Tuesday 05 Jul 2022 | 07:33 | SYDNEY


Asian order: Realist or idealist?

Peter Layton's response to my post on Kevin Rudd's Pax Pacifica ends our blogging year on an appropriate note, reminding us of how momentous the issues are that we face in Asia's strategic future. Two quick points in response. First, I don't think the evidence justifies Peter's hope that Rudd

Reader riposte: More on a N-free Middle East

Tzvi Fleischer goes another round in our debate about a nuclear-free Middle East: I thank Sam Roggeveen for his thoughtful reply to my points, responding in turn to his original post, but I believe he elides my most important point: lack of faith in compliance with a 'regional agreement banning

Okinawa and the demoralisation of Japan

Former Fairfax correspondent Hamish McDonald joins the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific next year as a visiting fellow. Just over three years ago the Japanese tried to break out of the cage that looked to be condemning them to a stagnating economy, declining population, and rising friction with

Reader riposte: Rudd Pax Pacifica

Peter Layton writes: Hugh White praises Kevin Rudd's latest speech on a future Asian order but maybe goes a little too far in saying Kevin is converging on Hugh's concert of powers concept. There seems a fundamental underlying difference between Kevin and Hugh's proposed models. Hugh's starts

President Park: A chance for Korean peace

Dr Emma Campbell is a Korea Institute Postdoctoral Fellow at the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, ANU. Failure is unequivocally the most appropriate description for the international community's cumulative efforts to bring North Korea into the international fold. Last week North Korea

Kevin Rudd Pax Pacifica

One less noted development in Australian foreign policy this year has been the evolution of Kevin Rudd's ideas on the future of the Asian order and the US-China relationship. Since an address to the Asia Society in New York in January, Rudd has delivered a series of speeches around the world in

PNG: The six billion kina question

Graeme Smith is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the China Studies Centre, University of Sydney and a Visiting Fellow with the State, Society and Governance Program in Melanesia Program, ANU. When I penned Are Chinese Soft Loans Always a Bad Thing? for The Interpreter in March there seemed little

Syria: Canada sensible independence

I like the independence of Canadian policy in the Middle East on some big issues. Exhibit A has to be the decision to refuse to join the US-led invasion of Iraq. Canadian independence of action is once again on display over the question of Syria. When President Obama gave the Syrian opposition

Burma: Eyes on the prize

Andrew Selth is a Research Fellow at the Griffith Asia Institute. Last Friday, Foreign Policy magazine named Burma's President Thein Sein (pictured) and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi as the two top global thinkers for 2012. On the same day, Thein Sein was named Asian of the Year by the

Japan election: First takes

As with the last lower house election in Japan in 2009, a change of government was widely expected well in advance of yesterday's poll. But as was also the case in 2009, what was surprising was the size of the swing away from the ruling party. The LDP, with its long-standing coalition partner

The prospect of a North Korean ICBM

As usual, most commentary on North Korea's rocket launch last week focuses on the politics and diplomacy of Pyongyang's delinquency. But it is worth exploring the strategic implications more specifically. These are significant, but not straightforward. The apparently successful launch of a three-

Reader riposte: Missing the bus to China

Sinclaire Prowse, a postgraduate student at the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, writes: Julia Gillard’s opinion piece in the Australian yesterday, 'We'll follow Whitlam’s way on China', is a further example of the late arrival of the current Australian government

Burma police: The long road to reform

Andrew Selth is a Research Fellow at the Griffith Asia Institute and author of Burma's Police Forces: Continuities and Contradictions. Last week, television viewers in Burma were treated to a remarkable sight: the police force formally apologising for using excessive force to break up a protest

The case for a N-free Middle East

Below is an omnibus reply to Stephen Walt, Tzvi Fleischer, Crispin Rovere and Rodger Shanahan, who responded to my argument that Israel would actually be more secure in a nuclear-free Middle East. Thanks to all of them for laying bare some of the unspoken assumptions behind my argument, though I'm

China own goal: A 'normalised' Japan

The People's Republic of China's growing power, assertiveness and diplomatic imprudence is encouraging Japan's 'normalisation' by shifting domestic politics in Japan and regional views of Japan's proper security role. The two main parties and the most influential newcomer party, the

First Israel, then Iran, then...

While I agree that a nuclear-capable Iran may not be the world-ending scenario that some postulate (it depends on which side of the sword vs shield argument you take), I would add to the doubts expressed by Stephen Walt about Sam Roggeveen's case for Middle Eastern nuclear disarmament. Sam sees 

Managing environmental migration

Dr Khalid Koser is Head of the New Issues in Security Program at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy, and a non-resident Fellow at the Lowy Institute. Bloggers, government officials, academics, and radio interviewers have kindly (and in one or two cases, not so kindly) responded to my paper

Interview: Prime Minister Peter O'Neill

Senator Bob Carr is in Papua New Guinea this week on his first visit as Foreign Minister. He is attending the Australia-PNG Ministerial Forum and touring the Highlands region with his counterpart, the PNG Foreign Minister. Meanwhile, PNG Prime Minister Peter O'Neill has just concluded a six-

Life in Phnom Penh

A rather hyperactive time lapse video of Cambodia's capital, but maybe that's fitting for the place being depicted. (H/t TDW

More Middle East nukes, or none?

