Thursday 11 Aug 2022 | 07:26 | SYDNEY


Engagement wasn't easy or automatic

Geoff Miller is a former Australian Ambassador to Japan (1986-89) and a former Director-General of the Office of National Assessments (1989-95). In his post of 10 August Michael Wesley says inter alia that my reading of his book \'There Goes the Neighbourhood\' was \'tendentious at best\', and

1942 was simple compared to this

Of all the reasons I had for writing There Goes the Neighbourhood, giving offense to Australia\'s former and serving diplomats was not one of them. Yet something about the book has caused Geoff Miller to take such personal and collective umbrage as to drag him into a reading of its

ASEAN: Putting Indonesia on the radar screen

Lina Alexandra is a researcher at the Department of International Relations, Centre for Strategic and International Studies, Jakarta. This post is part of the New Voices series. In December 2010, the Indonesian Foreign Minister was asked what kind of role Indonesia would like to

Communicating the Malaysia deal

Dr Khalid Koser is a Lowy Institute Non-Resident Fellow and Academic Dean at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy. In his post for The Interpreter last week, Andrew Carr identified as a principal assumption behind the Malaysia deal that asylum seekers will learn about the new policy and decide

Through Chinese eyes: Pan Wei (part II)

Armed with your questions, David Cohen and Peter Martin from Sinocentric speak to Peking University political scientist Pan Wei. Part I can be found here. From Megan Fennell: Can China learn from Western countries in its process of political reform? Actually, the West has a lot of

Resetting our relationship with PNG

It is not often we hear Papua New Guinea described in public by a federal politician as a top foreign policy priority and a country with which Australia has a joint destiny. Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop did just that in an excellent speech to the Lowy Institute\'s

Omaid story

Susanne Schmeidl is co-founder of the Afghan NGO, The Liaison Office, and editor of the Lowy Institute\'s Afghan Voices series. Last week the Taliban carried out a complex attack on the government in Uruzgan province, leaving at least 22 people dead (including women and children) and 40 injured,

Syria: Responsibility to express outrage

The current round of deaths the Assad regime is inflicting upon the Syrian population should illustrate the hollowness of the concept of Responsibility to Protect (R2P).  While one could hardly disagree with the concept of R2P, the conditions necessary for its implementation exist so

Tarin Kowt and the battle for minds

The Taliban is fighting a full-spectrum war – in the media and on the ground. Yet the ADF, so quick to rush its leaders out for a media briefing when an Australian soldier gets killed, seems to have stepped back from the fight for perceptions. In the last 24 hours, Australia\'s main military

The cool peace between China and India

Shashank Joshi is a PhD candidate at Harvard University and an Associate Fellow at the Royal United Services Institute in London. This post is part of the New Voices series. Over the past twenty years, India has become reacquainted with greater Asia. The story is well-known; it runs from the

That easterly wind is picking up...

This is the most authoritative report I have yet seen that China is constructing aircraft carriers of its own (two of them, apparently). Granted, it\'s still an anonymous source, but up to now, it\'s been only internet chatter and rumour. To see Reuters attach its name to a report like this

Malcolm Fraser baffling China speech

Geopolitics wasn\'t meant to be easy. But former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser does himself, China and sensible strategic analysis a triple disservice in this recent Asia policy speech at the Australian National University. The short version — an equally ill-structured blog post 

Assumptions behind the Malaysia deal

I think the Malaysia asylum-seeker swap is good policy. It is another small step towards a long-term regional solution to the problem. There are, however, a number of big assumptions built into the agreement: Asylum seekers will learn about the deal, and decide it isn\'t worth

US-China: Not by bread alone

Jeffrey Wilson argues that the China market, while big, is not that big, so our economy would get by OK without it. He concludes that we need not worry too much about having to choose between the America and China. He suggests, therefore, that we need not be too anxious about the risk that US-

Through Chinese eyes: Pan Wei (part I)

Armed with your questions, David Cohen and Peter Martin from Sinocentric speak to Peking University\'s Pan Wei, a political scientist who has written extensively about the \'China Model\'. Next week, in part II, the professor explains why he no longer believes China needs the rule of

