Sunday 29 May 2022 | 12:39 | SYDNEY


The view north from Down Under

In an opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal Asia, Lowy Institute Director of Studies Andrew Shearer writes that Prime Minister Gillard's Northeast Asia tour is also an opportunity to consider what Australia and other countries in the region should not do.Wall Street Journal Asia, 25 April 2011, p

Burma and North Korea: Reality Checks

Andrew Selth is a Research Fellow at the Griffith Asia Institute. Earlier this month, a conference was held in Washington to examine Burma\'s relationships with the two Koreas. Inevitably, the issue which attracted most attention was Pyongyang\'s purported assistance to Naypyidaw in the nuclear

Libya: Is it better if Qadhafi wins?

Crispin Rovere is a Phd Candidate at the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, ANU. With the Libyan campaign entering a predictable stalemate and some now advocating disregarding UN resolution 1973 in favour of invasion, it\'s important to re-examine how all this relates

PM in Asia: The meeting is the message

In a careful but considered way, Julia Gillard\'s travels are an expression of foreign policy priorities. See the symbolism in visits to the US last month and now to Asia. The hierarchy of choices expressed by the trips may offer as much substance as all the speeches and press conferences

Indonesia: Unpeturbed by China

Greta Nabbs-Keller is writing a PhD at Griffith's Asia Institute on the impact of democratisation on Indonesia's foreign policy. The Wikileaks release of US diplomatic cables has presented some interesting insights into Indonesia's foreign relations. Last month, corruption allegations against

Taiwan and Japan: Friends in need...

Six and a bit years ago, the Boxing Day tsunami and its aftermath showed that Australia and Indonesia, despite the problems that bedevil the bilateral relationship, are true neighbours. As a relatively new Australian at that time, I was quite taken aback by the speed and size of both the

Libya: Should we go around the UN?

Major Gen (Retd) Jim Molan is author of Running the War in Iraq. The view of Anthony Cordesman on the predicament of NATO and the no-fly zone over Libya, raises important questions for the world and for Australia. The no-fly zone as a tactical technique has predictably failed: but our

Libya & R2P:A perfect storm ?

Tim Dunne is Professor of International Relations, and Jess Gifkins is PhD Candidate and Researcher, Asia-Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, University of Queensland. Yesterday we argued that the UN intervention in Libya took the doctrine of 'responsibility to protect' (R2P) a

China\ food insecurity

Catherine Chan is an environmental lawyer and journalist in Beijing. Meeting the food demands of 1.3 billion people is a primary issues faced by the Chinese Government. An increasingly affluent population, with a growing appetite for agriculturally intensive food products like meat and

AA Gill does Dubai

There has apparently been much dishdasha readjustment going on in Dubai recently over this Vanity Fair article by British restaurant critic and travel writer AA Gill.  I had two reactions to Gill's eloquent monstering of Dubai. First, Gill's article is breathlessly superficial.

Middle East: Business is business

Largely lost among the north African and Levantine Arab political unrest and the Libyan no-fly zone, has been the ratcheting up of the Persian Gulf cold war between Iran and its Arab neighbours.  Recently, Kuwait sentenced two Iranians and a Kuwaiti to death on charges of spying for Iran.&

Inside the Kiwi mind: Poll results

Dr Andrew Butcher is the Director, Policy and Research at the Asia New Zealand Foundation. Australia is more important to New Zealand than any other region or country in the world. In the Asia New Zealand Foundation's latest annual survey of New Zealanders perceptions of Asians and Asian people,

SGX-ASX: A no brainer

The SGX take-over of ASX has been rejected on 'national interest' grounds. It was, as the Treasurer said, a 'no brainer'. The great puzzle is that the ASX Board ever thought that it would get a tick. It would have required special legislation to change the normal 15 per cent limit on a

Timor-Leste: A need for accountability not force

Dr Gordon Peake worked on police reform in Timor-Leste from 2008 to 2011. He will soon take up a position at the State, Society and Governance in Melanesia Program at ANU. These are his private views. As Timorese police take over responsibility from the UN, their role and function

NZ Foreign Minister asks China a favour

I was lucky enough to be in Wellington yesterday for a China symposium. The New Zealand Foreign Minister, Murray McCully, gave the opening address in which he made a few points on China's engagement in the Pacific, emphasising some of the themes and recommendations in the Lowy Institute Policy

Reader riposte: A white NZ policy

James Cotton writes: Michael Wesley maintains, in his recent piece on Australia and New Zealand, that the kiwis were never burdened with a White New Zealand Policy! As a New Zealander observed in 1929: ‘In the minds of most people in New Zealand Asiatic immigration presents no problem.

