Thursday 11 Aug 2022 | 06:13 | SYDNEY


Politics never stops at the border

I\'ve been waiting a while for the local press to note the international dimension of Australia\'s current asylum seeker squabbles. Finally George Megalogenis of The Australian has: Gillard and Abbott are the self-absorbed bogan couple arguing over which neighbour should look after their pet

China and India: What is rivalry?

It is becoming popular to use the word \'rivalry\' when describing relations between China and India. Recent spats between the two powers over Indian oil exploration and an alleged maritime encounter in the South China Sea certainly highlight the potential for dangerous clashes of interests

Unlocking our links with Indonesia

Peter McCawley is a Visiting Fellow at the Indonesia Project, ANU, and former Dean of the ADB Institute, Tokyo. The Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop, provided a useful overview of the Opposition\'s views on Australian-Indonesian relations at the ANU last week. The

A democracy gulf in the Gulf

In a year of dramatic change in the Middle East, in which the desire for revolutionary political change is still being expressed in several Arab countries, it is educational to see that, away in the east of the Arab world, the Gulf states are addressing this phenomenon in the traditional Gulf way&

AUSMIN puts icing on the alliance cake

The big annual AUSMIN meeting, where Australia\'s defence and foreign ministers get together with their US counterparts, has just concluded in San Francisco. This year\'s talks marked the 60th anniversary of the Australia-US alliance, and the communiqué is rich birthday fare. The

Another voice from Fiji

Paul Cotton, a regular Interpreter correspondent on Pacific issues, forwarded our Fiji opinion poll to a family member, Dr Subramanian Pillai, who lives in New Zealand but visits family in Fiji every year. Dr Pillai happened to be in Fiji in August 2011, around the time the poll

Yemen fear of collapse

Philip Eliason is a former diplomat who has worked on Libyan issues and is a member of the Advisory Board to the Macquarie University Centre for Middle East and North African Studies. Yemen is a state of dynamic stasis. It has now had about seven months of political turmoil, many deaths, economic

5-minute Lowy Lunch: Iran in spring

For a while there, the Arab Spring was looking like quite a good deal for Iran. Mubarak was knocked off, and Shi\'a populations in the Gulf started protesting against Sunni oppression. Now, with the Arab Spring moving to Iran\'s ally Syria, Tehran is watching on nervously and even suggesting

Pakistan reminds America of its sacrifices

Alicia Mollaun is a PhD candidate at the Crawford School at ANU and is based in Islamabad. \'Which country can do more for your peace?\'. Pakistan! At least, that is the message Pakistan wants Americans to swallow. The Pakistani Government placed a half-page advertisement in the Wall Street

Reader riposte: Beyond 'genderisation' of IR

Nina Markovic, a PhD candidate in Political Science, Centre for European Studies, Australian National University writes: A month before the Women in Political Science Caucus meeting at the Australian Political Science Association conference in Canberra, Roger Shanahan\'s piece on the Lowy

Burma and ASEAN seat of yearning

Andrew Selth is a Research Fellow at the Griffith Asia Institute. As The Interpreter noted last week, there has been a spate of articles in recent months looking at the apparently more open-minded and conciliatory approach being taken by Burma\'s President Thein Sein. Inevitably, given the

Don't ignore the voice of Fiji people

Politicians and political parties the world over dismiss opinion polls when the results are inconvenient and embrace them when the results show support for their policies. So I wasn\'t surprised to see some of the reactions to the results of the Lowy Institute\'s Fiji Poll. I was personally

The US military embraces Australia

Australia\'s Defence Minister says the military basing deal with the US to be unveiled next week will be the biggest step in the alliance in 30 years. Given that the AUSMIN (Australia-US Ministerial) meeting is being held in San Francisco to mark the 60th anniversary of the signing there of

The F-35 is more than enough

A piece by The Diplomat\'s Washington correspondent Eddie Walsh appeared online today quoting me on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. It says that I think the F-35 is probably more capability than we need against Southeast Asian air forces. However... ...\"if the adversary is

Sport and supra-nationalism

Many thanks to those who emailed in response to my query about Pacific rugby, though they don\'t quite address the mystery at the heart of my post. I\'ve now learnt that there has been an attempt to field a supra-national Pacific rugby team, but this may not even be a permanent team, and

Talib or Taliban?

