Wednesday 25 May 2022 | 22:46 | SYDNEY


Syrian conflict enters Lebanon phase

Syria appears to be entering a new phase in its insurgency. And this one is taking the uprising further away from a simple question of political reform and toward what is looking increasingly like the early stages of a Lebanese-style civil war.  All the ingredients are there: sectarian

In memory of Lyn Lusi

A belated tribute to Lyn Lusi, co-founder with her husband and orthopaedic surgeon, Dr Jo Lusi,  of \'Heal Africa\' in Goma. Lyn succumbed to cancer on 17 March this year. \'Heal Africa\' is a health service which provides fistula surgery and care for women with fistula

Asian Century linkage

When it comes to oil, China doesn\'t trust free markets, so it will pursue an \'indirect approach\', \'disrupting hostile alliances and replacing them with a network of well-armed friends or client states along key oil routes.\' (H/t Browser.) One-sixth of all prostitutes in Australia are Korean

Indonesia-Australia: A relationship 'underdone'

Alex Thursby is CEO of ANZ\'s Asia Pacific business and a career banker. Why is it that the conversation in Australia about Indonesia is so \'underdone\'? Notwithstanding the warmth evident during President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono\'s successful visit here, the public conversation is largely

Asian century also an intellectual shift

I should respond to Dr Daniel Woker\'s recent post, \'The Limits of the Asian Model\', if only to clarify my original comments. Rather than calling for Australia to adopt Asian models, my intention was merely to make two fairly anodyne observations. First, that in a country which traditionally

South China Sea: Storm in a tea cup

Brendan Taylor is Head of the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, Australian National University. It\'s more than flattering to attract attention from Michael Wesley and Hugh White, two scholars I greatly admire. But its also left me feeling a little like a shrimp caught between two

Where there a will, there insurance

One of the EU\'s successes in its tougher sanctions on Iran has been the extension of the ban to shipping insurance, more than 90% of which is controlled through Europe. Without being able to insure ships carrying Iranian oil, shipping owners are naturally reluctant to take the risk of an

Why the South China Sea matters

I was somewhat surprised to read Brendan Taylor\'s matter-of-fact statement that the South China Sea isn\'t really a vital interest for any of Asia\'s great powers, except perhaps for China. I\'m not so sure about this, for two reasons. First, the South China Sea is emerging as the

The limits of the Asian model

Dr Daniel Woker is the former Swiss Ambassador to Australia, Singapore and Kuwait. In his post of 27 April, \'Australia\'s head-start to the Asian Century\', Nick Bryant develops an interesting storyline of Australia moving from \'imitative country\' (with an adopted, not

Poverty and growth: How aid can help

Lawrence Haddad is Director of the Institute of Development Studies in the UK. The debate in these pages on the case for aid resonates with one we are having in the UK: is aid about poverty reduction or economic growth? I have blogged about this topic in Development Horizons. A March

The importance of China latent power

Brendan Taylor\'s post on Asia\'s shifting power balance shows his characteristic mix of grace and insight. I usually end up agreeing with Brendan. For years he has been telling me I\'m wrong to see Japan as a great power in Asia\'s emerging strategic order, and I\'m starting at last to

China re-balancing?

In 2010, China\'s current account surplus was over 10% of GDP. Just a year later the surplus had fallen to less than 3% as imports grew faster than exports. The International Monetary Fund is expecting a further fall to 2.3% this year, before rising to around 4% over the next few years. Does

Asian century linkage

Good news from the Philippines, no longer Southeast Asia\'s economic laughing stock. (Thanks James.) \'At present our universities survive on foreign students paying high fees. Will this flow of revenue continue if a Chinese or Indian student can get a Stanford or MIT qualification at home?\'

Asia emerging donors: China (part 2)

Part 1 of this post, an interview with He Wenping from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences on China\'s growing aid program, appeared last Friday. 4. Are there comparisons that can be drawn between China\'s and India\'s aid programs? The main areas of aid in China\'s and India\'s

Asia emerging donors: China (part 1)

Translation by Dirk van der Kley, an intern in the Lowy Institute\'s International Security program. As part of the Lowy Institute\'s focus on the rise of Asian aid donors we are planning a series of blog posts that will look at how these \'new\' emerging donors, namely China and

Kurt Campbell on US-Burma relations

Andrew Selth is a Research Fellow at the Griffith Asia Institute. On 25 April, the US House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs examined US policy toward Burma. The Senate Committee on Foreign Relations held similar hearings the following day. Both heard testimony

