Monday 23 May 2022 | 23:28 | SYDNEY

Australia in the World

As the crow flies to Fiji

Having flown with the hawks in the cyber-debate on dealing with Fiji\'s military regime, this column confronts the task of eating crow in the wake of some clear wins for the doves. The dove perspective has always been that isolating Fiji was never going to have much impact on the military

Observations on the defence debate

Christopher Joye is a a director and strategic adviser to a number of funds management and financial services companies. He\'s also a blogger and columnist for the Financial Review. I come to the defence debate hampered by being a clean-skin, but without the baggage of legacy conditioning

Defence: The shape of things to come

Major Gen (Retd) Jim Molan is author of Running the War in Iraq. The Australian Strategic Policy Institute is a significant national resource for the consideration of strategic and security issues, and its people are truly world class. Rod Lyon recently put out a paper titled Strategic Contours:

Reader ripostes: Morality and asylum seekers

Below, a comment from Marilyn Shepherd. But first, Hugh Wyndham writes: I must protest at the repetition, in a reputable publication, of the ill-informed errors contained in Rawdon Dalrymple\'s post. The worst is the statement that \'there is no evidence they are seeking asylum from

Indo-Pacific: What in a name?

It was refreshing to hear Australia\'s Defence Minister Stephen Smith declare plainly that this country\'s region is the Indo-Pacific when he spoke at the Lowy Institute last week. This is not just some faddish, interchangeable alternative to those long used and abused expressions \'Asia\' or

ADF silent in debates on modern warfare

The views expressed here, based on this working paper, are the author\'s and do not reflect those of the Department of Defence or the Australian Government. Periodically the US military is host to a robust, heated, and sometimes painful debate on the future character of war. These debates are

Asylum seekers: What is our moral responsibility?

Rawdon Dalrymple is a former Australian ambassador to Israel, Indonesia, the US and Japan. The Expert Panel\'s report on \'asylum seeker\' policy was prepared in less than seven weeks, a remarkable achievement to produce a succinct but comprehensive and compelling document covering all

Crowdsourcing and diplomacy in the Pacific

Charles Martin-Shields is Director of Conflict Management and Peacebuilding at TechChange, Washington DC. Gerard McCarthy is TechChange’s Project Manager (Asia-Pacific), based in Sydney. Since 2006 the private sector has been using social media and SMS text messaging to crowdsource consumer

Ken Henry crafts his White Paper (III)

Part 1 of this article is here and part 2 is here.  Consider a single political-diplomatic start date for the idea of the Asian Century. It is 1988 and Deng Xiaoping is meeting Rajiv Gandhi. China\'s leader tells India\'s Prime Minister: \'The 21st century can only be the Asian

Defence and security linkage

Australian Defence Minister Stephen Smith spoke yesterday at the Lowy Institute. While he may have left a lot unsaid about how Canberra can reconcile defence budget cuts with unchanged core strategic assessments and capability needs, at least he recognised the Indo-Pacific nature of Australia\'s

Ken Henry crafts his White Paper (II)

Part 1 of this article here. The Asian Century White Paper has to be broad enough to touch the conceptual edges of the Defence White Paper that will come out in the middle of next year. Notice the key word here is \'touch\' rather than \'enmesh\' or \'integrate\'. The two White Papers will

Stephen Smith speech: First impressions

The 26-page (!!) transcript of Defence Minister Stephen Smith\'s speech to the Lowy Institute today is available for you to read, so I won\'t summarise it. As the Minister joked, if he had read the whole thing, we would have needed dinner served. I haven\'t read the full transcript yet, so I\'

Ken Henry crafts his White Paper (I)

Matching the message to the audience is one of the defining choices in any attempt at communication. The problem for the White Paper on the Asian Century is the myriad of messages and the multiplicity of audiences — in Australia and beyond. Ken Henry is near the finish in his

China Choice: The missing question

Dr John Blaxland is a Senior Fellow at the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, ANU. Hugh White\'s recently released book, The China Choice, is an enjoyable read, capturing much of what he has blogged about on The Interpreter over the last couple of years in relation to the US and China

Explaining the CSIS force posture study

Mike Green is Senior Adviser and Japan Chair at the Center for Strategic & International Studies, Washington, DC. The CSIS study on US force posture options for the Asia Pacific has generated some interesting discussion in the Australian media. The main headline seems to be that we

Indonesia at Pitch Black

If you\'re a military aviation buff, the pictures emerging from Exercise Pitch Black, Australia\'s premier air warfare exercise, are spectacular. To see Indonesia\'s Russian-designed Sukhoi fighters on Australian soil and in formation with our F/A-18s is a rare and impressive spectacle. But

Stakes in uncertainty: Australia future with China, India and the United States

Australia’s choices in the Indo-Pacific Asian century will not simply involve China and the United States. India, too, needs to be in the picture. In this lecture delivered at the Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi in mid-2012, the Lowy Institute’s Rory Medcalf outlines the impact of a

Defence White Paper 2013: What do we need?

