Saturday 30 May 2020 | 06:40 | SYDNEY

Blogs and blogging

Thursday linkage

US Defense Secretary Robert M Gates addressed the Navy League in Maryland this week on the changing demands on the US navy, new challenges from an altered strategic landscape, and the task of meeting hardware needs in a time of spiralling costs and a tightened fiscal environment ...   

Tuesday linkage

Curious: DFAT's bio page for Brendan Nelson refers to him as Ambassador to the EU, Belgium and Luxembourg, but is silent about his appointment as Representative to NATO and Special Representative to the WHO. Japan is opening a military base in Djibouti. No, really. Following on from Graeme

Friday linkage

More anti-PowerPoint commentary here, and it seems to me just as misguided as the NY Times piece that sparked my post. Just to clarify, I didn't mean to argue that PowerPoint is a really great tool; just that it is way better than having no such tool. Photos from China of a previously secret

Thursday linkage

Further to my post this morning, here's some fascinating reading on how PowerPoint contributed to the Columbia space shuttle disaster. (Photo courtesy of NASA.) Gordon Brown's election gaffe is really a story of poor staff work. More amazing images of the national pavilions at the Shanghai

Monday linkage

New essay on China and the GFC addresses three issues: how hard hit was China? What's the outlook for regime stability? What impact did the GFC have on Chinese foreign policy? The Pentagon plans to have full ballistic missile defence coverage of Europe by 2018. On Obama's new space policy

Thursday linkage

Our digital future: two of the smartest new-media commentators around, Evgeny Morozov and Clay Shirky, in debate. H/t 3QD.) That Iraq gun camera footage: Watch comedian Stephen Colbert break character to ask some tough questions of the spokesman for Wikileaks, Australian Julian Assange. The

Friday linkage

Cold Turkey: Prime Minister Erdogan calls Israel 'the principal threat to regional peace' in the Middle East. Israel-Jordan relations are in poor shape too. Canberra insiders know John Besemeres as one of Australia's finest analysts of American and European affairs. It's good to see him sharing

Thursday linkage

Journalist Brian Toohey's new piece on defence policy mentions The Interpreter. The FT says Beijing is laying the groundwork for a revaluation of its currency. How to build a green economy, by Paul Krugman. A new study finds low levels of social mobility in China. Further to my recent

Tuesday linkage

Pakistan's president presents parliament with constitutional amendments that would restrict his own powers. Chinese peacekeeping gets a lot of academic attention, but we should be watching India too. The US decides to delay unilateral action against China on currency manipulation, instead

Wednesday linkage

What does social media mean for foreign policy? The US State Department wants to know, and there's an interesting response in this post, which includes details on the Swedish Foreign Ministry's enlightened approach. Advertisements now appearing in Chinese university exam papers. A new study 

Monday linkage

New Mandala has been posting some good stuff on the Bangkok protests. The Afghan war has given a new life to one of the veterans of the Cold War, the U2 spyplane. First ever interview with a former Taliban soldier who has joined the 'reintegration' effort. According to one prominent Hong

Friday linkage

An American perspective on Australian foreign policy: 'Australians are increasingly uneasy about both China and the United States...creating an incentive for Canberra to hedge its bets and become, ever so quietly, more independent...' We've talked before about the super-empowered individual.

Thursday linkage

A survey finds that the Taiwanese prefer Japan to China. The Indian and Indonesian navies have been exercising together regularly of late. Bangladesh has become the 111th state to ratify the Statute of the International Criminal Court and the first country in South Asia to do so. Looks like

Wednesday linkage

The Taiwan Link looks like a very useful blog on security issues relating to China and Taiwan. Check out the latest post on China's missile defence program. (H/t Arms Control Wonk.) The Australian Prime Ministers Centre is offering scholarships for research on our PMs. Sarkozy drops his

Tuesday linkage

Peter Hartcher's geopolitical take on the old line that 'demography is destiny.' That well-known bastion of statism and green-left theology, The Economist, defends the science of climate change. Are the current ructions in the US-China relationship just cyclical, or a tipping point?

