Wednesday 25 May 2022 | 10:19 | SYDNEY


Gaza escalation a calculated risk

By killing Hamas' senior military commander in Gaza, Ahmad al-Jabaari, Israel is taking a calculated risk. Mostly, Israel and Hamas have an uneasy understanding. Hamas doesn't shoot at Israel and it tries to prevent other militant groups in Gaza from shooting at Israel; Israel, in turn, refrains

East Timor: Good planning or good luck?

Dr Peter Dean is a Fellow at the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, ANU. Hugh White, writing in response to Al Palazzo and Jeffrey Grey, has questioned the use of East Timor as an example of the limitations of the ADF to undertake operations at this time. In response I offer a quote from Dr Bob

An absurd defence of communist rule

Daniel Bell, a Canadian who teaches political science at Tsinghua, one of China's most prestigious universities, has of late been rattling foreign China watchers with his commentary about alternatives to democracy in China. Bell claims that because democracy is flawed as an ideal, China's

China Party Congress linkage

Edward Kus helped to put this post together. Zhang Lifeng, Editor in Chief of the Financial Times Chinese language website, asked his Weibo (Chinese Twitter) followers what question they most want to ask at the 18th Party Congress press conference. See some of the more than 600 replies. the WSJ

Stealth in Beijing

In an opinion in the Indian Express on China's military modernisation, Sam Roggeveen, Editor of  the Lowy Institute's weblog The Interpreter, writes that analyses of aircraft carriers and jet fighter designs such as China's newest stealth fighter aircraft give us hints of China

Asian century: Careful what we wish for

With more than 50 years spent studying, writing about and living in Asia for extended periods, I am at the forefront of those convinced of the need for greater engagement with Asia. So I welcome the release of the Australia in the Asian Century White Paper as a wish list of some of the things our

US must stay engaged in Asia

In an invited opinion piece in The Straits Times, Lowy Institute Visiting Fellow Hugh White writes on the power relationship between China and the United States in Asia's strategic future

Documentary trailer: Camp 14

The use of animation brings to life the story of a North Korean defector who was born inside a 're-education camp'. The interviews with former North Korean prison guards look absolutely chilling. If readers have details about where and when this film is due to be screened in Australia, please

Melbourne fireworks from PLA general

Visiting PLA Lieutenant-General Ren Haiquin offered some stern thoughts on Asian security during a speech at the Chief of Army's annual conference in Melbourne last week. Though the overall tone of the speech wasn't quite as dire as you might think from this report, it certainly laid down some

Xayaburi dam to go ahead

Finally, after months of equivocation, the Lao Minister for Energy and Mining, Viraphon Viravong, announced on 5 November that the Vientiane government will proceed with its plans to build the controversial dam at Xayaburi (pictured), roughly midway between Luang Prabang and Vientiane. A ceremony

Why the Chinese Communist Party Congress is so important

The 18th Chinese Communist Party Congress that starts on 8 November is a landmark event, says the Lowy Institute's East Asia Program Director Linda Jakobson in a short video primer on the meeting. Not only will a new general secretary be chosen but two thirds of the country's top decision

Bob Carr Arab democracy conundrum

Australia's successful ascent to the UN Security Council will require it to address issues it had previously been happy to simply let pass by. One of these is the increasingly hypocritical attitude Western states have adopted towards democratisation in the Middle East.  While I was taught many

Asian Century: Marker, map and menu

Australia has shifted a long way beyond the comforting promise that it could engage with Asia without having to change itself.  The Asian Century White Paper enshrines the understanding that much in Australia must be transformed. The White Paper is a map identifying 25 important roads with some

White Paper: Searching for Southeast Asia

Associate Professor Michele Ford is Director of the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre. It's great to see Indonesia identified as one of five key Asian nations, and Indonesian one of four priority languages, in the Australia in the Asian Century White Paper, not least because I teach Indonesian

Reader ripostes: Asian Century White Paper

Below, a comment from Alex Jones, but first, Sinclaire Prowse, a postgraduate student at the US Studies Centre, University of Sydney, writes: An under addressed topic of discussion on the Asian Century White Paper is the implications it holds for the future of Australia's relationship with the

Afghanistan? We're against it, sort of

It's not often you hear Australia's combative Opposition Leader Tony Abbott be this generous to the Government: I rise to support the comprehensive statement of the Prime Minister and I welcome this chance to express the Coalition’s support...  ...I welcome the Prime Minister’s commitment

What can Australia learn from Afghanistan?

Thomas Lonergan served in Afghanistan with the ADF. A remarkable event occurred in Afghanistan this month when Australia took command of coalition forces in Uruzgan province, Afghanistan. This is remarkable for at least three reasons. First, Australian governments of both political

Asian Century White Paper: Defence WP preview?

Dr Andrew Carr is an Associate Lecturer in Strategic and Defence Studies at the ANU and a former Assistant Editor of The Interpreter. While the Australia in the Asian Century White Paper is largely focused on economics, there is a chapter on security which may give us some insight into the

Asian Century media coverage

The contrast between how broadsheet and tabloid newspapers covered the launch of the Asian Century White Paper on Sunday is telling. The Australian gave it saturation coverage and rolled out its big columnists to provide analysis. The Sydney Morning Herald also provided front-page coverage and

Rebuilding Australia diplomatic network...when circumstances allow

Two significant reports have been released in the past two days which, if their recommendations are followed, should have a considerable impact on the health of Australia's diplomatic network: Sunday's White Paper on Australia in the Asian Century and the report released yesterday by the Joint