Major Gen (Retd) Jim Molan is author of Running the War in Iraq. Professor Paul Dibb offers those who will draft the Defence White Paper 2013 two choices: a modified DWP2009 or an approach based on a new force structure designed to meet restricted funding. At the same time, he mentions the

Launch of Hugh White book

Sometimes book launches can be memorable for what the invited talent says about the book and the writer. Back in 2006 Paul Keating launched George Megalogenis\' The Longest Decade with this: Would I write a better book? Well, of course I would. I write better than George and I know more. But

DFAT misses an opportunity in PNG

The PNG-Australia relationship has had a pretty rough year. Comparisons can be made with the fragility of our relationship with Indonesia – seemingly small issues can trigger a large backlash. Despite the breadth and depth of the relationship and our shared history, there is a new tension in

ASEAN won't help US to manage China

We all agree that something rather important happened in Phnom Penh last month, but differ about what it portends for ASEAN, and for Asia.  Let me start by agreeing with Ernie Bower that pessimism about ASEAN is easy to overdo. ASEAN has been remarkably successful for over four

Cat among the carrier pigeons

Australia\'s Fairfax newspapers have set the cat among the carrier pigeons, with these dramatic reports about supposed \'plans\' and \'recommendations\' for a US nuclear aircraft carrier base in Western Australia. What the news stories neglect to mention is that the relevant American

White Paper 2013: What are the options? (part 2)

Paul Dibb is Emeritus Professor at the School of International, Political and Strategic Studies, ANU. This two-part article is a longer version of a piece published in The Australian on 27 July.     In my previous post, I unpacked the problems inherent in trying to

Trailer: From Sydney With Love

Here\'s telling demonstration of the sometimes unexpected effects of Australia\'s embrace of international education: tonight the Bollywood family comedy \'From Sydney With Love\' premieres at the University of New South Wales. This SMH story quotes writer, director and star Prateek

White Paper 2013: What are the options? (Part 1)

Paul Dibb is Emeritus Professor at the School of International, Political and Strategic Studies, ANU. This two-part article is a longer version of a piece published in The Australian on 27 July. The drafters of the Defence White Paper 2013 face two options: attempt to rework the 2009

Two steps forward for Fiji relations

First came the positive murmurings out of the May meeting of the Pacific Island Forum's Ministerial Contact Group on Fiji. The ministers, including our own Bob Carr, were encouraged by the changes they saw in Fiji. Now, just three months later, Fiji, Australia and New Zealand have reached a

Southern Philippines: Looking outwards

Steve Rood\'s latest writing on the stop-start peace process in the Southern Philippines contains this very interesting take on why there may be a greater chance that the present \'start phase\' may stop with a political solution this time. At the same time there is the increasing urgency of

WR Mead on Asia future order

Below is part 3 of my interview with renowned US foreign policy analyst Walter Russell Mead; part 1 here and part 2 here. Q. Walter, you again make an intriguing comment near the close of your previous answer, so I\'d like to ask you about \'the emergence of an Asian society of

Bob Carr: Funny, friendly, benign

Foreign Minister Bob Carr has just finished his speech to the Lowy Institute in Sydney. During the Q&A he gave his quick description of how foreign countries ought to view Australia. \'Funny, friendly and benign\' was his initial three-word attempt, which actually serves quite well as a 

South China Sea: Our diplomatic timidity

Foreign Minister Bob Carr has rejected the suggestion I made in a Lowy Institute Snapshot yesterday, that the South China Sea is the most unpredictable and dangerous dispute in our region and that Australia should be more active in helping work towards a solution. Here\'s what Senator Carr told

Australia finally embraces ediplomacy

In embassies and chancelleries the world over, ediplomacy seems to be the new rock & roll. Perhaps we have even reached the point, to bastardise Aneurin Bevan\'s classic quote about unilateral nuclear disarmament, where to deprive a foreign secretary or ambassador of a Twitter account is to send

A leaner, more effective Army Reserve

Imagine if we decided that, at $17 million per gold medal, preparing elite athletes for the Olympics was too expensive and that instead we\'d pay our fastest and fittest to train only for 40 days each year. Come Rio 2016, no one would expect many Australian Olympic champions. Yet that\'s precisely

Reader riposte: Evacuations from Syria

In response to my post on UK\'s apparent readiness for a civilian evacuation from Syria, reader Jonathan Darby posted the following. My comments follow: Whilst I don\'t like to get in the way of a good story, did you by any chance check the MoD official blog? There you might have read this

UK ready for Syria evacuation. Are we?

