Friday 20 May 2022 | 21:18 | SYDNEY


YouTube explains US grand strategy

Earlier this week Dan Drezner ran a very entertaining series of YouTube videos purporting to explain US grand strategy. As an addition to that series, I offer \'Sofia the Lion Tamer at Wellington Zoo, New Zealand\', which nicely captures the frustration America (the lion) feels in trying to

India demographic dividend: Time to act

Danielle Rajendram is an intern with the international security program at the Lowy Institute. As Australia and many other nations face a greying demographic profile, the youth segment of India\'s population is increasing rapidly and is projected to do so for the next 30 years. As a result, India\'

Northeast Asia glass ceiling

If Tsai Ing-wen (left) wins the presidential election in Taiwan this week, she will become Northeast Asia\'s first elected female leader. If, as expected, Tsai loses a close election, South Korea\'s Park Geun-hye could take this mantle in December 2012. A Tsai win would be significant for

Chinese modern art in Canberra

\'Chicken feast\' (2005), by Wang Yan. Oil on canvas. (Image courtesy of the NMA.) While visiting Canberra during the Christmas-New Year break, I got an all-too-brief look at the National Museum of Australia\'s contemporary Chinese art exhibition, A New Horizon. Featuring works dating from 1949

Through Chinese eyes: Pang Zhongying (part 1)

Interview with Professor Pang Zhongying of People\'s University about China and global governance by Peter Martin and David Cohen. Peter and David are conducting a series of interviews with Chinese academics and journalists, using reader-submitted questions. Anna: China\'s lack of

Too many are drowning in search of sanctuary

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. While I\'m pleased that the lunchtime talk I delivered last week at the Lowy Institute has been cited in the past few days, I deeply

A trade deal without China

Much thought has been devoted to the choices and chances confronting Australia because of potential tensions between the US alliance and the trade bonanza with China. How diabolical would it be, however, if Australia manages to align itself against China both in its traditional alliance stance but

Fayrouz sings Jingle Bells

For a bit of Christmas and Middle East thrown together, here\'s Jingle Bells being sung in Arabic by Fayrouz, perhaps the most famous female Arab singer alive: (H/t Middle East Institute blog

Reader riposte: PNG home-grown constitution

John Ballard, a Visiting Fellow at ANU, writes: Andrew Farran isn\'t aware of the fact that PNG, unlike almost all other post-colonial regimes, produced a home-grown constitution. The Constitutional Planning Committee and first Somare Government worked on this over a period of two-and-

Lowy Institute writings on North Korea

To help busy readers, I\'ve pulled together a list of Lowy\'s best North Korea-related publications. Rory Medcalf in today\'s Australian on the chances of a peaceful succession. Fiona Cunningham yesterday argued that Kim\'s death won\'t reduce North Korea\'s attachment to nuclear

Defence cooperation: What does Beijing want?

Wilson Chau is a Lowy Institute intern. His Security Challenges essay on this topic recently won the Australian Defence Business Review Young Strategic Writers prize. The deepening of the Australia-US alliance during President Obama\'s visit last month was widely seen as directed at China,

Reader riposte: Australia and the PNG crisis

Andrew Farran writes: RE: PNG deadlock: it is strange, is it not, that a parliamentary majority does not suffice to gain and hold government? What became of the Westminster system in PNG? I concede that the constitution is very confusing — a colonial legacy (we did not trust them to

Imran rising?

Even by Pakistan\'s chaotic standards, it has been a ridiculously frenetic few weeks. The tumble of events has included a NATO air-strike killing 24 Pakistani soldiers on the porous border with Afghanistan; rumours that President Asif Ali Zardari was about to resign, after heading to Dubai to

PNG still in deadlock

Today marks day five of Papua New Guinea\'s constitutional crisis. The country has two prime ministers, two cabinets, two governors-general and two police commissioners. Both Michael Somare and Peter O\'Neill have fair claims to the prime ministership. PNG\'s Supreme Court

PNG: Land of the unexpected

The Supreme Court in Papua New Guinea yesterday ruled in a 3-2 decision that the election of Peter O\'Neill in August was unconstitutional as there was no vacancy in the office of Prime Minister at the time of his election. The court also ruled that Sir Michael Somare, who had been out

