Wednesday 25 May 2022 | 23:04 | SYDNEY


Pacific president leaves a mark Down Under

In an influential Asian newspaper, Lowy Institute Director of Studies Andrew Shearer and distinguished American naval scholar Toshi Yoshihara comment on the implications for Japan of this week’s historic announcement of an expanded US military presence in Australia. Asahi Shimbun, 17 November

Plus ça change in Pacific politics

Just when the Pacific was looking relatively stable — a new and confident government in Papua New Guinea; Solomon Islands hoping a positive rating by the World Bank would improve investor confidence; Vanuatu\'s Prime Minister managing to hold on to his job continuously since May this

Reader riposte: Uranium and the India relationship

David Brewster responds to Richard Broinowski: I\'m not sure that Rory Medcalf suggested that the sale of Australian uranium to India is a panacea to the bilateral relationship — clearly it is not. However, the policy is a symbolic roadblock to improvements in the relationship,

India uranium: We're selling out our principles

Ron Walker is a former Chairman of the Board of Governors of the IAEA and author of the Lowy institute  Policy Brief \'Uranium for India\'.  Some oppose selling uranium to India because they are against uranium mining. My objection is quite different, as I support the policy

Reminder: Submit your China questions

A quick reminder of a post we ran last Friday from our two Beijing-based interviewers, Peter Martin and David Cohen. Peter and David have done a series of interviews for The Interpreter with Chinese thinkers, using your questions. You have until Thursday to submit questions for the

Uranium U-turn welcome, overdue

What a week in Australian foreign policy. Two days before President Obama\'s visit, which will likely mark a pivot to a truly Indo-Pacific strategic vision by Washington and Canberra, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has publicly declared her support for safeguarded uranium

Call for questions: China in Africa

Peter Martin and David Cohen are conducting a series of interviews, using reader-submitted questions, with Chinese academics and journalists. Previous installments in this series here. Next week, we will be talking to He Wenping at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences about Sino-

Fiji: Engagement is the only way

Iris Wielders is a freelance conflict prevention and peace building specialist. She lived in Fiji in 2007 and 2008. The Lowy Institute\'s work on Fiji has sparked some interesting debates in recent times. Reactions to the policy brief by Jenny Hayward-Jones have been polarised. The results of

The IAEA Iran report: China manoeuvres

Simone van Nieuwenhuizen is a Lowy Institute intern who recently completed a University of Sydney degree with majors in Chinese Studies and Arabic & Islamic Studies. All translations of Chinese-language articles referenced here are her own. For the US and Israel, this week\'s IAEA report

The polite revolution in Southeast Asia

The Economist\'s Banyan columnist makes an astute point: Another part of the world can also boast a year of transformative change: South-East Asia. Certainly, this has not been a full-blown spring as in the Middle East; the gains have been more modest, the shifts less obvious. But the forces

Asia literacy: The national security dimension

Greta Nabbs-Keller is writing a PhD at Griffith Asia Institute on the impact of democratisation on Indonesia’s foreign policy. There is a critical issue that has so far escaped much attention in the Interpreter debate about declining Asia literacy in Australia – the

Murder and mayhem on the Mekong

On 6 and 7 October the bodies of 13 Chinese were found floating in the Mekong where it flows past Chiang Rai province in Thailand\'s north. The bodies, blindfolded with hands bound and showing bullet wounds, were identified as the crews from two Chinese cargo boats making the journey down the

Reader riposte: Life is hard in Afghanistan

Dom writes: James,  I believe you are right in saying that it is too early to tell what these attacks mean. But, I have a few fundamental disagreements with your commentary. Firstly, the cited premise for your third argument (\'there is something in the particular relationship between

Three attacks, three explanations

There\'s been another incident overnight in Afghanistan involving Australian soldiers being attacked by an Afghan National Army colleague. This is the third time this year that Australian soldiers have been attacked in this manner, and comes only a week after seven soldiers were seriously wounded

Taiwan: Splitting the pan-blue vote?

Last month, I wrote a post about concerns on the pan-blue side of Taiwan politics (more inclined toward the cross-Strait status quo) about James Soong\'s plan to run in next year\'s presidential election and split the pan-blue vote, as happened in 2000. Rumours are rife of attempts on the

Reader riposte: Drones and civilians

Nic Maclellan: The Interpreter\'s debate on the use of drones for targeted attacks comes during the week when two young Pakistanis were killed by a Hellfire missile after attending a meeting to highlight the civilian death toll from drone attacks! For details, see this New York Times Op Ed and

India, US, Australia: Stronger together

The term \'Indo-Pacific\' has crept into the international relations vocabulary of late. Lowy Institute scholars have started adopting this term, and it appeared in Hillary Clinton\'s recent Foreign Policy essay on \'America\'s Pacific Century\'. It\'s also a conceptual building-block for a

Reader riposte: The limits of machine translators

Aidan Dullard: Cameron\'s point about the increasing sophistication of technology like Google Translate is often seen as the death-knell for professional translators and interpreters; as machine translation gets more accurate and more widely available, the need for human translators will

China hasn't yet grown into its role

Raffaello Pantucci is a Visiting Scholar at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences. Alexandros Petersen was a nonresident senior fellow with the Atlantic Council\'s Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center. It was a grim, grey Beijing morning as we fought with our taxi driver and traffic to make it to a

Shared goals, converging interests: a plan for US-Australia-India cooperation in the Indo-Pacific

In this major new report launched on 4 November, scholars from the Lowy Institute, the Heritage Foundation and the Observer Research Foundation identify common challenges and opportunities facing Australia, India and the United States in the Indo-Pacific region. The report notes that Australia-India

