Wednesday 06 Oct 2021 | 03:46 | SYDNEY


Reader riposte: An independent foreign policy

David Lang writes: When I think about the future of the United States in Asia, I become concerned with the myriad of challenges that Australia is likely to face. As has been eloquently explored across many public fora, the times they are a-changing. However, Daryl Morini\'s piece on Malcolm Fraser

Malcolm Fraser Whitlam Oration

Daryl Morini is a PhD Candidate at the University of Queensland. He is Deputy Editor of e-International Relations. Former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser\'s Whitlam Oration, delivered earlier this week, provided a fascinating and blunt discussion of Australia\'s role in the Asian Century.

Asian Century: Should I just relax?

In their different ways, both Daniel Woker and Richard Green told me last week that I was being a bit uptight about Australia\'s relations with Asia and perhaps overstating the stakes when I suggested that Australia\'s integration with Asia is a great national project on a par with reconciliation,

Reader riposte: Australia no e-diplomacy slouch

Dr Shannon Smith, a Jakarta-based public relations consultant who was Counsellor (Education) at the Australian Embassy, Jakarta, from 2005-2010, writes: The decline of Australian public diplomacy capabilities is at a critical point. At its lowest point in years, some have been looking

Asian Century Linkage: Burma, Green China, Kim Jong Il will and more

From a World Bank report: \'...the railway sector in China has been a pioneer in integrating environmental impact analysis and management into infrastructure projects.\' (H/t China Bystander.) And in related news, The Economist has a new report out on China\'s renewable energy sector. We\'re a

China digital spying: Smith precautions

John Garnaut reveals today that Defence Minister Stephen Smith and his entourage are taking no chances during their visit to China: The Herald has learnt Mr Smith and his entourage left mobile phones and laptops in Hong Kong before proceeding to mainland China, after such devices were

Syria and R2P: Time for a middle ground

Yang Razali Kassim, currently a Visiting Fellow at the Lowy Institute, is a Senior Fellow with Singapore\'s S Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University. Frustrated. That\'s the word Kofi Annan used last week to express anguish over his

Shangri-La Dialogue snapshots

[youtube:BvWmL8qKoRo#!] Things are shifting in Asia when a performance by Burma\'s Defence Minister is a highlight of the Shangri-La Dialogue. That is highlight in a good way. Over the past couple of decades, Burma\'s public performances have tended to the dry and the deadpan, reflecting the

Asian security: Long climb to Shangri-La

Asia does some things differently. So the biggest annual gathering of Asia Pacific defence ministers and officials is a public-private partnership between the Singapore Government and a British think tank, the International Institute for Strategic Studies, sponsored by worthy companies such as

Indonesia: What good for the Gaga...

Tom McCawley is a Jakarta-based journalist and analyst. Some Indonesians and foreign observers were perplexed at the Islamic moral outrage surrounding the cancelled visit of pop star Lady Gaga.  Gaga was scheduled to perform on 3 June, but promoters cancelled the event due to threats

The slow death of British Australia

Constantly I am amazed at how \'the British way\' retains its permeating influence in so many areas of Australian national life.  As the Queen prepares to celebrate her diamond jubilee, it is worth remembering that much of this country marks her birthday every year with a public holiday, a

What pivot?

I have just come back from two weeks in Saudi Arabia, continuing my research on Saudi-China relations as a part of the West Asia program\'s project on \'Western Approaches: responses to China in the Middle East and Central Asia\'. While it is not central to my research, I was curious to ask my

Playing the victim: Iran nuclear nationalism

Matthew Moran is a Research Associate at the Centre for Science and Security Studies, King\'s College London. Last week, Iran\'s nuclear negotiators met representatives of the P5-1 (France, UK, US, Russia, China and Germany) for the latest round of talks aimed at resolving the long-standing

Asian Century linkage: China, Toyota, Singapore, Facebook and more

High levels of hidden private consumption in China. Western Australia\'s love affair with Singapore. China is committed to expanding nuclear power generation, yet the regulatory environment is poor. Nice infographic of Facebook penetration in Asia. India is set to overtake the US as

Al-Qaeda in Yemen: Two videos

A few days ago we published a piece on al-Qaeda in Yemen by Sarah Philips from the Centre for International Security Studies at the University of Sydney, and below the fold, you can see an interview with Sarah. But first, here\'s a documentary from the American public broascaster PBS which

Asian development in an Asian Century

David D Arnold (pictured) is president of The Asia Foundation. It is no wonder that political and economic analysts have dubbed our era \'The Asian Century\', and quite timely that we will soon be seeing the White Paper on Australia in the Asian Century commissioned by Prime Minister Gillard

