Author Archives: Mack Williams

Mack Williams

About Mack Williams

Mack Williams former Ambassador to the Republic of Korea.

Trump pressures South Korea over China

When most around the world had battened down the hatches for a rough ride through the last days of the US Presidential election campaign, the Republic of Korea (ROK) has become seriously preoccupied again with the Trump administration.

Posted in Asia, Politics | 2 Comments

Biden’s Foreign Policy : Make America the Leader Again !

In an essay in the prestigious US publication “Foreign Affairs”, the Democratic candidate, Joe Biden, sets out a broad set of his foreign policy objectives should he win the US presidency in November. The title – “Why America Must Lead … Continue reading

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Payne and Reynold’s collision course with China

Ministers Payne and Reynolds have presented their brief for the AUSMIN20 discussions in Washington for which the scene has been set by a series of aggressive anti-China speeches by Secretary of State Pompeo and other senior US ministers.

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Range of options for Kim Jong-un in the lead up to US elections

As the weeks tick over towards the US elections in November and doubts grow about President Trump’s prospects, the main stakeholders in the North Korean denuclearisation problem are having to reassess their options. All of which is making for a … Continue reading

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South Korea and the G7 – some tricky issues

Recent months have seen little sign of any development in the US: DPRK relations but a lot has been happening in the peninsular – through piecing the jigsaw together continues to be challenging.

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MACK WILLIAMS. Cost/Benefit Analysis of the Morrison Covid19 “proposal”

Assuming that the WHA will pass its “Covid Response A73/CONF./1” Resolution now that President Xi has declared his support in his surprise personal address, which will have influenced widespread endorsement from developing countries, Australia needs to take a very serious … Continue reading

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MACK WILLIAMS. Covid-19, China and the WHO: Quo Vadis Australia?

A long time American UN observer in the US publication Foreign Policy ( “ WHO Becomes Battleground as Trump Chooses Pandemic Confrontation over Cooperation” 29 April 2020) has claimed that “fighting the coronavirus has become secondary as the US seeks … Continue reading

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MACK WILLIAMS. International implications of landslide Korean elections

The spectacular success of President Moon’s party in the recent parliamentary elections has some important international implications as well as those for the South Korean domestic political scene.

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MACK WILLIAMS. North Korea. Has Trump lost the plot?

The stalemate between the US and the DPRK has dragged on past the Kim Jong-un’s end of 2019 deadline.

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MACK WILLIAMS. Alliance management ” It’s the elections now…stupid”!

The New Year has confirmed that the US Presidential election cycle is up and running and will pick up speed soon to dominate all forms of political discussion in the US until November. To paraphrase that old American cliché : … Continue reading

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MACK WILLIAMS. North Korea: the clock is ticking – but just?

There have been a few developments since the abortive Hanoi Summit but overall little of substance has changed.

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MACK WILLIAMS. The CSIS report on Iran’s missile program

In The Iranian Missile Threat, published by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (Washington DC: 30 May 2019), Anthony Cordesman examines Iran’s view of the threat, the problems in military modernization that have led to its focus on missile … 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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MACK WILLIAMS. Alliance Management- Morrison’s First Challenge : Iran

The past week of the Australian-US Ministerial Consultations (Ausmin) talks has presented the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, and his inexperienced ministerial  team with the first serious test of how to manage the US alliance relationship. Despite the very difficult contemporary … Continue reading

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MACK WILLIAMS Britannia Quo Vadis ?

Boris Johnson could hardly have chosen a more inauspicious moment to take over the reins in London with Whitehall in the death throes of a Prime Minister, the seemingly inevitable surge to a “no deal” Brexit plus the disrobing of … Continue reading

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MACK WILLIAMS : Korea : Just what did the DMZ Reality TV show add up to ?

After the enormous Reality TV coverage of the hastily arranged Trump:Kim meeting at the DMZ and the wads of media commentary afterwards,have the prospects of an eventually peaceful Korean peninsular been enhanced? To a large extent the jury is still … Continue reading

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MACK WILLIAMS. Iran : Coalition of the less than willing !

The spectacle of Prime Minister facing the “full court press” from President Trump and his team across the dinner table in Osaka starkly demonstrated how G20 Osaka was to be Morrison’s real initiation to the global arena. As the Iran … Continue reading

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MACK WILLIAMS . North Korea : The tangled web becomes more so !

That the past few months have seen no real progress towards the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula is not all that surprising given the swirling global environment demanding priority attention for President Trump and other key stakeholders. Post mortems of … Continue reading

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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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MACK WILLIAMS. Australia and the United States more than joined at the hip?

The recent Morrison Budget and the subsequent public commentary had precious little new to add to policy debate about future foreign policy directions for Australia other than to cut again our overseas aid budget – to an accumulated 27% since … Continue reading

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MACK WILLIAMS : The Hanoi Summit and aftermath – a South Korean perspective

Special Advisor to President Moon assesses the Hanoi Summit as not a failure but a setback. China and the ROK continue to agree the need for a US:DPRK agreed roadmap to move past the present stalemate towards the longer term … Continue reading

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MACK WILLIAMS. Bolton’s Syria “Fix” ?

The international focus on the failed Hanoi Summit and affairs Korean has diverted attention from the looming issues in Syria as the IS caliphate ‘disappears’. Media commentary around the shrinking IS presence on the ground in Syria and the significant … Continue reading

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MACK WILLIAMS. The Second Trump:Kim Summit – Just another step along the way?

Amid all the media speculation feeding off Trump’s own optimistic commentary and resolute scepticism of many long term Korea watchers there are some recent glimmers of very limited progress emerging from the Hanoi Summit. After a late start, the lead … Continue reading

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MACK WILLIAMS : Chinese view of Second Trump:Kim Summit

Given the key role which President Xi has played in the negotiating process between President Trump and Chairman Kim a recent analysis in the Global Times (published by the People’s Daily) provides some valuable Chinese insights into the prospects for … Continue reading

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MACK WILLIAMS North Korea : What can another Trump:Kim Summit achieve?

President Trump’s announcement of a second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in late February at an agreed but as yet unspecified location ( probably Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh) has reactivated interest in the search for a resolution … Continue reading

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MACK WILLIAMS. Pine Gap: Cabinet Papers.

Lost in the flurry of media comment on the Cabinet papers released on 1 January was an extremely important( if not the most) submission formerly highly classified and titled as “Establishment of a Joint Australia-United States Relay Ground Station at … Continue reading

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MACK WILLIAMS. Trump: Beginning of end or end of beginning?

Following the major Republican defeat in the US mid-term elections, President Trump has accelerated preparations for his 2020 re-election replacing “Make America Great Again” with  “Keep America Great” as the theme. This will put more pressure on achieving his initial … Continue reading

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MACK WILLIAMS. North Korea: second fiddle?

Not surprisingly North Korea was relegated by the US:China “tariff war” in the recent G20 summit in Buenos Aires but some progress may have been made in preparing for the next phases of US:DPRK and ROK:DPRK dialogues. China also made … Continue reading

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MACK WILLIAMS. Australia-US Defence Relationship: Are we in the “prudent planning“ phase already?

The publication by the ABC of a previously highly classified analysis of the ADF’s logistic problems in the early phase of Gulf War 11 has shed some critical light on the process by which Australia joined in that war. It … Continue reading

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MACK WILLIAMS. New Cold War: Just how independent can Australia be ?

As renewed discussion grows pace in Australia about being less dependent on the United States in any Cold War against China how realistic is that option? For one thing we would need to loosen some of the linkages which have … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, World Affairs | 2 Comments