Monday 27 May 2019 | 22:06 | SYDNEY

Australia in the World

The passing of giants 1: Coral Bell

In international policy this has truly been a week for the passing of giants. With colleagues, I am saddened at the loss of Coral Bell, and would second Minh Bui Jones’ exquisite observations about all that set her apart from so many other strategic analysts in Australia and elsewhere. One of

Reader riposte: Strategic uncertainty

Paul Scanlan writes: Sam Roggeveen asks an interesting question: if you face an uncertain strategic future, how do you structure a defence force? Sam and Major General Molan have put the case for a balanced force in an environment of strategic uncertainty. While I agree about the uncertainty, I

The rise of Brazil

In the second of our series of interviews conducted at the Melbourne Latin American Dialogue in August hosted by the University of Melbourne (part 1 here), we took a look at Australia and Brazil from a Brazilian perspective. University of Sao Paulo's Professor Amancio Silva's polling of elites

Reader riposte: Remembering Coral Bell

Paul Cotton writes: I am deeply saddened to learn of the death of Coral Bell. We were fellow students at the London School of Economics in 1953. I was hoping to be accepted for the New Zealand Department of External Affairs. She had already been in the Australian Department and had been one of

Bob Carr has a foreign affair (6)

Graeme Dobell's series on Bob Carr's first six months as foreign minister: Part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4 and part 5. In the never-ending foreign policy struggle to identify means and ends, to balance commitments with power, personal style doesn't always get the attention it should in

Coral Bell RIP

There was sad news for the entire Australian foreign policy community last weekend when we heard of the passing of Dr Coral Bell. Coral was a giant of the Australian foreign policy scene and an internationally renowned scholar. She was known to many of us at the Lowy Institute. She published

Australian science in the Asian century

Professor Andrew Holmes is Foreign Secretary of the Australian Academy of Science. He is Melbourne Laureate Professor of the School of Chemistry at the University of Melbourne and a CSIRO Fellow. Australia is a competitive, collaborative top 20 country in science. But unless we take a strategic

In conversation: Anatol Lieven and Hugh White on The China Choice (4)

On the morning of the launch of Professor Hugh White's book The China Choice at the Lowy Institute, Professor Anatol Lieven spoke to White about some of the issues raised in the book. Click here for parts 1, 2 and 3. In the final part of their discussion, Professor Hugh White and

UK-Canada diplomatic sharing

Foreign ministers of the UK and Canada yesterday announced that their two nations have signed a memorandum of understanding on Enhancing Mutual Support at Missions Abroad.  The announcement has generated a small torrent of speculation and alarm from the press in both countries and further afield

Latin America: Opportunity knocks

Now is Latin America's moment in the sun, pronounced John Grill, the long serving chief executive of global company Worley Parsons, at the annual dinner of the Australia-Latin America Business Council in Sydney last week. In Australia, we have been a little slow in catching on to this fact but

In conversation: Anatol Lieven and Hugh White on The China Choice (2)

On the morning of the launch of Professor Hugh White's book The China Choice at the Lowy Institute, Professor Anatol Lieven spoke to White about some of the issues raised in the book. Part 1 can be seen here.  In the second part of their conversation, Lieven raises the question of

Abbott and the UNSC bid

It's another Abbott gaffe, say the newspapers, and clearly the staff-work in the Opposition Leader's office will get some scrutiny after Abbott told the media yesterday that, instead of swanning around New York chasing votes for Australia's UN Security Council bid, the Prime Minister ought to be in

In conversation: Anatol Lieven and Hugh White on The China Choice (1)

In a year of mounting tensions between China and the US in the South China Sea, Lowy Institute Visiting Fellow Professor Hugh White's book, The China Choice, is a timely and important contribution to international policy debate. The recent anti-Japan protests show a dark combative side of

Bob Carr has a foreign affair (5)

A continuing look at the work of Australia's Foreign Minister. If you missed the start of this series here are links to parts 1, 2, 3 and 4. One area where Bob Carr's role as the non-Rudd has proved invaluable for the Gillard Government is in the handling of the aid budget.  As prime

Julia Gillard in New York

There is a lovely story from Prime Minister Billy McMahon's 1971 trip to America that, strangely enough, does not involve his wife Sonia's daring evening gown. It comes from the Waldorf Hotel in New York, where the prime ministerial entourage whiled away a stray Saturday night by watching Eartha