NZ: Better as a friend than family

Before the financial crisis skewed things even further, New Zealand's per capita wealth was 87 percent less than that of Western Australia. But what really caused angst across the ditch was that New Zealanders' average wealth was 13 percent lower than Tasmania's. You can explain

Lebanon: Divided but indivisible

Vanessa Newby is a PhD candidate at Griffith University, studying Arabic in the Middle East. As the mini-bus pulled up at the harbour of Tyre in Southern Lebanon, I was struck by two things. First, the incredible colour of the Mediterranean, something you don't see in Beirut further

Libya: The West\ responsibility to protect Arabs

The imposition of the no-fly zone over Libya has illustrated the inability of Arab states to effectively deal with the dilemma that the UN-endorsed concept of Responsibility to Protect (R2P) presents.  Non-interference in the affairs of other Arab states has been the mantra often quoted but

China: The Pacific\ new banker

The Lowy Institute today launched the fourth in a series of reports on China's secretive aid program in the Pacific. China still refuses to report the details of its aid program, so we went to Pacific governments who provided us with the figures. The reports now cover the five year period from 2005

Unpacking the data on counter-insurgency

I would like to respond to John Hardy's four objections to my argument. John's first objection is that disregarding the unresolved conflicts skews the trend data. This is wrong. Regardless of the number of unresolved conflicts, there are still more counter-insurgent wins after 11 years than

Time and coin

John Hardy is a Sir Arthur Tange Defence PhD Scholar at the Strategic & Defence Studies Centre, ANU In response to friendly criticism from a colleague that I did not adequately address Anton's points about the positive trend in Counter-Insurgency (COIN) success after the tenth

Behind Bashar Assad\ popularity in Syria

Vanessa Newby is a PhD candidate at Griffith University, studying Arabic in the Middle East. What strikes you first about the political culture in Damascus, is that the status of the name of the President is similar to that of Voldemort in Harry Potter. Quite simply, no one speaks his

Australia-Malaysia relations: Mahathir\ ghost

Natalie Sambhi is a graduate of the Asia–Pacific College of Diplomacy and Graduate Studies in International Affairs at the Australian National University. Just to be clear, Dr Mahathir Mohamad is not dead. In fact, the infamously direct style and strident anti-Westernism of the former

Syria: The religious dimension

As I watched coverage of the pro-government rallies in Damsacus on al-Jazeera, it was instructive to note the camera dwelling on the senior Syrian religious figures (both Christian and Muslim) atop a balcony in an obvious embrace of sectarian unity. That image illustrated one of the issues that

Damming the Mekong

For the past six months, the Mekong River Commission (MRC) has been seeking submissions about the proposal by Laos to build a dam on the Mekong at Xayaburi, a location some 150 kilometres downstream from Luang Prabang. Projected to be over 800 metres wide and with a height of 32 metres, it would

Australian interests in West Asia

Cross-posted from our sister site, Interpreting the Aid Review. There are only two more weeks to contribute to its discussion. The Arab uprisings, the West's military intervention in Libya and the activist role played by Foreign Minister Rudd on both issues, have thrown Australia's development aid

The potential of a reformed Syria

The unrest in each of the Arab countries over the last few months has been notable for different reasons. Tunisia heralded the current round of political unrest elsewhere and showed what popular demonstrations could achieve. Egypt has the potential to act as an example to other countries

PNG disciplines The Chief

No Australian Prime Minister will be forced to emulate Michael Somare and step down for failing to comply with the leadership code. Or be suspended for two weeks for failing to lodge returns on his financial dealings. But the only reason Australia will be spared this drama is because the

Reader riposte: Gareth Evans and R2P

Andrew Farran, a former diplomat, senior lecturer in international law at Monash University and Vice-President of the Australian Institute of International Affairs, writes: A comment if I may, adding to that of Sam Roggeveen's on Gareth Evans' piece in The Age yesterday. Gareth