Fixing the international architecture of aid

Peter Baxter is Director General of AusAID. Hear his recent Lowy Institute speech here. What we do at AusAID is hard work. If there was a simple template for development we would have been using it already. We allocate our funds and efforts based on need, our capacity to make a difference,

Reader riposte: Digital interpreters

Cameron Crouch writes: A quick thought in relation to The Interpreter\'s ongoing debate about Australia\'s Asia literacy: do advances in machine translation reduce the need for Australians to learn Asian languages? The notion that Google Translate can already speak \'57 languages as well as a 10

Australia Asia literacy wipe-out

Tim Lindsey is an ARC Federation Fellow and Director of the Asian Law Centre at the University of Melbourne. It\'s been coming for years, but it looks Australia\'s Asia literacy wipe-out may now have arrived. In October, The Sydney Morning Herald reported that NSW has just reported its

East Timor and me: A response to Noam Chomsky

Gareth Evans (pictured) was Australian foreign minister from 1988 to 1996. Noam Chomsky, in Sydney on 2 November, repeated his familiar attack on my handling, as Australia\'s foreign minister from 1988-96, of relations with Indonesia over East Timor. It is one that he, along with his

Smashing the people smugglers' business model

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. The \'business model of migrant smuggling\' was developed by me and a few colleagues at the Migration Research Unit at University College

Singapore should get credit for the G-20

Michael Gaskin is a Lowy Institute intern and PhD candidate in international relations at the University of Sydney. The University of Toronto\'s history of the G20, which Sam refers to in his post, was commissioned by the South African Chair in 2007 and was presented at the G20 meeting that year;

Do Australian schools teach our kids anything about Southeast Asia?

The point Andrew makes about building demand for Asian language study first is absolutely crucial. The Gillard Government\'s discontinuation of funding for Asian language teaching in Australian schools last budget laid to rest a 20-year experiment with top-down, government-led Asia literacy.

You won't see THIS on HMAS Collins

That\'s a Russian sailor in the foreground:  (Found at Key Aviation Forum, though happy to update this attribution if someone has a fair claim to the images

Burma-China: Another dam puzzle (part 2)

Andrew Selth is a Research Fellow at the Griffith Asia Institute. Part one of this post here. If past practice is any guide, Burmese President Thein Sein is probably trying to satisfy a number of aims, and send signals to several different targets, in announcing his decision to

Reader riposte: A business case for Asia literacy

Kathleen Kirby, Executive Director of Asialink and Asia Education Foundation writes: Geoff Miller asks if there is a jobs pay-off for Asia literacy? The Australian Industry Group and Asialink undertook a survey this year to better understand Australian business preparedness for doing

Burma-China: Another dam puzzle (part 1)

Andrew Selth is a Research Fellow at the Griffith Asia Institute. Over the past 20 years, Burma has developed a close relationship with China. It thus came as a shock when President Thein Sein announced in late September that he had suspended construction of the massive Myitsone dam

Sihanouk: The great survivor turns 89

There surely is no greater survivor among international political figures of the past and present centuries than Norodom Sihanouk, now titled the King Father of Cambodia, who turns 89 today, or 90 by Cambodian reckoning. He returned to Phnom Penh last week after three months of

Asia literacy: Is there a jobs pay-off?

Geoff Miller is the former Director-General of the Office of National Assessments. Andrew Carr\'s article on the need to stimulate demand for Asian languages in Australian schools seems to me correct in raising the issue of supply and demand. But perhaps it doesn\'t raise the issue at a

Women who resisted the Arab Spring

In looking at the role of women in the Arab Spring it would be remiss not to touch on the spouses of autocratic rulers. Are they silent witnesses to the rule of their husbands? Are they partners in it? Or just beneficiaries? Looking outside the Arab world, few wives have suffered

5-minute Lowy Lunch: Indonesia rising

Indonesia\'s democratisation and economic development have been tremendously beneficial developments for Australia. But Josh Frydenberg, former senior adviser to Foreign Minister Alexander Downer and Prime Minister John Howard and now the Liberal Party member for the federal seat of

Asia literacy: Boost supply or demand?

One policy guaranteed to feature in the \'Australia in the Asian Century\' White Paper is the take-up of Asian languages by Australians. Yet, as my colleague Mark Thirlwell noted to me the other day, we need to think about whether this problem is one of supply or demand. Most reports argue

Through Chinese eyes: Zhu Feng (part 2)

Part 2 of an interview with Zhu Feng, an internationally renowned expert on North Korea and nuclear disarmament, byPeter Martin and David Cohen, using reader-submitted questions. Part I can be found here. (NB: An earlier post incorrectly implied that there would be no part 2; apologies for

Bali, our Asian dream and nightmare

It hasn\'t been a good month for those wondering how Australia will adjust to the Asian Century. The mere fact our foreign minister is active and busy at his job is treated, by default, as a bad thing. Meanwhile, the arrest of a 14 year-old Australian on drug charges in Indonesia set off a series

Lost and found in Java

Peter McCawley is a Visiting Fellow at the Indonesia Project, ANU, and former Dean of the ADB Institute, Tokyo. In the midst of the worrying reports coming out of Indonesia — such as deaths in Papua and the 14-year old boy arrested in Bali — here is an amazing

Thai floods reveal message for Australian business

Mark Carroll is the Executive Director of the Australian-Thai Chamber of Commerce. The views expressed are his alone and do not necessarily represent those of the Chamber or its members.    As the muddy flood waters in Thailand recede, they will reveal just how important the Thai

Women in the Arab Spring (part 3)

Co-authored by Grace Williams, an intern in the West Asia Programme Lowy Institute and student of Arab and Islamic Studies at the University of Sydney. Part 1 of this series; part 2. Egypt\'s women have been a focus of media attention in the Arab Spring, but women have a long history of activism in