Reader ripostes: Our costly UNSC bid

Below, a comment from Nina Markovic. But first, Hugh Wyndham: I have been following the debate about our Security Council bid with a terrible sense of déjà vu. I was posted to the UN mission to assist the ambassador on the Security Council when we were members in 1973-4. I remember then many

In defence of a balanced force

Major Gen (Retd) Jim Molan is author of Running the War in Iraq. Sam Roggeveen asks an interesting question: if you face an uncertain strategic future, how do you structure a defence force? Any threat from a major Asian land power is so unpredictable at present that to structure the ADF only

Fiji: Optimism takes a blow

It's a trying time for Fiji's optimists. Just when you think a corner has been turned on the slow road back to democracy in Fiji, a rock comes crashing down to stall the pace. That's what happened this week when the Fijian interim government expelled a visiting team from the UN's International

Bob Carr has a foreign affair (4)

Part 1, part 2 and part 3 of Graeme Dobell's series on Bob Carr's first six months as foreign minister. Bob Carr brought to Foreign Affairs a vast administrative experience, a lifetime in politics, and a great intellectual store of history lessons drawn from a prodigious appetite for books. What

The UNSC bid was a costly mistake

Thanks to Daniel Woker for schooling me on the importance of the UN Security Council. In some ways I am in agreement. It does make sense for countries to strive to join the UN's 'steering committee' once in a while. But what's missing in Dr Woker's response is why the UNSC is important to

Words are bullets...

We know that things are crook between the Defence Department and the Gillard Government at present, as Graeme Dobell has explained in some detail. Events came to a head today with the, errr, redeployment of Defence Secretary Duncan Lewis to a diplomatic posting in Brussels. In the

Labor loses Defence, and a secretary

Labor is being burnt by Defence as it burns through Defence secretaries. With the abrupt departure of Duncan Lewis (pictured) next month, Labor is on to its fourth Defence secretary since taking office in 2007. An average of about one a year is a lousy look. If Stephen Smith had managed to

Bob Carr has a foreign affair (3)

Part 1 and part 2 of Graeme Dobell\'s series on Bob Carr\'s first six months as foreign minister. As Bob Carr prepared to ascend to his dream job, he consulted Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Dennis Richardson on the vistas and the visions about to open up. The

As Australia changes, so must the ADF

Dr Ben Wadham is a former serving member of the Army. He is now a sociologist at Flinders University\'s School of Education, researching civil-military relations. The recent presentation by Defence Minister Stephen Smith to the Lowy Institute on the 2013 Defence White Paper&

Reader ripostes: Strategic uncertainty

Below, Nic Stuart responds to Sam Roggeveen\'s post asking how defence planning can occur when our ability to forecast the future is so poor. But first, Lindsay Bignell: Without knowing the probabilities of which scenarios are more or less likely, it would seem sensible to plan on that

Bob Carr has a foreign affair (2)

Graeme Dobell\'s series on Bob Carr\'s first six months as foreign minister starts here. Bob Carr\'s threat of sanctions against PNG if it dared to delay the scheduled election was an important moment in the education of Bob. Not the least problem with Carr\'s short-lived thought balloon in

Reader riposte: Why is ADF voice missing?

Josh Farquhar writes: The Chief of Army\'s response to Dr Palazzo\'s insightful and constructive comments on the lack of ADF involvement in public debate does not address Dr Palazzo\'s most critical point: why have senior ADF officers been so notably absent in the public debate? Of

Bob Carr has a foreign affair (1)

Six months ago on 13 March, Bob Carr was sworn in as senator and foreign minister in one of the quickest personal transformations Canberra has seen for many a day.  In less than a fortnight, Citizen Carr went from carefree commentator to cabinet. The man Mark Latham dubbed Bob the

Piracy and the private security boom

In a Lowy Institute Analysis released today, I outline the boom in private military security companies fighting piracy in the Indian Ocean. My research, sponsored by the Australian Civil Military Centre, shows over 140 companies now provide armed protection for ships in the Indian Ocean. At

Defence: Planning for the unknowable

The link I posted this morning to an article on how intelligence agencies can improve the accuracy of their forecasts puts me in mind of the next Defence White Paper, and the job involved in planning for defence capabilities decades into the future. There\'s solid research that political

Papua incendiary influence

Recent events have again underlined the incendiary influence of the Papua conflict in Australia-Indonesia relations. A report on the ABC\'s 7:30 program last week focused on claims that Indonesia\'s anti-terror squad, Detachment 88, was involved in the killing of Papuan independence leader

In defence of Australia UN Security Council bid

Dr Daniel Woker is the former Swiss Ambassador to Australia, Singapore and Kuwait and now a Senior Lecturer at the University of St Gallen. Danielle Cave is the latest Australian criticising an apparent concentration of intellectual and material resources within DFAT to conquer a non-

UN Security Council: Call in Dame Edna

The previous column on Australia\'s bid for a UN Security Council seat was all about the dark side of losing to Luxembourg. Now for the sunny uplands of what a win might mean. It has been quite a while since multilateralism got a chance to strut its stuff at the front of the Australian

UN Security Council: What if we lose?