A report emerged this week (thanks Sam) that the UK is gearing up for a possible mass evacuation of British citizens from Syria, with a helicopter carrier and amphibious assault ship to be deployed to the Eastern Mediterranean for exercises after the Olympic Games finish. The exercise has evidently&

Tony Abbott China speech

Here\'s a transcript of the speech, and below is a short video we recorded yesterday with my first impressions

Do we take 'warning time' seriously?

Justin Jones\' post on the continuing relevance of warning time as a strategic concept has been somewhat neglected and is worth returning to. The concept of Australia having enough warning time to mobilise a larger defence force for a major conflict has underpinned strategic planning for

Interview: WR Mead on Asia 3D chess

Below is part 2 of my interview with renowned US foreign policy analyst Walter Russell Mead; part 1 here. This interview series will mark the close of our Australia in the Asian Century feature, though you\'ll note from Walter\'s answer below how easily this discussion flows into the

First ASIS speech may not be the last

There has been so much media coverage of the speech the Lowy Institute hosted last week by Australia\'s so-called top spy, it would be an intelligence failure of the highest order if you had somehow missed the story. In any case, the full recording of the speech by Nick Warner, Director-General of

What’s in a word? Why ‘a bit of containment’ fits

Robert Ayson is Director of the Centre for Strategic Studies at Victoria University, Wellington.     The first rule of the social sciences and humanities is to avoid contests over the definition and application of terms. But that rule only applies on the Planet Zog. Here on earth

Dobell on the ASIS speech

Last Thursday Graeme Dobell put down some thoughts on the historic speech by Australian Secret Intelligence Service chief Nick Warner. He has some additional insights in this video, recorded right after the event

The costs of Indonesia democracy

Peter McCawley is a Visiting Fellow at the Indonesia Project, ANU, and former Dean of the Asia Development Bank Institute, Tokyo. Stephen Grenville (\'Democracy and Indonesia\'s economy\') notes that government decision-making has become much more difficult in Indonesia since

Walk a mile in China shoes

Not wishing to pile on to Abe Denmark\'s piece dismissing the idea that the US is containing China, but I have another concern to add to those of Hugh White. It relates to this passage in Denmark\'s piece: The key question is not whether China develops its own military power, but how

Say g'day: Tourism in the Asian century

Just as the American journalist James Fallows believes modern China can be viewed through the prism of its aviation industry, I have long thought that a pretty good study of modern-day Australia could be written by examining its tourism sector. Like shrimp on a barbeque, there are so many

Containment? No. Primacy? Yes.

Abraham Denmark is right that US policy towards China is not containment, if we use \'containment\' the way he does. He defines the word rather narrowly, to refer only to the specific set of polices adopted by America towards the Soviet Union. So for him to say that the US is not containing

Australia spy chief speaks

After a 60-year wait, the first public speech by Australia\'s top spy was notable just for happening, as well as being illuminating and tantalising. To rework Samuel Johnson: \'Sir, a spy chief preaching is like a dog walking on his hind legs. It is not done well; but you are surprised to find it

Tony Abbott Heritage speech

To round off Graeme Dobell\'s piece about Tony Abbott\'s foreign and aid policies as described in the leaked Coalition speaker notes, let\'s take a look at the speech Abbott gave at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, DC on Tuesday.   First, it\'s important to say that

Don't worry about containing China

Abraham Denmark, Senior Project Director at National Bureau of Asian Research, served as Country Director for China Affairs in the Office of the US Secretary of Defense. These views are his own. The pages of The Interpreter have of late featured an interesting discussion on how Australia would, or

Lowy poll: That weird democracy result

Probably the single biggest surprise to come out of this year\'s Lowy poll was about Australians\' apparently casual attitude to democracy — just 60% of Australians said democracy is preferable to any other kind of government, and among 18 to 29 year olds it was 39%. This result has