Today we are launching Talib or Taliban? Indonesian students in Pakistan and Yemen, which looks at whether Indonesian students studying at Islamic institutions in Pakistan and Yemen pose a risk in terms of future patterns of extremism in Indonesia. The report is based on fieldwork in

Reader ripostes: Pacific rugby

Yesterday Sam Roggeveen asked whether anyone had ever proposed that Pacific Island countries copy the West Indies cricket team model to create a supra-national rugby team. Three responses, beginning with Ben Davis: Hey Sam, I think you would call the supra-national rugby team you are

Libya mysterious new constitution (part II)

Minerva Nasser-Eddine is a Research Fellow in the School of International Studies, Flinders University. My earlier post summarised the main elements of what is an impressive draft constitution (although the origins and status of the document remain unclear). But two Articles do

Pacific development: Tyranny of scale

There\'s a good chance you have never heard of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community. Below, in another of my interviews from Tuesday\'s Lowy Institute Pacific Islands and the World Conference is the SPC\'s Director-General, Jimmie Rodgers to explain all about its work, and the challenges

Libya mysterious new constitution

Minerva Nasser-Eddine is a Research Fellow in the School of International Studies, Flinders University. As the world\'s attention focused on the historic footage from Tripoli of rebels entering Bab Al-Azizia, Gaddafi\'s stronghold, the BBC News website reported that the Libyan

Fiji poll: Challenges and opportunities

The Lowy Institute launches its first ever Fiji Poll, Fiji at Home and in the World, today in Auckland, New Zealand. We commissioned the poll to give a voice to the Fiji people, whose thinking about their own government and their relations with the world are not properly understood by either the

Interview: Repression in Fiji

One of the most impressive speakers at yesterday\'s Lowy Institute Pacific Islands and the World Conference was Shamima Ali, Executive Director of the Fiji Women\'s Crisis Centre (here\'s the NZ Herald\'s coverage of her speech). Conditions for political and human rights activists in Fiji are

Through Chinese eyes: Tang Qifang (part 1)

Interview with Tang Qifang, Southeast Asia specialist at the foreign ministry-affiliated China Institute of International Studies by Peter Martin and David Cohen. Peter and David are conducting a series of interviews with Chinese academics and journalists, using reader-submitted questions. Part

Interview: NZ Foreign Minister McCully

New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully opened proceedings at the Lowy Institute\'s Pacific Islands and the World conference here in Auckland this morning. We conducted this short interview after his speech. McCully seems to have lost patience with Fiji: \'too much time has been

Movie trailer: Seediq Bale

Reader David has responded to my call for tips about the latest Asian cinema, directing me to a trailer for a new Taiwanese war epic, Seediq Bale. Here\'s part of the synopsis from the official website. And, a warning: the trailer is not for the squeamish. Wei Te-Sheng’s epic film WARRIORS

Connecting the Pacific

Danielle Romanes is an intern with the Lowy Institute\'s Myer Foundation Melanesia Program.Information and Communications Technology (ICT) connectivity and labour migration will be hot topics at the Lowy Institute\'s forthcoming \'Pacific Islands and the World\' conference in Auckland. Few

Asian cinema: Two new trailers

The Interpreter likes to alert you to new films with a political, strategic or economic bent. But we\'ve had a lamentable record on cinema from and about the region the Lowy Institute knows best. Herewith, trailers for two new films on Southeast Asian themes, the first a biopic on

Singapore: No revolution today, thank you

Dr Michael Barr is Senior Lecturer at Flinders University. His most recent book, written with Zlatko Skrbiš, is Constructing Singapore: Elitism, Ethnicity and the Nation-Building Project. Dr Tony Tan\'s election as President of Singapore on 29 August is a welcome relief, but no

