Category Archives: International Affairs

DENISE FISHER. New Caledonia’s independence referendum

On 4 November, indigenous and some other longstanding New Caledonian residents will vote on the question “Do you want New Caledonia to accede to full sovereignty and become independent?” The referendum process will re-shape the role of France in the … Continue reading

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KATE MALTBY. What to Expect When a Woman Accuses a Man in Power.

Last week, the world gazed on as Dr. Christine Blasey Ford testified against a man backed by the strongest political forces in America. I couldn’t watch.

Posted in Human Rights, International Affairs | 2 Comments

SCOTT MORRISON. Speech at Chinese-Australian Community Event

This speech by Scott Morrison on 4 October 2018 does not seem to have been run anywhere in the mainstream media.  It is the most constructive statement from the government in a long time. Interestingly, the speech was posted on … Continue reading

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CAVAN HOGUE. Do we really need an American Ambassador? Or will Rupert Murdoch do?

Do we really need an American ambassador?  Ambassadors are paid to represent their own country, not ours, so what’s in it for us? Do we really need an imperial legate to keep us in line when we never get out … Continue reading

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STEPHEN COSTELLO. Who controls US policy on the Korean peninsula? (East Asia Forum, 5 October 2018)

Much has been made of the theatrical stand-off between North Korean Chairman Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump. But most signs show that the two could quickly reach a deal on how to move forward with DPRK denuclearisation and … Continue reading

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JANE PERLEZ. Pence’s China Speech Seen as Portent of a ‘New Cold War’ (New York Times, 05.10.18)

BEIJING — Vice President Mike Pence’s accusations in a stinging speech Thursday warning of a tougher approach toward Beijing may have been familiar to China’s leaders. But until now, such remarks were delivered in private, in fairly decorous terms, and … Continue reading

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WILLIAM BRIGGS The anti-China syndrome at work in far away Tasmania.

A little over a century ago, the world plunged into war. The call to nationalism, national identity and symbolism was carefully promoted. The conditions that created that war still echo. We see, today, an integrated global capitalism in contradiction to … Continue reading

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RAMESH THAKUR. President Moon Jae-in is driving the Korea peace train.

The Korean War is 68 years old. Despite a ceasefire in effect since 1953, the heavily militarized border is still patrolled by soldiers, ringed with barbed wire and covered in land mines. Almost seven decades of containing, isolating and embargoing … Continue reading

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GOOD READING AND LISTENING FOR THE WEEKEND

A regular collection of links to writings and broadcasts covered in other media.

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RAMESH THAKUR. China and New World Order. North Korea Part 4

The most acute contemporary manifestation of the demand on China to demonstrate responsible leadership is the challenge of North Korea’s nuclear weapons. Le Hong Hiep speculated on the prospect of a grand bargain between Trump and Xi when they met … Continue reading

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RAMESH THAKUR. China and New World Order. Rules Based Global Order Part 5

China recognizes that it has been a major beneficiary of the existing international order and it has proven to be a fast learner in operating as a responsible power within that order. Its primary goal therefore will not be to … Continue reading

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DUNCAN GRAHAM. When giving aid, be humble.

In 2015 then PM Tony Abbott sought to save the lives of two convicted heroin traffickers.  He reminded Indonesians that Australians had given $1 billion in emergency aid and rehabilitation following the 2004 Aceh tsunami, so please show mercy.  He … Continue reading

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MAX HAYTON. Jacinda Ardern stands for kindness and collectivism.

The New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, challenged the forces of isolationism, protectionism and racism in her speech to the United Nations General Assembly. 

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SAM BATEMAN. Understanding American Freedom of Navigation Operation(FONOP) in the South China Sea

The recent encounter between American and Chinese warships in the South China Sea could be the fore-runner of more serious incidents unless both parties show more restraint.

Posted in Asia, International Affairs | 3 Comments

GRAHAM FREUDENBERG. 80 years after Munich.