The challenge of innovation in the Australian Army

In this article in Security Challenges, James Brown argues that in an environment of fiscal austerity and strategic uncertainty, the defining challenge for the Australian Army after Afghanistan will be to foster innovation. He argues that despite having excellent soldiers and officers, the market

Australia and China higher education revolution

Philipp Ivanov is an education consultant, formerly with the University of Sydney Research Institute for Asia and the Pacific. This post is part of the New Voices series.In May this year, China\'s Suzhou University announced plans to open a campus in Laos — the first

Seeing red on China

Europe rolls out the red carpet for China, while the US too often sees China through a red mist. Building on that image from The Economist, Australia is peering through the red dust of a resources boom to make sense of a giant relationship that must become a partnership.  Some of the

Saudi: The economy that ate itself

Riyadh has an oil problem – it is consuming too much in order to power its electricity grid, reducing Saudi Arabia's capacity for export as worldwide demand for its product increases.  Saudi Arabia's domestic oil consumption has increased from 3.4 million barrels per day (bpd)

Reader riposte: Australia-China grand bargain

Robert Ayson, Director of the Centre for Strategic Studies at Victoria University, Wellington, writes: Graeme Dobell\'s draft for an Australia-China pact recognises the gap in Australia\'s growing stable of bilateral concords: it does not have one with its leading trade partner, with the

US-China: Sunny side up

Geoffrey Garrett is CEO of the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney. Hugh White\'s reaction to my \'It\'s the economy, stupid\' corrective to the national security-dominated debate about China-US relations and what they mean for Australia was predictable. He concedes

In Bali, ARF must bite as well as bark

It\'s rare that an institution with as dull a title or vague a mandate as the Association of South-East Asian Nations Regional Forum makes headline news. But tomorrow\'s meeting of the ARF in Bali is likely to do just that. It will be a critical test of Asia\'s ability to manage maritime security

The grand bargain fine-print

Here is some draft (not daft, please) text and explanation of what this column has grandly named the Australia-China Pact of Engagement, Amity, Cooperation and Economic Partnership. The PEACE Partnership is an attempt to capture the ambitions and the adventures involved in a grand bargain

Doubts about Leahy Afghanistan plan

I have been hesitant to use my long-ago experience in Vietnam as a basis to enter the debate about Australia\'s role in Afghanistan, not least because of the great differences between the two countries. But General Peter Leahy\'s suggestion that Australia is pursuing the wrong Afghan strategy and

US-China: The risk of market failure

Geoff Garrett is quite right that economic interdependence between the US and China provides major incentives for both sides to avoid strategic rivalry and conflict. But I\'m not as confident as he seems to be that these incentives will be strong enough to counteract the pressures the

Kachin state: The war between China and India

Dr Nicholas Farrelly is a Southeast Asia specialist at ANU. In 2006 he co-founded New Mandala, which deals with Southeast Asian regional affairs.This post is part of the New Voices series. In June 2011 a 17-year ceasefire between the ethnic minority Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and the

There more to development than money

 Annmaree O\'Keeffe is a Lowy Institute research fellow. She has served as Australian Ambassador for HIV/AIDS and Deputy Director General of AusAID. There\'s no doubt about it. Hugh White is right when he wrote in the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age on Tuesday 19th July that economic

Listen up! Asia new voices

While Australians have been rightly charged with apathy about the momentous changes taking place to our north, there is a growing wealth of expertise on Asia among the young professionals and scholars of this country. On Friday 8 July, the Lowy Institute hosted its 8th annual New Voices

The medium is the message

From a recent Slate piece on the role of the internet in the Arab Spring:  I thought Arab bloggers began with grievances and turned to the Internet to address them. But sometimes, apparently, it\'s the other way around. Al Omran said he started blogging just to practice his English. Once

Korea wants nukes (South Korea, that is)

Crispin Rovere is part of the APLN Secretariat, and a PhD Candidate at the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, ANU. Views are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of APLN. A recent survey shows 67% of South Koreans want US tactical nuclear weapons (withdrawn in 1991)

Conservatism and the China question

To me, the most fruitful line of questioning in response to my recent Wednesday Lowy Lunch presentation on conservatism in international relations was on the subject of change. Several questions came from the audience on this point, and it\'s also Richard Green\'s theme in his Reader

Gee, is that a G2 I see before me?

