Wednesday 01 Apr 2020 | 13:52 | SYDNEY

Blogs and blogging

Thursday linkage

Shadow Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop argues for an increased focus on Pacific aid by Australia. (See also: The latest Lowy report on China's aid spending in the Pacific). The PM has backed calls for fast-tracking combat roles for women in the Australian Defence Force. It's

Reader riposte: What should Julia Read

After Grame Dobell's discussion of reading material for the Prime Minister before she travels to China, we recieved many reader suggestions: Ned Watt offers: Hey guys, love the blog. Julia (and anyone interested in China) should definitely read Susan Shirk's China: Fragile

Friday Funny

We've seen uprisings in the Middle East, but could they spread to the Mid-West' (h/t Danielle): Have a great weekend

Thursday Linkage

Why did China acquiesce to UN resolution 1973' The CSIS and The Diplomat try to answer. The Atlantic:'China's growing green sector will dominate this century's trajectory, in commerce, industry, climate, energy and even issues like human rights and currency policy'. Gideon Rachman argues

The new public diplomacy

Earlier this week, my colleague Fergus Hanson released a new paper 'The new public diplomacy', making three arguments about the social media sphere: New communications platforms are different: While old forms of communication (TV, radio and print) involved one speaker

Aid and development linkage

Cross-posted from our sister site, Interpreting the aid review. Interpreting the aid review will come to an end on Friday 15 April. We are always happy to accept last-minute pieces so get blogging before this unique and open avenue for discussion and debate on Australia's aid program

Reader riposte: The US and Mubarak

A. Jay Adler writes: Not that it isn't always so, but perceptions of the Arab upheaval and US reaction to it are especially skewed by vantage point, no doubt because of the extraordinariness of the phenomenon: Anne-Marie Slaughter challenged the terms of what is always an intense debate about

Monday linkage

Breaking some myths about Afghanistan and the US drug trade. It's just not that crucial. NATO is now in charge of the Libya mission, as the US steps back. Promising news of Malaysia's renewed focus on human trafficking and people smuggling. The population of India is

The Tea Party examined

Last Friday I met three St Louis bloggers who have each played a big part in making the Tea Party such an influential political movement in the US. Jim Hoft writes Gateway Pundit, a nationally prominent right-of-centre blog; Darin Morley is the creator of Reboot Congress; and Ben Evans

Friday linkage

Allegations the PM & cabinet's emails were hacked from China. Canada has likewise suffered. Many saw Obama's Libya speech as beginning to outline the 'Obama doctrine', but his '09 Nobel Peace Prize speech said much the same thing. Andrew Sullivan on the perplexing idea of

Interview: Matthew Yglesias

The New York Times last week named Matt Yglesias as part of a blogging 'brat pack', a small group of Washington bloggers who have become part of the city's political-media establishment. Their blogs 'have become destination reading for — and respected by — the city’s power

Politics and social media in America

Over the last four years, the number of Americans who say they use online social networking sites has grown from 15% to 65%. That was just one of the nuggets I got from a wonderful chat with Aaron Smith, a researcher at the Pew Center's Internet and American Life Project. Aaron also took

Tuesday linkage

The Australian Army keeps losing weapons. But defence isn't concerned.  The Pentagon has spent US$21 billion fighting IEDs, yet it seems no closer to solving the problem (Thanks James). Five years on, Stephen Walt reflects on his controversial book 'The Israel Lobby

America or bust

Starting next week, I hope to bring you some posts from Washington and thereafter St Louis, Phoenix and San Francisco. I'm on a two-week visit to the US as part the State Department's Special Visitor Leadership Program. The aim is not only to pursue my professional interests in international

Friday linkage

Juan Cole lists ten humanitarian accomplishments of the Libya intervention. FP magazine explainer: can any country go and bomb Libya' George Monbiot: why Fukushima made me a believer in nuclear power. (Thanks Rory.) North Korea is drawing a lesson from Libya: keep your WMD. Will

Thursday linkage

Hans Blix reviews the memoirs of George Bush, Tony Blair and John Howard. (Thanks Peter.) The Interpreter is experiencing a rather dramatic traffic spike thanks to a link embedded in this piece from the satirical website Cracked, about the world's top 5 insane dictators. DPRK to

Reader riposte: To stay or go in Afghanistan

Anton Kuruc writes: Raoul Heinrichs seriously misrepresents my argument. His rebuttal rests on the spurious assertion that there haven't been enough insurgencies resolved in the last thirty years to create a statistically significant data set that enables cautious academics to confidently

The Interpreter: A blog\ progress

Technorati is one of the most widely cited blog ranking services around, and although the site has its critics, it's a useful way to measure the progress of a blog over time*. In November 2008, for example, The Interpreter was ranked 93,223rd out of all the tens of millions of blogs