Andrew Sullivan agrees with Stephen Walt that an Iranian nuclear bomb would not be the disaster that many people suggest. Sullivan goes on to say that he's staggered that support for nuclear deterrence, once a mainstream position in the US, is now eschewed by both major parties in favour of the

PNG New Voices 2012

The summary report of the first ever PNG New Voices conference highlights the enthusiasm of Papua New Guinea’s young people to participate in debate about PNG’s economy and international outlook in the Asian century. Conference participants called for higher-quality leadership and the creation

More Sharp Talk from Papua New Guinea

Douveri Henao is from the Institute of National Affairs, Papua New Guinea. I have been following with interest the debate on this blog about the Pacific's digital future. In her new paper, Danielle Cave analyses PNG's Facebook discussion group Sharp Talk. I wanted to join this blog discussion and

Syria: The clouds darken for Assad

The focus on Gaza over the last two weeks shifted the spotlight away from Syria, but for those still watching, the momentum appears to be shifting towards the rebels.  The opposition appears to have redoubled its military and political efforts over the past few weeks. It is no coincidence that

Interview: Jeffrey Goldberg on the Israel-Hamas conflict

On Tuesday, Jeffrey Goldberg visited the Lowy Institute, where we recorded this discussion with our Executive Director Michael Fullilove. Jeffrey Goldberg is a national correspondent for The Atlantic, writing primarily on Arab and Israeli politics. He has won numerous awards, including the

PNG new generation: An interview with Governor Julie Soso

In October I spent a week in Port Moresby interviewing some of PNG's newly elected MPs for the Lowy Institute's Leadership Mapping Project. This work continues our earlier survey work in PNG which was interrupted by the constitutional crises in late 2011 and early this year. The elections in June

A Pacific digital opportunity

Thanks to Dr Tess Newton Cain for giving me an opportunity to delve into a few details of my recent research paper Digital Islands. Firstly and briefly, in distinguishing between telecommunications 'liberalisation' and 'deregulation' in the Pacific Islands region, I don't want to get caught up in

Catching the Indonesia wave

Rawdon Dalrymple is a former Australian ambassador to Israel, Indonesia, the US and Japan. Surprisingly, Stephen Grenville's blog post, Keating on Indonesia, has not stirred up comment. Grenville, who has 40 years of involvement with Indonesia and this country's engagement with it, applauded Paul

Burma: The Man has met The Lady

Andrew Selth is a Research Fellow at the Griffith Asia Institute and author of United States Relations with Burma: From Hostility to Hope. To long time Burma watchers, and countless others, it was an astonishing sight, enthusiastically conveyed by the international news media: two of the world's

Can ICTs help manage Pacific urbanisation?

Gerard McCarthy is Project Manager (Asia-Pacific) at TechChange, based in Sydney. Keera Pullman is based in Darwin where she works for Esri Australia and volunteers for the Standby Taskforce. The past decade has seen rapid increases in urban dwellers across the Pacific. Recent analyses of this

Pivoting the map: Australia Indo-Pacific system

On 21 November  2012, Rory Medcalf gave a major public lecture to launch the new Centre of Gravity Series, the flagship policy papers of the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre of the Australian National University, Canberra. In recent years, the Asia-Pacific definition of Australia’s

China: The gulf between party and people

Kerry Brown is Director of the China Studies Centre and Professor of Chinese Politics at the University of Sydney, and Team Leader of the Europe China Research and Advice Network (ECRAN). At a little before noon on 15 November, I was sitting in the lobby of a hotel in Beijing, gazing at a TV

Keating on Indonesia

Bravo! We might have expected that Paul Keating would go beyond the anodyne in talking about the Asian Century. But when the Asian dialogue is dominated by China, it takes special panache to repeat the radical view he put forward as Prime Minister in 1994: 'no country is more important to

Drawing the wrong lessons from Timor

John Blaxland and Albert Palazzo are quite right: there was a clear risk in 1999 that escalation in East Timor could have led to serious combat. I'd disagree that this was something understood only by those in the field, and not by those of us in Canberra. On the contrary, some of us in Canberra

New leaders unlikely to be bold reformers

In an opinion piece in The Australian, Linda Jakobson, Program Director East Asia, writes that those who want to see China's leaders initiate bold reforms will probably be disappointed in the 'old' and 'conservative' Politburo Standing Committee

US budget deal and the rise of China

Bob Carr must be pleased, but also a little embarrassed. Bob Zoellick, Republican foreign-policy heavyweight, has used a line from Carr as the peg for a substantial essay in the latest issue of Foreign Policy about the future of American power. Unfortunately, the line was one that Romney used

China new leadership: A victory for Jiang Zemin and the princelings

Looking at the line-up of China's new leaders, two things stand out. First, Jiang Zemin, the 86-year old who was China's leader from 1989-2002, ought to be a very content man. Of the new seven-member Politburo Standing Committee (PSC), three owe political allegiance to Jiang, who almost literally

Journalism in the Asian century

Let the footnotes of history record that, in the week the Gillard Government published its Asian Century White Paper, Australian readers of The Economist saw on its cover a picture not of Barack Obama or Mitt Romney but of China's new leader, Xi Jinping. The campaign story, 'America on a knife-