Thursday 11 Aug 2022 | 07:15 | SYDNEY


5-minute Lowy Lunch: The ASEAN way

Last Wednesday the Lowy Institute hosted distinguished historian Professor Nicholas Tarling, who spoke on the history of ASEAN. As you will hear from his full remarks, Professor Tarling takes his research all the way back to the pre-colonial period, though in our interview, we talked firstly

After Libya, what now for R2P?

Tim Dunne is a professor in the Asia Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, where Jess Gifkins is a doctoral candidate. They have co-authored \'Libya and the State of Intervention\', lead article in the current Australian Journal of International Affairs. Seven months after the UN

Cambodia sinking, and so is its tribunal

In keeping with the less than glacial pace at which the Khmer Rouge Tribunal has functioned (officially the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, or ECCC) since its formal establishment in 2006, it now seems probable that no verdict will be reached in relation to the four defendants in

Mahathir agrees he was a 'recalcitrant'

The word \'recalcitrant\' has been woven through the Australia-Malaysia relationship for two decades — denoting opposing views of Asia, middle power competition and clashing personalities. The shift beyond the recalcitrant era is illustrated by the Gillard Government\'s vain quest for

Diplomatic symbols: The Lodge

In preparing Australia for the Asian century, how Australia presents itself to the world — especially to visiting national leaders and diplomats — will be crucial. Symbols and diplomatic procedures will have to be considered and challenged. One change I\'d like to see to this end

Gilad Shalit is free, but there no escape for Israelis and Palestinians

The joy of most Israelis at the release of Gilad Shalit is giving way to anger about the condition in which he was released.  The images of a gaunt and weak Shalit (above), reportedly suffering from malnutrition and lack of exposure to natural light, contrast with images (below) of the

New Zealand: Better with Australia

Dr Andrew Butcher is Director of Policy and Research at the Asia New Zealand Foundation. There\'s one common thread in the recent series of reports commissioned by the Asia New Zealand Foundation about the views of New Zealand\'s regional neighbours on its place in Asia: New Zealand is

Hizbullah visits the Duma

The Arab Spring has presented even more dilemmas for Russia than it has for the West. Commercial considerations have to a large extent dictated its response to events, along with a desire to stymie advantages that may accrue to the West as a result of its interventions. Since acceding to the NATO-

Lowy Lecture Series: Southeast Asia - Professor Nicholas Tarling presentation

On 19 October 2011, in the Lowy Lecture Series, Professor Nicholas Tarling reviewed some of the legacies, actual and perceived, of the pre-colonial and colonial periods to the post-colonial period in Southeast Asia, and their relationship to the 'ASEAN Way'.Nicholas Tarling is a Fellow of the New

PNG Prime Minister breakthrough visit

The visit of new Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O\'Neill to Canberra last week represented something of a breakthrough in bilateral relations. O\'Neill brought nine cabinet ministers with him, who met with Australian counterparts in the 20th bilateral Ministerial Forum (pictured

Australia in Libya: Value for money?

Today marks seven months since NATO started bombing targets in Libya as part of the campaign to enforce a no-fly zone authorised by UN Security Council Resolution 1973. Australia is now the second largest state donor to the Libyan reconstruction effort, having committed $41.1 million from our

Afghanistan: A revealing army report

I\'ve just finished reading Colonel Peter Connolly\'s account of his time in command of the ADF\'s Second Mentoring and Reconstruction Task Force in Uruzgan between May and December 2009. \'Counterinsurgency in Uruzgan 2009\' reads a lot like an edited post-operation report and its great to see

Rudd raises the China rhetoric

Apologies for being a few days late to this, but since nobody else seems to have picked up on it, I wanted to point to Foreign Minister Rudd\'s speech to the Oxford Business Alumni on 13 October. He used what struck me as surprisingly strong language in listing China\'s ten ambitions for the

Through Chinese eyes: Zhu Feng

Interview with Zhu Feng, an internationally renowned expert on North Korea and nuclear disarmament, byPeter Martin and David Cohen. Peter and David are conducting a series of interviews with Chinese academics and journalists, using reader-submitted questions. Part II will come later this week

Taliban cracks Afghanistan fortress

The Panjshir Valley in Afghanistan, the PRT compound is located at the bottom left of the photo. All photos in this post by the author. The Taliban\'s attack on the Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) compound in Panjshir province over the weekend shows that, for the first time, there

Australia and South Korea have a free trade deal

Australia has achieved something with South Korea that it can\'t get with China or Japan –  a Free Trade Agreement. Marking the Australia-Korea dialogue in Canberra, the Foreign Minister, Kevin Rudd, told a dinner that the deal is just about done. Or in Rudd\'s words, the

What did the Quds Force agent say to the Mexican drug baron?