Friday linkage

Dan Drezner says that, on China's currency, Paul Krugman is talking just like a neoconservative: 'He evinces complete disregard for existing multilateral structures, makes casual assumptions about how allies will line up behind the United States and adversaries will simply fold, and

Thursday linkage

Apropos of earlier posts on China's currency, here's a US Congressional Research Service report summarising the economic issues. The US State Department has set up Opinion Space, a 'discussion forum designed to engage participants from around the world.' (Thanks to Jane for the link.) Is

Tuesday linkage

China wants to build a high-speed rail network throughout Asia and to Europe. The International Crisis Group proposes a roadmap to end the separatist conflict in West Papua. Capital idea: 'In countries where the largest city is also the capital, it’s easier for mass movements to bring about

Thursday linkage

North Korea has 'created an army division in charge of newly developed intermediate-range missiles capable of striking U.S. forces in Japan and Guam'. Hungry Beast examines a Defence Department payroll 'anomaly' for deployed soldiers. Fixing it is reportedly running into political problems.

Tuesday linkage

Last week I linked to a Jakarta blogger who was sceptical about reports of Muslim extremists evading police in the Aceh highlands. He's now having second thoughts. Yesterday I discovered a blog devoted to resilience science. The Long March to Power: The New Historic Mission of the People's

Friday linkage

Passport links to a new report on women's rights in the Middle East. Their post includes a quote saying that female lawyers are not allowed to appear in Saudi courts. But that's changing. Japan has a case of ROK envy. German troops and vehicles are doing desert training in Australia. Photo

Thursday linkage

Some excellent advice for incoming ICC Vice-President John Howard on how he can use his diplomatic experience to improve world cricket. How profitable are China's state-owned enterprises? Yesterday James Brown mentioned that increased strategic competition in the Arctic could be a harbinger

Wednesday linkage

The European Union is said to specialise in civilian crisis management, but this article suggests it's largely a myth. Democratic Oversight of Intelligence Services: a soon to be released Australian book; includes a foreword by Kim Beazley and chapter by the Lowy Institute's Michael Wesley.

The clickable Russia

Anna Solar-Bassett writes: I write as an avid reader of the Interpreter. May I make a small request/suggestion that you post a call out for English-translated/written Russia media/blogs from workers on the ground, as you did with the Middle East a few months ago? I have some

Monday linkage

A blog about peace operations and post-conflict reconstruction; lots of good Timor stuff here. Did you know YouTube is banned in Turkey? More facts about Turkey's social media scene here. The FT describes 10 innovations that will reshape business around the world. As Jakarta sinks, Indonesia

Friday linkage

The Pope opposes airport body scanners. Zbigniew Brzezinski: how Jimmy Carter and I started the Afghan mujahideen. Andrew Bacevich says Americans should stop complaining about the pacification of Europe. India rejects bringing environmental issues into the WTO. Peter Martin has a copy of

Thursday economics linkage

Keith Gessen has a fascinating piece in the LRB looking at the trail of Mikhail Khodorkovsky which, among other things, provides a nice insight into what happened to the Russian economy in the 1990s. The New Yorker has a long article on Paul Krugman (Ed. note: More Krugman love above.) An

Wednesday linkage

An excellent op-ed from last weekend's Fairfax press on the miniscule risk of terrorism. Via Air Power Australia, a US Defense Science Board report on 'capability surprises'. Some analysis of business management practices across various countries. Further to our thread on the

Tuesday linkage

The Government has released its counter-terrorism white paper. More on this soon. Why China probably won't revalue the Yuan soon. Judah at WPR is concerned about Hans Blix's reputation: 'Is there any antidote to a Matt Stone-Trey Parker joke? I can't remember the last time I didn't crack up at

Monday linkage

An inside look at China's biggest think tank, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. Did Dick Cheney want to take military action against Russia during the Georgia war? Brookings mounts a qualified defence of financial innovation. Hugh White has thoughts on Obama's visit to Australia, while

Friday linkage

The UK Ministry of Defence is inviting public comment on a series of key strategic questions as part of the development of its new Strategic Defence Review. Fistful of Euros has some trenchant commentary. Some good rules for undergraduates writing political science essays. (H/t Drezner.) The

Thursday linkage

I have become imprisoned, O beloved, by the mole on your lip!  That, if you can believe it, is the opening line of a poem by the Ayatollah Khomenei. Obama happy to appear on Jon Stewart's Daily Show, but won't do Colbert. Wimp. Yesterday's Newspoll included a question about who voters

Tuesday linkage

Remember the story we linked to early this month about the Pakistani diplomat who couldn't be posted to Saudi Arabia because his name had an unfortunate meaning when translated into Arabic? It aint true. Blake Hounshell from Foreign Policy objects to Walter Russell Mead's recent blogging on