Australia head-start to Asian Century

This is not so much a lucky country, according to the overarching critique by post-war Australian intellectuals, as an imitative country. \'I didn\'t mean that it had a lot of material resources,\' wrote Donald Horne in The Death of the Lucky Country, published in 1976, lamenting not just on how

Reader riposte: We have lost in Afghanistan

Anton Kuruc writes: As Australia prepares to exit its main combat forces from Afghanistan there will inevitably be a lot of retrospective analysis about our experience in the Hindu Kush.   On Four Corners on 16 April I was surprised that Minister Smith said: \'...any political

Asian Century linkage

China warns North Korea against a nuclear test. (Thanks Malcolm.) An Australia-Indonesia Youth Association survey finds that its hard for Australians to get working visas for Indonesia. To really leap into the Asian Century, Australia must become a republic, says David Morris. Nick

Has Asia power balance really shifted?

Brendan Taylor is Head of the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, Australian National University. As China rises, how far and how fast is Asia\'s power balance shifting? My colleague Hugh White seems to suggest that this question has already been answered when he argues that \'the

Whose fault is our Afghanistan failure?

Nick Bryant makes a fair and important point. Some good things have been achieved in Afghanistan, and some of them may even last once ISAF has gone. But for those of us interested in the decisions that governments make about the use of armed force, the fact that something has been achieved is not

Aid is a catalyst for regional change

Dr Michael Carnahan is Chief Economist at AusAID. History tells us that strong economic growth is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition to sustainably lift people out of poverty. Current and projected growth in Asia means the international community needs to evolve and reposition its

Reader riposte: China Changing Lecture

Giovana Arrarte attended the Lowy Institute\'s third China Changing Lecture last Thursday evening (recording now available here), and writes: Last night after listening to the thought-provoking presentation of Dr David Daokui Li, \'Is China Ready for Global Economic Leadership?\', several

Afghanistan a failure? Think again

If, as the cliché has it, truth is the first casualty of war, then nuanced commentary often follows close behind. Sometimes it comes in the form of inappropriate historical analogies – when US troops are involved, the tendency is to mine the Vietnam war and to talk modern-day quagmires

Pakistan: A conversation with Steve Coll

Alicia Mollaun, a PhD candidate at the ANU, is based in Islamabad. For her research on US-Pakistan relations, she met with Pulitzer Prize winner Steve Coll, author of \'Ghost Wars\' and \'The Bin Ladens\'. To say that Pakistan has problems is an understatement. A quick

5-minute Lowy Lunch: Afghanistan

Two points I take away from this interesting interview with Afghanistan\'s Ambassador to Australia Nasir Andisha, who was our guest speaker at the Lowy Institute on Wednesday (full audio of the speech here). The first is a rather stark warning of a flood of Afghan refugees to Australia should

As we head for the exits, are the Afghans ready?

Peter Leahy, a former Chief of Army, is Director of the University of Canberra\'s National Security Institute. The Prime Minister has announced the details of the transition of Australian troops from Afghanistan. It is a plausible and workable plan dependent on two assumptions. 

Australia 'Asian Century': A view from Bangkok

Bandid Nijathaworn is a former Deputy Governor of the Bank of Thailand and is now chair of the Thai Bond Market Association. This year, Australia and Thailand are due to celebrate 60 years of diplomatic ties, a relationship that economically has moved from strength to strength. Since the

Beijing divide and rule strategy exposes Jakarta

Greta Nabbs-Keller is writing a PhD at Griffith Asia Institute on the impact of democratisation on Indonesia’s foreign policy. Indonesia\'s aspirational slogan, \'ASEAN Community in a Global Community of Nations\', posted all over Jakarta in 2011, has been undermined by recent events in

New Delhi: The coup that never was?

David Brewster is a Visiting Fellow at the Strategic & Defence Studies Centre, ANU. Intriguing details are beginning to emerge about some events involving the Indian Army and the Indian Government last January. Some have claimed that unusual troop movements near New Delhi amounted to

Indonesia: The Fading Star of SBY

Tom McCawley is a Jakarta-based journalist and analyst. Indonesia\'s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono must look back nostalgically on his landslide re-election in 2009. Voters rewarded his promises to fight corruption and create jobs with a 60% landslide victory in a direct election. He was

China still has plenty of room to grow

With the European economy still teetering and the US recovery fragile, the world is heavily reliant on China to put in a good growth performance. So far so good. After 9.2% GDP growth in 2011, the first quarter of 2012 recorded a respectable 8% annualised growth rate. While this was a bit below