Defining the limits of R2P

Former Australian Foreign Minister and leading R2P advocate Gareth Evans writes today that critics of the Libya intervention are drawing too long a bow. It's not about regime change or killing Qadhafi or a getting into an Iraq-like quagmire, he says. Rather, this is a strictly defined

Libya and Australia\ interests

The most common complaint you hear about the Libya intervention is that it is not in the 'interests' of the nations participating. This is true so long as we accept a very limited conception of interests, as defined by realists (generally, direct security and access to valuable material

Australia has done its bit in Afghanistan

My call some weeks ago for Prime Minister Julia Gillard to begin drawing down Australian forces in Afghanistan provoked two interesting responses — one from Anton Kuruc, the other from Jim Molan — both arguing for Canberra to stay the course. They're in good company.

Bahrain: Well, whaddya know?

Last week I wrote about the Bahraini Government's decision to allow Saudi and UAE security forces into the country to quell the anti-regime demonstrations. I said the Shi'a protesters may have no choice but to look to Tehran: ...if the ruling regime gets assistance from other Sunni

The Libya intervention is a bad idea, especially if it works

It seems a little pointless to argue the pros and cons of Western military intervention in Libya three days after it has begun. So instead, here are three observations on what might happen next: 1. Giving birth without the labour Proponents of the military intervention in Libya seem to

Obama: The head and the heart

An astute observation from Walter Russell Mead: A certain pattern seems to be emerging in this President’s foreign policy process.  On the one hand, he is instinctively drawn to the cool logic of the Jeffersonian realists who believe that the safest and wisest course for the

Middle East uprising update

With all the attention on — and excellent TV images from — Libya, it's difficult to get a feel for what is happening on all things revolutionary in the rest of the Arab world. But demonstrations are still going on and still and being resisted to varying degrees: Yemen&

Qadhafi does his bit for norms

International norms are built by actions. Going to war to enforce a norm gives it force – in the several dimensions of the words 'force' and 'enforce'. Resolutions matter, but enforcing them sets down real markers for future actions and reactions. Libya is one more step in giving force to an

Libya linkage

A round up of commentary around the web: Al Jazeera's Libya live blog. The Arab League disowns the operation as quickly as it endorsed it. Google is mapping the violence. A quick Libya primer by the ABC: population, ethnicity, size of military (estimated at 76,000 men),

Libya: Chocks away

So, it's decided. We're going to war. Again. I want to join those who are asking 'Where does this end''. Given that the stated mission is to protect the civilian population of Libya, the obvious and natural end-point would be the overthrow of Qadhafi. Maybe that can be achieved with air

Uranium to India: The rethink rethought

The international political consequences of the post-tsunami nuclear crisis in Japan will play out for a long time, but one of the first might well be the early abandonment of the Australian Labor Party's — and thus the Government's — review of its nuclear policies. It has been

Singapore is not a model for Australia

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. Australians looking at Singapore as a model for pulling the poor up

The no-fly zone madness

Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd on Lateline last night: My overriding principle is this, Tony, and that of the Government's: let's look at the UN. Look back to Rwanda: fail. Look back at Darfur: fail. Look back at the Balkans: partial fail. Too late, really. Srebrenitsa and the rest. It's 2011

Malaysia\ China problem

Catherine Chan is an environmental lawyer and journalist in Beijing. This post concludes Catherine's three-part series arising from her recent visit to Malaysia. Part one here; part two here. Malaysia's natural advantages in resources and infrastructure and a cultural claim to being '

Bahrain and the price of principles

Normally, events in Bahrain would not elicit much commentary from officials in Canberra, except for travel advisories. The problem is that our activist foreign minister, Kevin Rudd, has been at great pains to describe Australia as a middle power with global interests. As part of that approach, he

Fateful choices, then and now

I've just finished reading Ian Kershaw's Fateful Choices. It's a compelling analysis of ten decisions by war leaders in Britain, the US, the Soviet Union, Germany, Italy and Japan during 1940 and 1941 (a comprehensive review here). It should be compulsory reading for statesmen, diplomats

A dangerous day for Bahrain

Four days after GCC foreign ministers pledged $20 billion over ten years to Oman and Bahrain and warned against foreign (read Iranian) interference in those countries, both Saudi Arabia and the UAE have sent forces to Manama. Somewhat unsurprisingly, Tehran has now issued a call