Category Archives: World Affairs

An early test of strength in Indonesia

Just a year into its second five-year term, Indonesian President Joko Widodo’s government is under threat. Opposition is being powered by a hate group led by an incendiary preacher demanding the nation abandons democracy for a sharia state. How serious … Continue reading

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Japan as Australia’s anti-China ally?

Governments lie – WMD threats from Iraq, communist invasion threats from Vietnam…Now they say the threat is from China, and that this time they are telling the truth.

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The Biden Administration, China and Southeast Asia

With its mixture of arrogance, ignorance and browbeating, the Trump administration has left a dark cloud over US-Southeast Asian relations. But there is a silver lining. This nadir provides a low-hanging fruit of diplomatic success that the Biden administration can … Continue reading

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Australia-Japan and the Morrison/Suga Agenda. Do we share the values of Yoshihide Suga?

Most members of the Suga (and Abe) governments of 2012-2020 belong to rightist, cult type historical revisionist organizations committed to restoring the emperor’s role to its pre-war centrality.

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Brexit – denouement or disaster

As the process towards a post-Brexit agreement with the EU staggers towards its denouement (or otherwise) the gathering scene is looking increasingly bizarre. What has gone wrong to date is almost bound to go wrong again, as 31 December deadline … Continue reading

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Conspiracy Theories – The Big Con

There was a time, I’ll admit, when I thought that so-called conspiracy theories were quixotic, mildly interesting, and largely benign. Not any more.

Posted in World Affairs | 9 Comments

Boris spends big on defence and climate change

While facing what officials describe as a scary economic outlook with Britain’s finances in their worst state since World War II, Boris Johnson has announced a surge in public spending of over A$50 billion to combat climate change and modernise … Continue reading

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Henry Kissinger urges U.S. resumption of engagement with China

Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger on Monday called for Joe Biden to restore communication with China and warned that otherwise the world would suffer a catastrophe like World War I. 

Posted in China | 4 Comments

Biden plans to reopen America to refugees after Trump slashed admissions (NPR Nov 11, 2020)

President-elect Joe Biden has pledged to reassert America’s commitment to refugees after the Trump White House’s slashing of the resettlement program, part of the current president’s anti-immigration drive.

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An Australian Muslim view on atrocities committed in Afghanistan

There are widespread calls for investigations into atrocities committed by foreign forces engaged in Afghanistan for almost two decades following Australia’s public release of a shocking report on Thursday 19 November 2020 alleging unlawful killings of civilians by elite Australian … Continue reading

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Media in the Asian Century. The past week’s regional diplomacy passed through the media in a blur.

Drop-catching in Canberra China’s embassy in Canberra has belatedly woken up to the way things are done in our capital, it seems, and got into the business of “dropping” newsworthy material into the laps of selected press gallery members.

Posted in Asia, China | 2 Comments

Academic engagement with China is not a security risk: it is an investment in a shared more liberal world

The Foreign Relations (State and Territory Arrangements) Bill 2020 currently before the Parliament would require State and Territory entities to seek the approval of the Minister for Foreign Affairs for any proposed ‘arrangement’ with a ‘core foreign entity’; existing ‘arrangements’ … Continue reading

Posted in China | 3 Comments

Brace for impact: Back to wearing seat belts in relationship with China

China continues to bamboozle us every step of the way. But how we respond to the latest escalation is important. We must remember that our bipartisan position on China has served Australia well and that a political split is exactly what … Continue reading

Posted in China | Tagged | 39 Comments

A grog ban in Indonesia!

Hard hit by the pandemic, Indonesia is in recession. The government is desperate to revive the economy and draw overseas investors, particularly into the tourist industry which earned almost AUD 20 billion a year before Covid-19. So not the ideal … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, Politics | 2 Comments

Ignoring diplomatic advice with disastrous consequences

Remembering Harold David Anderson OBE AO David Anderson was a meritorious Australian who brought great distinction and much honour to his country. Anderson displayed strong ethical and moral courage in his realistic pessimism over Vietnam at a time when his … Continue reading

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Senior Trump Admin. official says politicians get ‘very rich’ by supporting Israel (Haaretz, Nov 14, 2020)

Douglas Macgregor, one of several Trump loyalists recently installed at the Pentagon, says the pro-Israeli lobby in the United States is trying to drag America into war.