If it wasn\'t so serious, it would almost be funny. This week\'s revelation that the US has uncovered an Iranian Quds Force plot to kill the Saudi ambassador to the US — by using an Iranian-American failed used-car salesman to sub-contract out the task to a Mexican drug cartel —&

Kazakh-China Diary: Two roads

Konrad Muller is a former Australian diplomat and journalist. He and Anthony Bubalo are undertaking fieldwork for a new project examining Kazakh-China relations. Earlier posts in this series: post 1, post 2, post 3, post 4, post 5, post 6. As the two sides of the border-crossing had

Women in the Arab Spring (part 2)

One of the imponderables this early in the life of the Arab Spring is the degree to which the political upheavals will result in substantive, rather than cosmetic, improvements to women\'s political roles in the Arab world. My first post on this subject argued that, while women have invested in

Indonesia: Frustration and fantasies

Greta Nabbs-Keller is writing a PhD at Griffith Asia Institute on the impact of democratisation on Indonesia\'s foreign policy. I visited Indonesia recently, buoyed by its success. After all, Indonesia was experiencing impressive economic growth rates, spreading its diplomatic wings and

Kazakh-China Diary: Never stay at the Ili on a wedding night

Anthony Bubalo and Konrad Muller are undertaking fieldwork for a new project examining Kazakh-China relations. Earlier posts in this series here, here, here and here. Last Friday we left Almaty for Urumqi. The plan was to drive down to Zharkent, near the Chinese border, overnight

China calls me 'incompetent or stupid'

I have a few nicknames, but one of my more irregular ones, used by some Lowy colleagues, is \'totally pointless and unacceptable\'. I can thank a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman for that. Qin Gang used the expression to describe a paper I wrote on China\'s aid program (a paper which has

Kazakh-China Diary: How do you say 'oil' in Klingon?

Anthony Bubalo and Konrad Muller are undertaking fieldwork for a new project examining Kazakh-China relations. Earlier posts in this series here, here and here. Last week Kazakhstan held its two major annual energy conferences: Kazenergy in Astana and the Kazakhstan International Oil and Gas

Australia Asia strategy emerges

Does Australia have a strategy for dealing with the new Asia, especially the rise of China and India? This question is central to the Australian Government\'s recently-announced Asia policy review. Either we have a plan, in which the case the review can test, inform and refine it, or we don\'t

Your questions for Zhu Feng

Peter Martin is a political consultant based in Beijing. Along with David Cohen, he is conducting a series of interviews on behalf of The Interpreter with Chinese academics and journalists. In the next part of our interview series, we\'ll be speaking on 15

Bad spelling, murder and blasphemy

Alicia Mollaun, a PhD candidate at the Crawford School at ANU, is based in Islamabad. An accusation of blasphemy in Pakistan is the kiss of death. Anyone convicted of \'insulting Islam\' gets a mandatory death sentence. Even being seen to be sympathetic towards alleged blasphemers – say

World best diplomatic entrepreneurs

It\'s hard not to be impressed by the diplomatic entrepreneurship of some Pacific Islands countries. Just when the China-Taiwan diplomatic truce appeared to be closing off one income stream, the region has become a hotbed of competition over the recognition of Russian-backed breakaway states. 

For China, energy efficiency is the priority

Shen Dingli is Professor and Executive Dean of the Institute of International Studies, Fudan University. This is a response to Linda Jakobson\'s piece which asked whether President Putin\'s upcoming China visit would finally lead to a gas deal. China was not in a hurry to

Political football, the Australian way

To express the zeitgeist and schadenfreude of Oceania this week leads to only one topic – football. Australia didn\'t really engage with the tax summit in Canberra because its attentions and emotions had been spent on the two grand finals at the weekend. Concurrently, the rugby fest thunders

Women and the Arab Spring (part 1)

I promised to write a series of posts on women and the Arab Spring and this is the first, dealing with the role of women in the protest movements themselves.  The greatest difficulty in writing about women and the Arab Spring is to understand the degree to which they have been moving

Learning Arabic: Is it worth it?

Vanessa Newby is PhD candidate at the University of Queensland. As a student of the Middle East, I recently delved into Edward Said\'s classic, Orientalism. What struck me was that for all his disdain for Orientalists, Said makes mention of the fact that in the late nineteenth and

A China-Russia gas deal, at last?

With Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin arriving in China for a working visit on 11 October, the big question will be whether gas price negotiations between Russia and China will finally end in a concrete agreement that allows work on even one of the two much talked-about gas pipelines from

Lonely power, staying power

In the latest Strategic Snapshot, Dr John Lee, Adjunct Associate Professor and Michael Hintze Fellow in Energy Security at the University of Sydney, challenges a number of assumptions about the transformation of Asia’s security environment. Contrary to expectations, he argues, the United States

Kazakh-China Diary: About in Almaty

Anthony Bubalo and Konrad Muller are undertaking fieldwork for a new project examining Kazakh-China relations. Earlier posts in this series here and here. When we first arrived in Almaty the city seemed strangely devoid of taxis. We were soon told by a local why: \'every car is a taxi\'.

Freedom of speech in Fiji

Commodore Frank Bainimarama once famously told an Australian journalist that he did not trust the Fiji people. Apparently the Australian government doesn\'t trust them either. The Fiji people currently have no forum in which to have their voice heard, but on the one occasion they have

Déjà vu in Taiwan?

History from 2000 may repeat itself in 2012, due to the political choice of one man, James Soong. In 2000, the \'pan-blue\' (rock the cross-Strait status quo boat less) side of Taiwan politics lost the presidency. Despite gaining a clear majority, its vote was split between two candidates, James

Our strangely normal neighbour

The Australian relationship with Indonesia is being changed and challenged by the wonderful reality that these two extraordinarily different nations now share some central values. Indonesia and Australia largely agree on the golden norms of the modern global system, ranging from democracy and human

Tremble before China space power

Congratulations to AFP for pointing out that, in its latest \'great leap forward\' into space (that\'s the inevitable but historically tone-deaf pun on the ABC News homepage just now) China is merely emulating the Gemini program, commemorated above in a 1967 US postage stamp: China

Saying 'no' to the Nike doctrine

Prime Minister Gillard has announced an Asia White Paper, but Greg Sheridan and Crikey, in its daily editorial, are impatient. The PM doesn\'t need a White Paper to tell her that there are some obvious shortcomings in our approach to Asia, says Sheridan: At school and university

Reader riposte: Australia in World War II

Anton Kuruc writes: It is difficult to know what to make of Raoul Heinrichs\' latest post on Australia\'s long-term strategic culture of alliances. Whilst it is true that \'dependence\' is a choice, he should have at least considered what the other choice implies. Heinrichs asserts: \'If

Kazakh-China diary: Ablai Khan, train gauges and a piece of paper

Konrad Muller is a former Australian diplomat and journalist now working on the Lowy Institute West Asia Program\'s West Asia-China project. Part one of this series here. \'The Russian bridle is of leather,\' the academic tells us, \'the Chinese is of iron\', and then ascribes this aphorism to

'Asian Century' vs 'Asia Pacific'

If there is a conceptual shift on display in yesterday\'s White Paper launch, it is from Australia\'s firm attachment to the construct of the Asia Pacific toward the \'Asian Century\'. The country that invented APEC (well, co-invented with Japan) is readjusting the settings. It was Treasury that&

New Voices 2011

On 8 July 2011, the Lowy Institute for International Policy hosted its eighth annual New Voices conference. The 2011 conference ‘Dynamic Asia’ adopted an Indo-Pacific regional focus. ‘Dynamic Asia’ required participants to interrogate the way in which we think about Asia as a geopolitical

Reader riposte: SBY on religious liberty

Aaron Connelly, who has previously blogged a series of posts on Aceh for The Interpreter, writes: In his post, Peter McCawley praises Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) for his swift response to the bombing of a church in Solo on Sunday, writing: \'The rapid response from the

Kazakh-China Diary: Hip-hop, punching bags, and a wooden cathedral

I am in Almaty with Konrad Muller, where we are beginning a three-week journey examining Kazakhstan\'s relations with China. This is part of a new project looking at how key states in West Asia perceive their rapidly expanding economic ties to China. Initially, we are focusing on Saudi Arabia and

Taiwan arms: Less rancour this time

It is refreshing to encounter some mildly positive news on US-China security relations. After a long cycle of pessimism about prospects for improved trust and dialogue between the two powers, it appears Washington and Beijing are quietly coordinating to ensure that the latest

SBY responds quickly to Solo bombing

Peter McCawley, currently based in Jakarta, is a Visiting Fellow at the Indonesia Project, ANU, and former Dean of the ADB Institute, Tokyo. The response of the Indonesian Government to the explosion of a bomb outside a Christian church in Solo on Sunday has been swift.&