Reader riposte: Faith in Indonesia

Duncan Graham writes: Sam, I agree with your reasons regarding the lack of political will and add a couple more. The standard journalist\'s opening line for stories about Indonesia has been \'the world’s most populous Muslim nation\' for so long it must be embedded in the mind of

Interview: Ambassador to Indonesia

Australia\'s Ambassador to Indonesia, Greg Moriarty, dropped by the Lowy Institute on Monday to talk about his impressions of the country and Australia\'s relationship with Jakarta. Here\'s what Greg told me about how the country has changed since he was first posted there in the late \'90s. I also

MFAT survives NZ 'zero budget'

The New Zealand Government released its budget last Thursday. Given the general gloom and the somewhat hyperbolic media reporting on the major change program going on at New Zealand\'s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT), what was widely publicised as the \'zero\' budget appears to be

Indonesia: Decades from now...

Our resident Indonesia expert Dave McRae interviewed Professor Hugh White recently about the long-term future of Indonesia, a future in which it will be stronger than Australia. The theme here is similar to those in Hugh\'s most recent post in our debate thread on Indonesia: what will it

Yemen: US fight against al Qaeda likely to fail

Sarah Phillips is a senior lecturer at the University of Sydney Centre for International Security Studies. The images of the suicide bombing that killed nearly 100 people in Yemen last week were a gruesome indication of just how badly reality is diverging from the political transition in

Relax, Australia is already becoming Asian

Dr Daniel Woker is the former Swiss Ambassador to Australia, Singapore and Kuwait and now a Senior Lecturer at the University of St Gallen.  To Sam Roggeveen\'s crie de coeur that Australia\'s entry into the Asian Century must become a national project, akin to reconciliation

Indonesia: Australia must change

Four observations on the excellent debate on our relations with Indonesia and especially on Sam\'s most recent post, which takes us into some deep water. A favourable environment Sam is on to something with his analogy with multiculturalism. It goes to the heart of our approach to the region

Reader riposte: A great national project?

Richard Green writes: The idea of treating The Asian Century as a \'great national project\' akin to multiculturalism raises an interesting point about leadership. I think of Australian multiculturalism as one of the great successes of Australian history, yet the contribution of our leaders was

Asian Century: A great national project?

I\'ve found the responses to my Indonesia questions enlightening but I\'m not completely satisfied. I think I need to sharpen my argument a little. I\'ll start by asking a slightly different question: if all the steps recommended by Stephen Grenville, Fergus Hanson, Duncan Graham and Malcolm

PNG elections: Violence looms

You've got to hand it to PNG's politicians. They don't disappoint in their ongoing effort to live by the country's unofficial motto: the land of the unexpected. The political process has at times descended into farce and confusion, and the nastiness of this ongoing battle has come at a

South Korea new missiles

A few weeks ago the South Korean Government unveiled a new short-range ballistic missile (300km) and longer-range cruise missile (500-1500km). More recently it announced plans to build 500-600 of them, combined. In its public statements, South Korea has linked these new systems 

How to improve Australia-Indonesia ties

Sam has provoked a nice discussion on the relationship with Indonesia, which I recently argued in The Australian \'must rank as one of our greatest foreign policy failures\'.I agree with what Malcolm Cook, Stephen Grenville and David McRae have suggested. These ideas all contribute towards Stephen\'

New bipolarity: What the numbers say

I’m delighted my thoughts on a new bipolarity provoked several people to respond. I found the responses really helpful, and have been deep in research and thought as a result. I guess I\'d class all of the responses in the \'nice idea, but I’m not convinced\' category. Some people,

R2P, Syria and the real world

I hate taking the apparent position of R2P naysayer because I think the concept is a moral, even noble, one. But the world is full of ignoble individuals and nation-states are driven by realpolitik as much, if not more, than they are by multilateral nobility. Which is why, with very few exceptions,

Know Indonesia, know thyself

Ariel Heryanto is an Associate Professor of Indonesian Studies, ANU College of Asia and the Pacific.One fundamental issue has concerned me over and above the specific details about how to improve Australia-Indonesia relations being debated on the Interpreter. The number of Australians studying

Language teaching is all about culture

Ben Moles is an intern in the International Security Program at the Lowy Institute. I followed the Asian languages in Australia debate with great interest last year and am glad to see it is a recurring theme in the Australia in the Asian Century feature too. How could it not be

Politics holding Indonesia back

With two of the three international credit rating agencies now ranking Indonesia as \'investment grade\', foreign investors (and foreign journalists) have noticed the \'good news\' story of the Indonesian economy. The story has actually been going on for more than a decade. Indonesia sailed

Asian Century linkage

A global opinion poll finds views of Europe sliding, China rising. (Thanks Malcolm.) The cancellation of the Jakarta Lady Gaga concert is the hook for this interview with academic Merle Ricklefs on the deepening influence of Islam in Javanese society. (Thanks Dave.) A

The Australian Century?