Asia White Paper: Process and politics

Taste the Asian Century White Paper from the perspectives of process and politics. The machinery stuff (the process) is always interesting in Canberra, and usually revealing. If this had been the Henry Review instead of a White Paper it would have been bigger, bolder, broader, and almost

Reader riposte: Science in the Asian century

Tony Healy writes: While I commend the PM for the ambition in her speech, I think she misses the point. The core cultural expertise we need over the next 50 years if we are to maintain the respect of Asian nations and prosper will be in using science. Our English heritage has given us a slight

Asian Century: Life in the slipstream

What is there not to like about the White Paper on the Asian Century? It is above all a feel-good document: historically we have done well in our relationships with Asia; we have the advantage of proximity; a large component of our population is of Asian descent; we are well equipped with relevant

What the Asian Century White Paper means for our ties with Indonesia

The relationship with Indonesia is one of six the Government determines as crucial to Australia's future in the new Australia in the Asian Century White Paper. The priority placed on Indonesia mirrors regular Government statements about the importance of bilateral ties and the need to further

Ad campaign for the 'real Singapore'

A footnote to my musings of yesterday about favourite Southeast Asian cities. I gave Singapore high marks on my Order/Chaos index, and this is consistent with the conventional wisdom about the place: clean, pleasant, modern, highly urbanised but also authoritarian and occasionally brutal ('

Ai Weiwei covers Gangnam Style

Just when you thought Gangnam Style might have peaked, it gets a boost from Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei, who has released his own version of the hit South Korean pop song on YouTube, with a decidedly political edge. The NY Times explains: The artist, who mimics the mock horse-riding

PNG New Voices: Right place, right time

By Annmaree O'Keeffe, Danielle Cave and Jenny Hayward-Jones, from the Lowy Institute's Melanesia program.    The idea to hold the New Voices conference in Port Moresby began as a crazy thought by the Lowy Institute's Melanesia Program team and turned out to be a winner. We hope it will

Myanmar reforms: The record so far

Trevor Wilson is a Visiting Fellow with the Department of Political and Social Change at ANU. Eighteen months have passed since Myanmar's political transition began and its new president, Thein Sein, set about a process of far-reaching reform. Most observers, including the people of Myanmar,

Your favourite Southeast Asian city?

Just found this nice little time-lapse video of Kuala Lumpur by day and night, which gives me the opportunity to present my personal theory of how to rank Southeast Asia's capitals. If I rank the four Southeast Asian capitals I have visited on an order/chaos index, Singapore obviously ranks

New developments in Indonesia death penalty debate

Two encouraging developments regarding the death penalty have come to light in Indonesia in the past week. First, it has emerged that President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono granted clemency to four people on death row for narcotics crimes and reduced their sentences to life imprisonment. These

Syria: How not to cut the Gordian knot

If any more evidence was needed about the difficulty of finding a solution to the ongoing fighting in Syria, then the last few weeks have provided some excellent examples.  For Assad's backers such as Iran, the situation is pretty straightforward.  Provide the core government forces with weapons,

Can people power save Indonesian democracy?

Greta Nabbs-Keller is writing a PhD at Griffith Asia Institute on the impact of democratisation on Indonesia's foreign policy. The current political climate in Jakarta, marked by a president eager to avoid upsetting powerful constituencies ahead of the 2014 elections and a notoriously corrupt

The remarkable odyssey of Norodom Sihanouk, the great survivor

The death of Norodom Sihanouk, the 'King Father' of Cambodia, in Beijing at the age of almost 90, brings to an end one of the most remarkable lives among the Asian leaders who emerged after the Second World War. Placed on the throne by the French in 1941 at the age of 19, Sihanouk initially served

Death of a survivor: Norodom Sihanouk

The news of the death of Cambodia's Norodom Sihanouk, the country's 'King Father', brings to an end one of the most remarkable lives among the Asian political leaders who emerged into prominence following the Second World War. Born in 1922, he would have turned 90 at the end of this month.

Believe in miracles: why the 2013 Malaysian elections may surprise

While I was travelling in the US recently, I was fortunate enough to speak with Sidney Jones, the International Crisis Group's senior adviser on Asia. Sidney is at the University of California in Berkeley researching, amongst other things, land disputes in Asia. Sidney has a new paper on the

The Bali Bombings, 10 years on

Today marks 10 years since the 2002 Bali bombings, Indonesia's worst terror attack, in which 202 people were killed. At memorial services, commemorations, or in private, many people will pause today to remember and reflect. In today's Australian Financial Review, I look at Indonesia's response to

The ADF and the Afghan army: A question of command (2)

Tom Hyland is a freelance journalist and former foreign editor of The Age and The Sunday Age. The need for a clear command structure when Australians patrol with Afghans was the subject of part 1 of this post. So-called 'green-on-blue' killings by Afghan soldiers of their foreign mentors –

On the road in Pakistan (2): Killer Mountain

Alicia Mollaun, a PhD candidate at the Crawford School at ANU, is based in Islamabad. This is the second of a three-part series on a journey to a remote corner of Pakistan: Part 1. Ask Australians what they think of when Pakistan is mentioned and many say terrorism, violence and Osama bin Laden

Policing Indonesia police

Indonesia's fight against corruption has revealed some of the best and worst of the nation over the past week. The Indonesian police have been the 'worst', through their brazen defiance, yet again, of efforts to combat high-level corruption within their ranks. When the nation's former top

Road map to a Bangsamoro in the Philippines

Steven Rood is The Asia Foundation's country representative in the Philippines and represents the Foundation as part of the International Contact Group for the GPH-MILF negotiations.  On Sunday, 7 October, Philippine President Benigno Simeon 'Noynoy' Aquino III, in a speech telecast