The 80th anniversary of the Munich Agreement passed without significant comment, although it was a pivotal event of the 20h Century. Perhaps it’s time for me to commit the ultimate political incorrectness and confess that I am a Municheer. I … Continue reading

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GRAHAM ALLISON. The Myth of the Liberal Order: From Historical Accident to Conventional Wisdom.

Among the debates that have swept the U.S. foreign policy community since the beginning of the Trump administration, alarm about the fate of the liberal international rules-based order has emerged as one of the few fixed points. From the international … Continue reading

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NILE BOWIE. The world according to Mahathir.

Malaysian premier is re-emerging as a strident yet pacifist spokesman for the non-aligned interests of the developing world.

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MARTIN WOLF. Donald Trump is wrong: China is not Mexico (Financial Times)

“When a country (USA) is losing many billions of dollars on trade with virtually every country it does business with, trade wars are good, and easy to win.” This tweet of March 2 set out the aims and means of … Continue reading

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RAMESH THAKUR. China and the New World Order. China–USA Part 2

Westerners may believe that the growing integration and interdependence of China with the regional and international economy makes armed conflict too costly to contemplate and that the Pacific military balance is so heavily in US favour that China would not … Continue reading

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ANDREW FARRAN. Fearing a Cold War with China!

There are fears that the Trump Administration may, with the urging of America’s military/business and security complex and support from middle America, extend its trade war with China into a new Cold War. This would be unlikely to gain substantive … Continue reading

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RAMESH THAKUR. China and World Order: Navigating the Thucydides and Kindleberger Traps Part 1

There have been two big geopolitical storylines thus far in this century: the US has suffered a relative decline from its dominant position at the end of the Cold War; and China has acquired impressive power in both relative and … Continue reading

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NICK BISLEY. The risks of a new Cold War between the US and China are real: here’s why (the Conversation, 26.08.18)

Donald Trump is making good on his trade war rhetoric with China, announcing tariffs on a further US$200 billion worth of goods from the PRC. As China promises retaliation, the warmth of the Mar-a-Lago summit of April 2017 is a … Continue reading

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HENRY REYNOLDS. Mateship Multiplied.

I was idly trawling through the many programmes available on the hotel’s television and came upon the History Channel. To my surprise there was a feature about what was called Australia’s 100 years of mateship with the United States although … Continue reading

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RAMESH THAKUR. Denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula: Explaining the Stalemate

With the conclusion of the third inter-Korean summit last week, the next challenge will be to find common understanding.

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NILE BOWIE. Mahathir has an Islam problem.

New premier wants Malaysia’s brand of Islam to reflect mercy, justice and compassion, a stance his conservative opponents have seized on as too soft and lenient. 

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AARON PATRICK. Did 41 Australian soldiers die in Afghanistan for a failed war? (AFR 27.9.2018)

Australia’s bloodiest war ended 100 years ago in melancholy victory. Australia’s most recent war may end in a delayed defeat, raising an awful question: what did 41 Australian soldiers die for?  

Posted in Defence/Security, International Affairs | 1 Comment

ANATLOE KALETSKY. The US Will Lose Its Trade War with China.

In handicapping the US-China conflict, Keynesian demand management is a better guide than comparative advantage. In principle, China can avoid any damage at all from US tariffs simply by responding with a full-scale Keynesian stimulus.

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CAVAN HOGUE. The Gospel according to St Donald.

It is hard to know whether to laugh or cry at Trump’s speech to the UNGA which saw him laughed at. He was clearly shocked that the unwashed masses didn’t understand that patriotism was superior to globalism whatever Dr Johnson … Continue reading

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GEOFF MILLER. The Moon-Kim Summit—what did it do, what did it amount to?

The Moon-Kim Summit in North Korea made some modest but significant achievements.  The two leaders seemed surprisingly at ease with each other.  How the meeting is assessed depends very much on the mind-set of the assessor, and what it achieves … Continue reading

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RAMESH THAKUR. America First or America Isolated: The Case of the International Criminal Court.

Donald Trump’s national security advisor, John Bolton, has acted on his long-stated distaste for the International Criminal Court by declaring it dead to the US Though a few of Bolton’s protestations have merit, the US is setting a dangerous precedent … Continue reading

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