One joy of the ANU China Update series is that they bring out the book of the conference the day before the annual talkfest takes place. Ross Garnaut claims it\'s the only conference in the world to achieve this feat. Thus, rather than risking the chills and fogs of Canberra this week, you

Why Wibowo matters, and why he doesn't

Greta Nabbs-Keller is writing a PhD at Griffith Asia Institute on the impact of democratisation on Indonesia\'s foreign policy. I read with anticipation Natalie Sambhi\'s reply to my post about the promotion of Lieutenant General Pramono Edhie Wibowo to Indonesian Army Chief of Staff,

Malaysia asylum deal: The good, bad, and ugly

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. It is being reported that the Australian Government has finalised its controversial asylum deal with Malaysia. Under the original

Egypt democratic history

Dr Giora Eliraz is an Associate Researcher at the Harry S Truman Institute for the Advancement of Peace at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In his article, \'Indonesian democracy: The myth of \'98\', Stephen Grenville argues that my post, \'Indonesia\'s role in Egypt\'s democratisation

US-China military relations still tense

Behind the handshakes and formalities, military relations between the US and China remain strained. Of course it\'s good to see the US-China defence dialogue occurring once more, after Beijing suspend it for most of 2011. But there is little hint of a meeting of minds or worldviews in the visit to

'The poor' in Thailand election

In the analysis that has followed the election victory of Pheu Thai, led by Yingluck Shinawatra, commentators have repeatedly identified the support that she and the party received as coming from \'the rural and urban poor\' (see The Australian and various articles in The Economist as examples

Indonesian blues

A week late, but via Greg Sheridan comes this amazing and disheartening statistic: ...there are fewer Australian Year 12 students taking Indonesian now than there were in the 1970s. The same trend of decline is evident in universities. Earlier this year I signed up for a TAFE night

Australia Network: The tender trap

What to make of the mess that the Australia Network tender process has become? Yesterday, Liberal Senator Simon Birmingham, who has been assiduously probing the progress of Australia Network tender in Estimates hearings, moved that all the reports and briefings prepared by the \'assessment

The martial roots of Indonesia democracy

Greta Nabbs-Keller is writing a PhD at Griffith Asia Institute on the impact of democratisation on Indonesia\'s foreign policy. Last week saw confirmation of a senior command change for Indonesia\'s Army (TNI-AD) that could have important implications for Indonesia\'s political landscape. In

The need for a line in the water

Stephan Fruehling is a lecturer in the Strategic and Defence Studies Program, ANU. Hugh\'s post continues a fruitful debate about the Asian order, US policy and the rise of China. I think the future of Asia should not, and does not have to be, a new Cold War — but a

Grasping the nettle: why reintegration is central to operational design in southern Afghanistan

Reintegration not only has a role for all actors in a counterinsurgency — police, civil and military — but indeed demands of them a common purpose, and a truly concerted effort to attain it. Moreover, lasting reintegration is much harder to foster and generate than simply announcing a

The danger of a Thai civil war

The depressing reality is that a clear-cut election victory in Thailand may not settle anything. The people have voted decisively but the popular voice is far from decisive. Politicians still tear at each other, the King totters slowly towards his grave, the military and the elite agonise, and

Why China won't compromise at sea

Andrew Carr has distilled an important question out of our recent paper on maritime security in Indo-Pacific Asia: what accounts for Beijing\'s ambivalence about maritime confidence building, something which seems so conducive to Chinese interests? After all, such confidence building

Weaving Afghanistan back together

Much is made in counterinsurgency theory of the importance of \'separating the insurgent from the population\' as a means to deny them sources of refuge and reinforcement. But when viewed from the perspective of reintegration, this idea is inadequate, because it presents insurgent and