROACH. What comes next in the US–China trade war? (East Asia Forum)

The escalation of tit-for-tat tariffs between the United States and China is now in the danger zone. Surely, reason will ultimately prevail. At least that is the common refrain in the echo chamber, especially in light of the dark history … Continue reading

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CAVAN HOGUE. Business as Usual in the World.

Australia’s vote in the UN on the Diego Garcia issue suggests there will be no change in our Government’s approach to foreign policy.

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STUART REES China, Hong Kong & Australia’s Love of Authoritarianism

In relations with China, Australia’s support for human rights faces a demanding test. Human Rights Watch reports that in areas of free expression and political participation, oppression in Hong Kong has increased to the worst level since the 1989 Tiananmen … Continue reading

Posted in International Affairs, Politics | 3 Comments

ANDREW FARRAN. Brexit – the final breaking point awaits?

After a brief break the Gods got stirring again and it is only a matter of time before the British political system to all intents and purposes can be said to have gone irretrievably mad. Or can that yet be … Continue reading

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NEIL IRWIN. Australia and the US are old allies. China’s rise changes the equation. (New York Times 11.5.2019)

Economic geography is proving more significant than historical alliances. 

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JULIAN CRIBB. On the Need for an Earth Standard Currency.

In an age of existential emergency, when the future of human civilization depends on how successfully we manage to solve the ten global threats which are of our own making and which now confront us all, it is important for … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, International Affairs | 4 Comments

NATHAN GARDELS. “Huawei to Hell” recalls Toshiba threat. (The World Post 11.5.2019)

The US was able to coerce Japan on trade, but China will be much harder to coerce.   

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CLIVE KESSLER. A Malay game of thrones (East Asia Forum)

As in earlier constitutional struggles in 1983 and 1993, Malaysia’s federal government under Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad is confronting the royal power and claimed prerogatives of the traditional rulers of the federation’s nine sultanate states.

Posted in Asia, International Affairs, Politics | 1 Comment

DUNCAN GRAHAM Hungry for a result in the Indonesian election?

The differences are stark. When Labor lost Bill Shorten quit and said: ‘Now that the contest is over, all of us have a responsibility to respect the result, respect the wishes of the Australian people and to bring our nation … Continue reading

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JOHN FITZGERALD. Reply to Bob Carr

Writing on this blog on 13 May, Bob Carr took me to task for not saying and not writing a good many things, particularly about Chinese Australians. This debating technique is new to me. As a rule, debaters rebut what … Continue reading

Posted in International Affairs | 6 Comments

MACK WILLIAMS . North Korea : Any movement?

North Korea has been squeezed out of the media headlines in the months since the Hanoi Summit between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un failed to achieve a breakthrough in February. This has been a factor both of … Continue reading

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RAMESH THAKUR. Sanctions – a follow-up

Several people have written seeking clarification and explanation of some of my arguments in my previous article on sanctions, published here on Friday 10 May. The academic literature on the success and effectiveness of sanctions is in something of a … Continue reading

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RICHARD BUTLER Iran: Another US War by Choice

The character and political needs of President Trump and the obsessions of John Bolton are coalescing towards US action directed at regime change in Iran. The reasons given for the current increase in US military deployments in the Persian Gulf … Continue reading

Posted in International Affairs | 11 Comments

THOMAS FRIEDMAN. Has Our Luck Run Out? (New York Times)

Most crucial problems today are global in nature and can be dealt with only by a global coalition.

Posted in International Affairs | 3 Comments