Eyes wide open on corruption in India

Vinod Daniel is a Visiting Fellow at the Lowy Institute and CEO of IndHeritage. Now that Anna Hazare has ended his twelve day fast, and his version of the Jan Lokpal bill has been agreed to as the basis by both houses of the Indian Parliament, we all should be delighted. Any one promoting anti&

Call for questions: Tang Qifang

A quick reminder, we\'re still taking questions for next week\'s interview between David Cohen, Peter Martin and Tang Qifang, on behalf of The Interpreter. This is the third interview they\'ve conducted for us, after talking to Gui Yongtao and Pan Wei. Tang 

Singapore presidential poll

At the Lowy Institute New Voices conference last Friday, Hamish McDonald, of the 6.30 with George Negus program, made an uncomfortable comparison. While England\'s press covers French, German and wider European politics, very few in the Australian press do the same for Indonesia, Malaysia,

The agony and ecstasy of Steve Jobs

News that Steve Jobs is retiring as CEO of Apple takes my mind back to April in Washington, DC, where I caught a performance of a monologue called The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs. The description of the show — a man sits at a table and talks to the audience for 90

What an Indian naval shipyard looks like

This photo, courtesy of Indian milblog Broadsword, shows three sleek and modern destroyers in various stages of completion. Perhaps this appearance is deceiving, but when you look at the wider scene, you do ask yourself how they ever build such advanced vessels among the

Reader riposte: Asian cinema

Evan Rees writes (warning, some links are NSFW): I just saw your post calling for blogs/resources on Asian cinema. I would suggest reading Wise Kwai\'s Thai Film Journal. Thai cinema received international attention this year for \'Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives\', a magical

A call to Asian cinema buffs

On Andrew Sullivan\'s blog today, I found a link to a Korean movie trailer that made me realise something unflattering about my editing of this site. When I post trailers or write the odd review of a film with a political, strategic or economic theme, my focus is on Hollywood

America dangerous battle plan

In this piece for The Diplomat, Raoul Heinrichs, editor of the Lowy Institute's Strategic Snapshot series, argues that the US AirSea Battle plan for the Western Pacific is costly, dangerous and unnecessary - and should be abandoned in favour of a more asymmetric maritime denial strategy.The Diplomat

Southeast Asia through Chinese eyes

Armed with your questions, David Cohen and Peter Martin from Sinocentric are conducting a series of interviews on behalf of The Interpreter with Chinese intellectuals and academics. We\'ll be speaking next Tuesday to Tang Qifang, a Southeast Asia specialist at the

Reader riposte: Aid to Latin America

Paul Cotton responds to Wendy Jarvie, who wrote about the lack of Australian aid to Latin America: Your article could be read as stating that 20 million people in the Pacific are poor (living under $2 per day). This is misleading and would not be acceptable to all the people of the Pacific

Interview: Commercial aviation in China

You might say the story of China\'s commercial aviation industry is, writ small, the story of modern China itself: full of breathtaking advances but also huge shortcomings which tend to get overlooked in the hyperventilating about a rising China. Chad Ohlandt is an aerospace engineer

Interview: Etihad CEO James Hogan

Did you know China is planning to build 45 new airports in the next five years? Granted, some of this capacity is probably going to be excessive or at least misplaced. Chinese provincial governments have form when it comes to building white-elephant prestige projects, and airports are

Engagement with Asia pays off

Further to Stephen Grenville\'s excellent piece on the strength of Australia\'s markets, here is your re-assuring chart of the day: Australia\'s major goods and services markets in 2010. Exports on left, imports on right: When it comes to merchandise trade (goods, not services),

Paul Dibb on China military rise

I\'m sympathetic to Paul Dibb\'s broad point that commentary about China\'s military build-up is a bit overwrought, though when he closes his recent op-ed by saying that we should not \'frighten ourselves to death by drumming up the next military threat to Australia and basing our defence policy