Australia inflated aid agenda

Annmaree\'s anxieties about the aid budget are well-founded. If the fiscal squeeze is to be as hard as everyone says, there seems little chance that aid will be spared. Of course, no one is talking about spending less on aid — only about slowing the rate of growth. Aid spending

Mind the gap: How NZ and Australia think of Asia

Andrew Butcher is Director of Policy & Research at the Asia New Zealand Foundation. The latest Asia New Zealand Foundation poll of New Zealanders\' attitudes to Asia and Asian peoples reveals some interesting divergences with Australia. Mirroring questions asked by the Lowy Institute,

Asian century linkage

John Blaxland proposes an Australian version of the US Peace Corps. North Korea\'s missile test was a flop. There may be a follow-up nuclear test. There\'s lingering distrust between China and Indonesia, meaning there won\'t be much of a shift in their relationship. the Asia

What it like to work at Foxconn

Foxconn is the electronics manufacturer that has become emblematic of China\'s economic rise and its export-led growth model. It produces cheap goods the world wants and creates hundreds of thousands of jobs for Chinese migrant workers, who send their earnings back home to needy relatives. But

David Cameron in Asia

The UK Prime Minister is on a tour of Japan and Southeast Asia, and it\'s interesting to read this visit in light of Nick Bryant\'s comments on The Interpreter that Britain is increasingly looking to Asia as a source of economic opportunities. Judging by the Number 10 website, trade is certainly

Multilateralism fading in our Asia debate

Brendan Taylor is Head of the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, Australian National University. A key premise underpinning the \'Australia in the Asian Century\' White Paper is that \'regional and multilateral cooperation is likely to be increasingly relevant in helping to navigate

The Papua New Guinean protester (II)

If yesterday\'s speech by Prime Minister O\'Neill, given to up to ten thousand protesters who packed out Sir John Guise Stadium in Port Moresby, is anything to go by then protesters have achieved political change. O\'Neill was forced to address the stadium of protesters who

The Papua New Guinean protester (I)

Back in February I looked at social media activism in the Pacific and asked \'What\'s next?\'. Well, now we know. When TIME Magazine made \'The Protester\' its 2011 Person of the Year, few could imagine that months later, a little-known Pacific Island wedged between Australia and

Reader riposte: Culture and economy

Tim Soutphommasane writes: I just noticed your blog entry of 5 April touching on my opinion column in The Age from 26 March on the Asian century. The \'Interpreter\' blog doesn\'t permit comments so I am resorting to email. I appreciate your comments, even if in disagreement,

A couple more footnotes on 'Asia'

This morning I pointed to two sources that contribute to the discussion we\'ve staged about the definition of Asia and Australia\'s place within it. As a third source, reader Alex points me to this article on today\'s Fairfax press arguing that, in regard to engaging with

More on the definition of 'Asia'

Two recent pieces that take our discussion forward, the first by Daniel Flitton at The Age: ...the government seems unable to decide whether America belongs in the region - switching again from promising an \'\'Asian century\'\' back to an \'\'Asia-Pacific\'\' one. Prime

Following the money into Asia

To track the staggering wealth of country\'s richest ever person, Gina Rinehart, is also to chart the commercial impact of Asia, and the reorientation of Australia\'s economy. When her father, Lang Hancock, signed a hugely lucrative iron ore royalties deal in the early 1960s, it was with the

Doco trailer: Japan arcade culture

Via Spoon & Tamago (a rather wonderful blog about Japanese design) comes this trailer for a documentary about Japan\'s video-game arcades: The independent film-makers are still trying to raise money to complete their movie. Learn more here

Asian Century linkage

Economist Michael Pettis has challenged The Economist to a bet on whether China will have the world\'s largest economy by 2018. The Economist accepted. Meanwhile, a new Citi Bank report claims China will be the world\'s biggest economy by 2020, and by 2050, India will take over.

The brief bloom of Arab multilateralism

If anyone thought the Arab League had finally been able to \'get it together\' and become an effective multilateral body, as some posited following its endorsement of military action against Libya and its imposition of sanctions against Syria, they should think again.  The Arab

If 'Asia' exists, is Australia part of it?

This sentence in Michael Wesley\'s recent contribution to the Australia in the Asian Century discussion prodded my mind: \'Far from becoming defunct, \"Asia\" is becoming ever more relevant as a source of self-evaluation for the societies occupying that continent\'. If Michael is right

What the Falklands War means for Asia

Britain and Argentina are commemorating the 30th anniversary of the Falklands War, and it\'s worth reflecting on the contemporary relevance of this conflict from an Asian perspective. Some initial thoughts: Factors such as prestige and the saving of face will drive countries to war over