India doesn't need Australian uranium for weapons

John Carlson is a Visiting Fellow at the Lowy Institute and the former Director-General of the Australian Safeguards and Non-proliferation Office. One of the objections to supplying uranium to India is that it will free up India\'s own uranium for its nuclear weapons program. This argument is

Great moments in cultural diplomacy

Australian faces (though not always our accents) are prominent in American film and television. But when they show up in our own region, it\'s worth noting, particularly if the face in question belongs to the Third Secretary of the Australian Embassy in Jakarta. Here\'s Adelle Neary performing on

Mekong dam reprieve

At a meeting of the Council of the Mekong River Commission (MRC) in Siem Reap, Cambodia, yesterday the issue of whether or not Laos should be able to go ahead with its plan to build a major dam on the Mekong at Xayaburi was fudged, with the council members concluding that \'there is a need for

Reader riposte: Pakistan and long US memories

Peter Layton writes: Alicia Molaun has provided some keen insights into Pakistan and the view from Islamabad looking outwards, especially towards Washington. Certainly Alicia is correct that Washington needs a Pakistan that supports a positive end to the Western intervention in Afghanistan.

Pakistan-US relations: Annus horribilis

Alicia Mollaun is a PhD candidate at the Crawford School at ANU and is based in Islamabad. I left Islamabad bound for Canberra hours before NATO strikes killed 24 Pakistani soldiers in Mohmand Agency in the early hours of 26 November. The strikes have left many wondering how US-Pakistan relations

Doco trailer: Moresby Modern

This trailer was posted online some 11 months ago, but I see via Twitter that the film is being screened at the PNG Human Rights Film Festival this week, so it\'s worth highlighting now. Regular readers may recognise Emmanuel Narokobi as one of the interview subjects in the

Islam straining at the seams

Context is everything. So it is worth pausing for a moment to understand some of the elements that influence the minds of politicised Shi\'a in Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Bahrain and elsewhere. Just as many in the Sunni world harbour a deep dislike of the Shi\'a as dissenters from \'orthodox\' Islam

Clinton in Burma: The WMD dimension

Andrew Selth is a Research Fellow at the Griffith Asia Institute and author of Burma and Weapons of Mass Destruction: Not If, But Why, How and What. As expected, Hillary Clinton\'s historic visit to Burma last week prompted a flurry of reports and op-eds in the news media and on activist websites

Who likes Damascus?

With the sanctions noose closing ever more tightly around the neck of the Assad regime, it is remarkable that Damascus can count on any support from its fellow Arab states. But even when the Arab League voted last week to impose sanctions on Syria, it was not unanimous. Two of Syria\'s three

What happening in Vietnam?

Above, a gorgeous time-lapse video of Ho Chi Minh City (h/t TDW), which didn\'t look much like this when we were still calling it Saigon (the name change happened in 1976, although \'Saigon\' is still commonly used). The video is an indicator of how much is changing in Vietnam, and a reminder

Uranium to India: Decision time

On Sunday, the Australian Labor Party\'s national conference will take an important decision: whether to end its blanket prohibition on uranium exports to India\'s nuclear energy program. Wherever you stand, a robust debate on the issue can only improve the chances of a sensible policy outcome.

A strong case to drop India uranium ban

Dhruva Jaishankar is Program Officer for Asia at the German Marshall Fund, a Fellow at the Takshashila Institution and an occasional columnist for The Indian Express. It should be no surprise that New Delhi would welcome an Australian decision to export uranium to India. Isolating India on

India: Let not just give the nod

One of Australia\'s finest cricket writers observes that the combined talents of Bradman, Bismarck and Warren Buffett could hardly solve the governance headaches created by India\'s domination of world cricket administration. Gideon Haigh writes that India\'s cricketing power exemplifies

Reluctant realists

In a post on Cogitasia, a leading blog hosted by the US think tank the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Dr Malcolm Cook (Dean of International Studies at Flinders University) and the Institute’s Director of Studies Andrew Shearer highlight how and why the progressive Asia policy

The euro crisis: Lessons for East Asia

Only a few years ago, the European common-currency arrangements were held up as a possible model for Asia. With the euro under serious threat, we don\'t hear much about this now, but there may be some lessons for Asia from the current mess in Europe. Lesson one might be surprising at first sight.