Monday linkage

An analyst at China's Academy of Military Science assesses the Pentagon's latest Quadrennial Defense Review. Meanwhile, China hasn't reacted as negatively as you might expect to the US arms sales to Taiwan. Josh Kurlantzick of the Council on Foreign Relations asks, 'When has any potential

Friday funny: Fire safety

Last week a fire alarm went off at the Lowy Institute. The evacuation (for what turned out to be a false alarm) was fairly routine, but it could have been so much more entertaining (it's my favourite scene from the American version of The Office

Thursday linkage

Clive Crook at the FT and Paul Kelly at The Australian have similar themes: with the failure of Copenhagen and the IPCC badly damaged, the climate debate has changed irrevocably. Countering a few myths about China's aid to Africa. Very good short post on a recent statement by Pakistan's

Tuesday linkage

A big welcome to Business Spectator readers who have discovered us after reading Mark Thirlwell's piece on sovereign risk, which appeared earlier on The Interpreter. US carbon dependency projected to be only slightly lower in 2034 than it is today. Ten myths about Russia's demography. It's not

Monday linkage

Inside Indonesia looks at corruption in the country's richest district. The WSJ China blog points out that the bluster from China during last year's iron ore pricing negotiations is notably absent this year. A Canadian think tank says there's likely to be very little growth in global

Wednesday linkage

Walter Russell Mead says very kind things about the Lowy Institute in his reply to my post. High speed catamarans are a good news story for Australia's defence industry. The Council on Foreign Relations examines the China factor in what it calls a South East Asian 'arms spree'. An

Monday linkage

Startling allegation that in 2008, Russia tried to persuade China to conspire to create economic disruptions in the US. 3 Quarks Daily links to a rather savage takedown in the Pakistani newspaper Dawn of former cricketer and wannabe politician Imran Khan. Fascinating WSJ piece on the largest

Friday linkage

In Afghanistan, the Royal Air Force prefers 'shows of force' to actually dropping bombs: '...the show of force is...where a combat aircraft is used to surprise Taliban insurgents by flying very low and fast over their heads, normally in full afterburner.' This World Bank blog describes a

Thursday linkage

One of the non-government Thai participants in last December's Asia Pacific community conference in Sydney shares his views on regional architecture. It's largely in line with much thinking here in Australia, except perhaps for the point about strengthening the ASEAN-3 (minus Australia) process

A note on reader comments

New readers of this site are often surprised to find that, unlike the great majority of blogs, The Interpreter doesn't have open comment threads. Instead, we encourage reader feedback via email, and we regularly publish 'reader ripostes'. I still think the reasons for not allowing open comments

Friday linkage

First pictures from Masdar, the carbon-neutral city being constructed in Abu Dhabi. (h/t Infrastructurist.) How is Chinese web use different? Less typing, for one thing. Who says 'information wants to be free'? You might spend more on information than on food. Stock up on Hoegaarden: there's a

Thursday linkage

I've been waiting for an 'Obama's first year' retrospective that goes beyond a stale accounting of what he promised, what he achieved, and where he failed. George Packer's piece comes closest, though he says nothing about foreign policy. A new academic journal devoted to the study of North

Wednesday linkage

If you want to care more about Haiti, focus your mind on a single victim. If you want to care less, visualise thousands... Stephen Romei, editor of the Australian Literary Review, critiques Kevin Rudd's new children's book. The verdict?: '...the book has a more logical and lucid narrative than

Tuesday economics linkage

The Financial Times is running a series on the BRICs. Gillian Tett has an interesting piece looking at the origin of the acronym that's launched a hundred investment funds, and Martin Wolf makes a point that I made in The Interpreter last November: viz. that, so far, the BRIC story is really

Monday linkage

Metaphor alert: Japan recently ended its Afghanistan-related naval refueling mission in the Indian Ocean. Now China is considering taking over. Meanwhile, Japan and China are quarrelling again over exploitation of gas fields in the East China Sea. The US Navy foresees big budgetary problems 

Friday linkage

Walter Russell Mead's series on the ten trends that will shape the coming decade continues here, with the latest post on what he calls 'small "d" democratisation'. The Wall St Journal's editorial on Google is very sensible. Vietnam well on its way to achieving middle-income status. The

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