Monday 23 May 2022 | 06:16 | SYDNEY

Australia in the World

The case for more aid is still weak

Thanks to AusAID\'s Michael Carnahan for his contribution to our debate about the aid budget.  This strand of the debate began with my claim that it was a mistake to keep spending more on aid when the purpose of our aid program was unclear. I\'m not arguing against aid as such

Bob Carr Washington warm-up

Bob Carr delivered his first major address in Washington today at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.  As someone who used to spend his university lunch breaks watching NSW parliamentary question time just so I could see the man\'s debating skills in practice, it was a

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

Reader riposte: The Australia Network

Adrian Black responds to \'In defence of the Australia Network\', by Alex Oliver: As someone who has lived and worked overseas, seen a fair bit of the ABC\'s overseas television and had a good opportunity to gauge the reaction to it from the locals I can draw two conclusions: The program

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

Foreign aid: What wrong with charity?

Let me touch briefly on two issues raised by Tim O\'Connor\'s response to my post on aid. First, I\'m sure Tim is right to say that aid can help foster economic growth by supporting health and education programs, because healthier and better-educated people are more productive. But

The subterranean submarine debate

Canberra\'s submarine dithering illustrates the point that sometimes a decision not to make a decision actually amounts to a decision. The longer Government defers or dithers on the actual steps involved in building a new submarine in Australia, the less scope it has for making such a decision

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

Subs and jets: Pick a number

A few notes to keep our conversation about the \'military numbers game\' ticking along. First, I want to thank John Birmingham for bringing the attention of Fairfax readers to our debate. Second, ASPI has entered the submarine debate with a new Strategic Insights paper, \'

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

In defence of the Australia Network

In what could only be described as a complete pasting, Professor Judith Sloan has called for the axing of Australia\'s international television broadcaster, the Australia Network, dubbing it \'repetitive, pointless tosh\'. Scrapping the service would save taxpayers millions of dollars, Sloan

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

Defence: The 'core force' future is now

It\'s over twenty-five years since Alan Wrigley left Defence, but his name is still one to conjure with on Russell Hill, and his splendid post shows why. It displays all the qualities that made it such a pleasure to see him in action. At a time when there seems room to doubt that those

Reader riposte: It not just about AusAID

Danielle Romanes writes: Hugh White argues that \'slowing the growth of aid would be no bad thing.\' \'The most immediate reason is that it is so hard to avoid wasting a lot of money when the amounts available are growing so fast. This is no discredit to AusAID, which is one of the world

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

Why 12 submarines? An imperfect answer

Derek Woolner is a Visiting Fellow at the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre of the ANU. He is co-author, with Peter Yule, of The Collins Class Submarine Story: Steel, Spies and Spin. Rodger Shanahan asks for a more rigorous examination of the reasons for adopting 12 as the number of boats

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,

Reader riposte: Fighting in the War Room

Andrew Carr, an Associate Lecturer in ANU\'s Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, writes: Jim Molan makes a good argument that the Government is confused about its defence priorities, but unfortunately that\'s also true of the wider defence community in Australia. In just the last year

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

The PNG stress test

Papua New Guinea\'s political leaders are putting their system through a slow but diabolical stress test: The struggle of wills between two strong leaders who both claim to be the rightful prime minister. A short-lived military mutiny in January that aspired to coup but quickly fell to farce.

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

Let have a Charter of Defence Honesty

Major Gen (Retd) Jim Molan is author of Running the War in Iraq. The answer to Rodger\'s question (\'Why so many JSFs, subs?\') is not difficult except in its political dimension. Which is a bit like saying that the health care problem in Australia could be easily solved if we could just get rid of

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

Defence big secret: There is no plan

I share Rodger Shanahan\'s suspicions about submarine arithmetic. I am sure that the number 12 was reached simply by doubling the number we ordered last time with the Collins class. And we bought six Collins because we had six Oberons before that. So yes, it was as

Reader riposte: The ALP aid promises

Marc Purcell, Executive Director of the Australian Council for International Development, responds to \'Are the knives out for the aid budget?\': The Gillard Government committed to scaling up the Australian aid program at the 2007 election, and again in 2010. The 2010 ALP election platform 

Why so many JSFs, subs?

In his most recent Lowy lecture, Alan Dupont advocated a re-evaluation of the need for 12 submarines and 100 Joint Strike Fighters (JSF) in light of the economic and strategic circumstances Defence is likely to face. His argument was not that there was no need for these hugely

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

Are the knives out for the aid budget?

Will the Gillard Government stick by its commitment to increase the aid budget to 0.5% of Australia's gross national income by 2015/2016? That's the question being asked as rumours and leaks gather momentum in the lead-up to Budget night on 10 May. In an interview with the 7.30 Report's Chris

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

Australian lessons from the Falklands War

Major Gen (Retd) Jim Molan is author of Running the War in Iraq. It is fascinating to think, as Sam leads us, about what a Falklands-type war would mean for Australia\'s part of the world. The relevance is particularly real for Australia because we are building an amphibious force with the

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

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.

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

World Bank: Do(ne) the right thing

In his post on the contest for the leadership of the World Bank, Steve Grenville wonders whether Australia will \'want to stay close to our great and powerful friends and reaffirm that \"he who pays the piper calls the tune\", or cast our vote for different succession processes which reflect the

'Asian century' email digest

You can now subscribe to a weekly email service that will alert you to every post published in our \'Australia in the Asian Century\' blog feature. Just look for this small banner in the right-hand column of the blog, and you\'ll see a space where you can enter your email address. You\'ll get a

Reader riposte: Where our aid goes

Scott Kelleher is Director of AusAID\'s Media Unit: I read with interest your 29 February blog, \'Foreign aid advice for the new minister\'. As you know, the Government agreed to 38 of the 39 recommendations made by the Independent Review of Aid Effectiveness and AusAID is making good progress

Open door policy

In an article for's Argument section, Lowy Institute Research Fellow Fergus Hanson asks whether the State Department's ambitious new plan to subvert autocratic regimes online can actually succeed.The article can be read here

Reader riposte: Does 'Asia' exist?

Martin O'Donnell responds to this Michael Wesley post: Regarding Michael Wesley's keynote address to the University Australia Conference — which I found a very enlightening read — I was reminded of two other pieces I had come across earlier this month. One was a radio interview with

Defence strategy still a muddle

Major Gen (Retd) Jim Molan is author of Running the War in Iraq. Graeme Dobell is relatively fair to Army by current standards, but remember, it\'s not paranoia when they really are out to get you! Here are some thoughts, not necessarily against Graeme, just prompted by his post. Because of

Asian Century linkage

Why China can\'t avoid oil addiction, and why that spells trouble. Tim Southphommasane: \'...we\'ve fallen into the habit of making a monetary fetish out of our relationships with Asia\'. A nice list of English-language blogs about Vietnam. Young scholars from around Southeast Asia reflect

Votes and guns in PNG

Scott Flower is a McKenzie Fellow at the University of Melbourne. He is regularly engaged by multinational companies as a risk management consultant to major resource projects in PNG. Over the last month, rarely a day has passed without some drama in Papua New Guinea\'s political landscape.

The Collins class was not a disaster

Derek Woolner is a Visiting Fellow at the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre of the ANU. He is co-author, with Peter Yule, of The Collins Class Submarine Story: Steel, Spies and Spin. We can agree with Stephen Grenville that the Government\'s intention to build its future submarine fleet in