I\'ve got a couple of upcoming talks at Bruegel and Chatham House. Bearing in mind Daniel Woker\'s point about European perceptions of Australia, I\'ve been thinking about content.  My pitch is going to be that Australia provides a useful perspective on the changing nature of the

Education: An Asian-inspired policy solution

Arjuna Dibley was Australia\'s representative to the PABM. He recently returned from Malaysia and Indonesia, where he was a Prime-Minister\'s Australia-Asia Award holder. As we hurtle towards (or just wake up to the fact that we are now in) the Asian Century, there is growing discussion about

Into Asia: How infrastructure can help

Peter McCawley is a Visiting Fellow at the Indonesia Project, ANU, and former Dean of the ADB Institute, Tokyo.  Stephen Grenville\'s post on Asia\'s infrastructure deficit raises the question of how Australia\'s economic relations with Asia might evolve over the next

China: What 'grinding poverty' means

I may have recounted once before the story of a Chinese delegation, visiting the Lowy Institute, exhorting us to visit not just China\'s gleaming new mega-cities but to \'look behind the couch\' at China\'s under-developed interior. This is a reasonably common tactic from Chinese officials and

Asian Century linkage

Peter Hartcher\'s piece about Tony Abbott\'s apparent conversion on Asian language study is worth your time. Gareth Evans spoke on the Asian century theme in Melbourne last week. McKinsey podcast on China\'s insatiable energy appetite. The Asia Foundation has a new data visualisation

Indonesia: Just a means to an end?

Talk of losses averted or gains to be made positions engagement with Indonesia as a means to an end. The case for the benefits of greater engagement and the risks of complacency has been made often. But engagement should also be an end in itself. My life is enriched every

Is Laos building a dam at Xayaburi?

Over the past several weeks there have been conflicting reports about the Lao Government\'s controversial plans to build a dam on the Mekong River\'s mainstream at Xayaburi, with The Economist\'s \'Banyan\' column of 5 May noting that the Thai construction firm, CH Karnchong, had notified the&

Asia infrastructure deficit

Thanks to the strenuous efforts of US and European central banks to stimulate their moribund economies, government borrowing costs are historically very low. US ten-year bonds are paying less than 2%. At the same time, we know that much of South-East Asia is critically short of public infrastructure

Reader riposte: The Indonesia balance

Duncan Graham, who runs a blog called Indonesia Now, responds to Sam Roggeveen\'s post about Australia-Indonesia relations: The situation is unbalanced. We go there in thousands – few come here. Count the number of Asians in aircraft arriving in Australia from Indonesia. The

Islam, liberalism and Indonesia culture wars

A liberal Muslim writer on a book tour has angered hardline Islamist groups in the latest round in Indonesia\'s culture wars.  Irshad Manji, a Canadian feminist writer and activist, has provoked the wrath of Islamists for promoting a tolerant, critical, version of Islam in her latest

Spinning a web with Indonesia

Sam asks for specific suggestions to help our underdone relationship with Indonesia. I\'ve got nothing against a high-profile \'major leadership gesture\', but many years ago a wise observer told me that the most useful relationship with Indonesia would comprise a spiderweb of ties that

Indonesia: Reversing our losses

It is good to see the Asian Century discussion focus on contemporary Indonesia-Australia relations with Sam\'s thoughtful questions, Alex Thursby\'s hope for a better done Indonesia-Australia relationship, and Raoul Heinrichs\' realist gloom about Australia risking a security dilemma

My Indonesia questions

On Monday, Alex Thursby from ANZ took to The Interpreter to make the case that Australia needs to turn around its perceptions of Indonesia, and think about developing a relationship as mutually rewarding as the one we have with the US. It\'s fair to say that Thursby\'s position is a variation

Al Qaeda makes gains in Yemen

While the West congratulates itself on two Yemen-related counter-terrorism successes — the alleged foiling of a sophisticated bomb plot against an airliner and the killing by drone strike of Fahd al-Quso, one of the architects of the 2000 USS Cole bombing — the security