Fiji: Should we believe in promises?

Fiji\'s government delivered its 2012 budget last week. In his budget address, Commodore Frank Bainimarama promised that his government would start work on a new constitution no later than September 2012. He also announced $5.9 million in the budget for electronic voter registration— \'as a

US-Pakistan relations in deep trouble

I heard late on Saturday night about the NATO strike on a border post that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers, as I stepped off a plane having spent a week in Pakistan. A week of talks in Pakistan had left me in no doubt that Pakistani-American relations are in deep, deep trouble. One commentator

South Pacific: A change is gonna come

For some detailed tasks in the South Pacific, Australia has to do the job. Working out what climate change will mean for individual island states falls into the category of tasks Australia is best placed to perform. So anyone doing work in or with East Timor and the Islands —

Through Chinese eyes: He Wenping (Part 2)

Armed with your questions, Peter Martin and David Cohen from Sinocentric speak to the Director of African Studies at Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, He Wenping. Part 1 here; part 3 here. Junni: Whilst the scale and nature of Chinese and Indian involvement in Sub-Saharan Africa remain quite

'Taim blong ol meri': Time for women in PNG

Danielle Romanes is an intern with the Lowy Institute\'s Myer Foundation Melanesia Program. Yesterday PNG did away with the dubious distinction of holding one of the worst records in the world for female representation in parliament. Seizing what may have been the last chance for PNG\'s women

Through Chinese eyes: He Wenping (Part 1)

Armed with your questions, Peter Martin and David Cohen from Sinocentric speak to the Director of African Studies at Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, He Wenping. Part 2 here, Part 3 here. Angelica: Aid from China to African countries has been generous and forthcoming ever since the founding of

Reader riposte: Obama historical howler

Andrew Butcher from the Asia New Zealand Foundation comments on President Obama\'s speech to the Australian parliament last week: I think I heard correctly an error in Obama\'s speech, where he congratulated Australia on being the first country in the world to give woman the vote. Now, New

Parsing the 'pivot': Beijing view of US bases

Amy King is a PhD student at Oxford University. Much has been made of China\'s response to President Obama\'s decision to rotate 2500 American troops through bases in the Northern Territory. But was there more to the Chinese response than was reported in the Western press? Australian and US

Egyptian uprising: Redux or reflux?

The violence of recent days in Cairo\'s Tahrir square and in other major Egyptian cities has raised the possibility of a repeat of January/February this year, when protests forced Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak from power. This time the protesters have Egypt\'s transitional rulers, Field Marshal

Aung San Suu Kyi choice

Andrew Selth is a research fellow at the Griffith Asia Institute. In some ways, it is easier and safer to be a critic on the sidelines than to become an active participant in the formal political process. Yet, not to do so when an opportunity presents itself risks continuing powerlessness, a loss

Indonesia, but not as we know it

I just did a short interview with ABC Radio Brisbane\'s Terri Begley, who asked me about the Gillard Government\'s gift of four ex-RAAF C-130 transport planes to Indonesia. It was a good opportunity to make a couple of larger points about Indonesia, both illustrated by recent developments in

Last chance for PNG women?

Danielle Romanes is an intern with the Lowy Institute\'s Myer Foundation Melanesia Program. Unresolved constitutional crises in PNG threaten to overshadow a vital parliamentary session this week. Having just graduated from an otherwise relatively successful first 100 days in office, Prime

Reader query: US base implications

A query from a reader that I\'m hopeful some of the many expert readers of this blog can help answer. Matt Zurstrassen writes: The media reaction to the announcement by the US president on an increased security emphasis on the region seems somewhat misguided, being focused purely on China\'

Two further notes on Obama speech

First, an observation from a colleague concerning the paragraph dealing with North Korea: Indeed, we also reiterate our resolve to act firmly against any proliferation activities by North Korea. The transfer of nuclear materials or material by North Korea to states or non-state entities would

Cambodia: And then there were three

Throughout the long, drawn-out course of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal (the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, or ECCC) detailed in various Interpreter posts, observers have repeatedly expressed concern that the age of the four defendants before the court in Case 002 could mean that