Posted in World Affairs | 3 Comments

Where to now for Myanmar?

Two dysfunctional semi-democracies held national elections in the first week of November. The USA and Myanmar.

Posted in Asia, Politics | 1 Comment

Can it get worse after Trump?

When Joe Biden is in the White House and Donald Trump is back in his tower or at his resort, some things about the Trump years will be missed.

Posted in World Affairs | Tagged | 10 Comments

China’s marginal RCEP gains will not offset trade war impact on economy, studies show

Studies show the benefits of Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) will not outweigh the negative impact of the long-running US trade war on China’s economy. However, analysts agree the trade pact, which covers 30 per cent of the global economy, … Continue reading

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Peter Drysdale and Yongjun Zhang. How Australia and China can begin the great defrost

 Australia and China may find it helpful to look to Asian cooperation centred on ASEAN for the circuit-breaker needed to begin repair in their bilateral relationship.

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Australian charity in Indonesia can be a problem.

Until recently Indonesia presented itself to the West not as a Muslim country but through Bali, a land of smiling faces, exotic dancers, paradisiacal landscapes.

Posted in Asia | 3 Comments

The Biden Presidency and China: past, present, and future danger

The global sigh of relief that marked the end of the Trump era is hardly surprising. But Biden’s ascendancy warrants scrutiny, especially when we look at US-Sino relations and the potential for regional and global conflict.

Posted in World Affairs | 1 Comment

What’s the point of FTAs (including RCEP, with China?

With virtual fanfare the much heralded Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Regional_Comprehensive_Economic_Partnership was signed this weekend with the ten nation ASEAN group in addition to Australia, China, South Korea, Japan and New Zealand. As with the former 12 nation Trans … Continue reading

Posted in World Affairs | 4 Comments

The “Quad”: Security Cooperation Among the United States, Japan, India, and Australia Overview (Congressional Research Service Nov 2, 2020)

In October 2020, in the midst of a global pandemic, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his three counterparts from Australia, India, and Japan convened an in-person meeting in Tokyo.

Posted in World Affairs | 2 Comments

Asia-Pacific Nations Set to Sign Massive Regional Trade Deal (The Diplomat Nov 12, 2020)

The creation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership will leave the U.S. sitting on the outside of Asia’s two major free trade blocs.This  mega -pact includes China but not the USA.

Posted in Asia, World Affairs | 5 Comments

High drama in Downing Street – Dominic Cummings sacked

Aficionados of the award-winning Netflix royal drama The Crown can look forward to a treat this weekend as the latest series gets under way, said to be the bitchiest yet. Meanwhile, the Dominic Cummings show has been playing nightly to … Continue reading

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Korea : Biden a mixed blessing?

Seoul and Pyongyang are trying to fathom the implications of the Biden presidency for the Korean peninsula, while concerns remain about the damage Trump may yet do during his remaining time in office.

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Downfall of Hong Kong’s Gang of Four

When the Hong Kong government disqualified four members of the Legislative Council, prompting the resignation of all other pro-democracy legislators, the Council was effectively turned into a rubber stamp.

Posted in China | 3 Comments

The 8.1 Million Vote Landslide (CounterPunch Nov 11, 2020)

Some folks are seeing this election as a squeaker for Biden since we saw close races in key states. This has concealed the fact that Biden actually is winning the popular vote by a large margin. Since many votes are … Continue reading

Posted in World Affairs | 5 Comments

Can Biden deal with greatness, or white supremacy?

Biden’s political victory in the Presidential elections is only half the story. He now has the challenge of convincing almost half the American population that nostalgia for some mythical greatness based on white supremacy and religiosity is not in their … Continue reading

Posted in World Affairs | 6 Comments