Australian diplomacy is about to get the result of a significant test. To cut straight to the race, Australia is about to find out whether it can beat Luxembourg. Or to be a bit more stuffy, Australia is going to discover what it\'s worth to be a founding member of the UN and the twelfth

Pacific: Gillard bows to media power

On Twitter, The Age\'s Diplomatic Editor Daniel Flitton responded to my query about why Prime Minister Gillard had to come home from the Pacific Islands Forum after the Australian combat deaths in Afghanistan: Simple issue of imagery I\'d have thought. Gillard at idyllic lagoon as

Why did PM cut short her Pacific visit?

Here\'s Nic Stuart, writing in The ASPI Strategist, about Prime Minister Gillard\'s decision to cut short her attendance at the Pacific Islands Forum after the combat deaths in Afghanistan: A casual assumption has been made that our broader strategic interests in the Pacific are less

Afghanistan: The grisly waiting game

No sooner had the tragic news broken yesterday of five more Australians killed in Afghanistan than Canberra\'s propaganda machine coughed and spluttered to life, all set to churn out its trademark combination of myth, platitude, euphemism, selective half-truth and straight-out lie. The

10 reasons AusAID should stay in Latin America (2)

Dr Wendy Jarvie, a visiting professor at UNSW@Canberra, is an independent member of the Australian Awards selection panel for Latin America.This post draws from interviews with Latin American applicants for scholarships carried out in July 2012. Part 1 of this post here. 5.

10 reasons AusAID should stay in Latin America (1)

Dr Wendy Jarvie, a visiting professor at UNSW@Canberra, is an independent member of the Australian Awards selection panel for Latin America.This post draws from interviews with Latin American applicants for scholarships carried out in July 2012. There have been disturbing

Australia Pacific strategy (part 2)

Earlier this week I used the opportunity of the 2012 Pacific Islands Forum, now taking place in the Cook Islands, to start a blog series on Australia\'s Pacific Islands strategy. I outlined two elements that characterise Australia\'s Pacific policy. First is Australia\'s tendency to project our

Julia Gillard enters Madeleine Award

Canberra columnist Graeme Dobell\'s annual Madeleine Award goes to the best use of symbol, stunt, prop, gesture or jest in international affairs. So in this case, it is perhaps more accurate to say that the Cook Islands Government is entering the award by arranging this spectacular

In defence of strategic uncertainty

If there\'s one feature that defines Australia\'s strategic environment out to 2035, it is complex uncertainty. Not the supposedly inexorable rise of China, not the decline of America, not globalisation, not climate change or weapons of mass destruction or terrorism, but uncertainty. The first

Reader riposte: Spend less on defence

Bernardo Camejo writes: There\'s been a lot of debate going on about defence spending in Australia, mainly among experts who know what they\'re talking about, and whose opinions should be heeded by policy-makers. I\'d like to add my two cents to the argument, not because I want to contradict

PIF week: Australia Pacific strategy (I)

Government officials, diplomats, aid officials, multilateral bankers and a handful of private sector representatives will come together with a host of non-member country representatives (including from China, Indonesia, Japan and the US) who have been hopping on and off connecting flights to

All quiet in Defence? Chief of Army responds

Lieutenant General David Morrison (pictured) is Chief of the Australian Army. I am a strong supporter of discussion and debate on a wide range of issues, including the future nature of warfare; however I disagree with the thesis put forward by Dr Albert Palazzo in the latest Land Warfare

Kurt Campbell on Oz China debate

America\'s senior Asia diplomat, Kurt Campbell, made an intervention yesterday in the debate generated by Hugh White\'s The China Choice and the speech former Prime Minister Paul Keating made at the book launch. Campbell deployed a familiar straw man, saying that he wanted to \'

RAAF is growling, not purring

Major Gen (Retd) Jim Molan is author of Running the War in Iraq. It was fascinating to watch the announcement by the Minister and the Chief of Air Force on the purchase of the Boeing EA-18G Growler advanced electronic warfare capability. The system will be acquired using a US purchasing

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