Wednesday linkage

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhono has seemingly backed East Timor's entry into ASEAN. Mark Lynch on why Libya matters for the future of the Arab Spring. Allegations China is supporting Indian insurgents. Michael Walzer, author of Just and Unjust Wars, on the Libya intervention. The

Friday linkage

The UN Security Council has authorised a No-Fly Zone for Libya, 10 votes to 0. Russia, China and Germany were among the abstentions. Responding to The Interpreter's debate, Harry White discusses the limits of friendship between the US and Australia. Neoconservatism, 'the most

Thursday linkage

Gareth Evans on straiteners, enlargers and the making of Australian foreign policy. Hillary Clinton confirms she will not serve a second term as US Secretary of State. A shame. Silvio Berlusconi deserves a nomination to Graeme Dobell's Madeleine Awards for his conspicuous use of a

Fateful choices, then and now

I've just finished reading Ian Kershaw's Fateful Choices. It's a compelling analysis of ten decisions by war leaders in Britain, the US, the Soviet Union, Germany, Italy and Japan during 1940 and 1941 (a comprehensive review here). It should be compulsory reading for statesmen, diplomats

The art of asking questions

Many people have bemoaned the lack of answers on the ABC's Q&A program, but I think the questions are the bigger problem. Take these two audience questions, from Monday night's show, both on Australian foreign policy: JOANNA KING: Hi, Julia. Since becoming Foreign Affairs Minister,

E-diplomacy linkage

Jonas Rey is completing a Masters in Global Governance at the University of Lucerne, Switzerland. He is writing his thesis on internet governance, and is a part-time intern at the Lowy Institute. Measuring the Information Society 2010: a report by the International Telecommunication

Tuesday linkage

Debate over Libya: Niall Ferguson seeks a diplomatic response while Anne-Marie Slaughter advocates a no-fly zone. Meanwhile, this report alleges US special forces are already in Libya and that F-22 fighters are being made ready, just in case. Does the earthquake in Japan

Person Finder beats DFAT and news

We've looked at Google's Person Finder before, but its utility has again been demonstrated in the horrendous Japan earthquake. At the time of writing, it had over 127,000 records entered for Japan, including one for Australian Jason Briffa, who was profiled in some of today's newspapers as missing

Thursday linkage

Prime Minister Gillard's speech to Congress: transcript here, video here. Libyan air defences would be a push-over, say retired US Air Force Generals. The information revolution has not appreciably lifted economic growth or productivity, but that just means our economic measures need adjusting

Reader ripostes

Several readers suggested answers to Malcom Cook's Gillard question (what is the Gillard Government's approach to foreign policy'). Charles writes: How can Julia know what her foreign policy is, when she doesn't know what her domestic policies are' I hope this helps.

Wednesday linkage

Last night's TV news coverage of Gillard's meeting with Obama was reminiscent of the whispers exchanged by teenage girls: 'He likes us! He really likes us!' Tom Switzer administers a dose of realism. Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara calls for the development of a Japanese nuclear arsenal. A list

Monday linkage

This Thomas Friedman parody is getting lots of plaudits. But as mockable as Friedman is, this attempt strikes me as witless and heavy-handed. 'We may have stanched the bleeding, but the underlying disease—a culture, ideology, and political economy of uninhibited finance—remains

Friday linkage

Two Center for a New American Security scholars examine the future of US alliances in Asia. (Australia is barely mentioned.) 'I know I said don’t expect what happened in Tunisia and Egypt to happen in Saudi Arabia anytime soon. But I also added that things are happening'. More here at

Thursday linkage

Rudd being left in the lurch as David Cameron backtracks on Libya no-fly zone proposal. US Defense Secretary Gates is unimpressed with the idea too. 'The leader of the Pentagon’s $19 billion bomb squad has many ways to measure how the war in Afghanistan is going. One is to

Wednesday linkage

The London School of Economics is rapidly divorcing itself from its links with Qadhafi. The US State Department suggests there is a 'realistic' chance the US will ratify the CTBT. A painting & photo essay of revolutions from 1688 till today. A new book is out 

Facebook and e-diplomacy, US style

There is a fascinating cable out from the US Embassy in Jakarta detailing its Facebook strategy in Indonesia. We've featured their Facebook page several times on this blog, and it's certainly one of the leading examples of a government successfully engaging foreign populations through social media

Monday linkage

South Korean agents try to spy on a visiting Indonesian delegation, and get it horribly wrong. The myth of Japan's lost decades: 'All talk about "stagnation" and "malaise" to the contrary, Japan's surplus is up more than five-fold since 1990'. The list of US Republican Party grandees opposed to

Aid & development linkage

Cross-posted from our companion blog, Interpreting the Aid Review. This week, the Guardian's Global Development section covers UK aid to India, uprisings in the Middle East, unemployment in South Africa and the World Social Forum. What will Millennium Development Goals 2.0 look like

Thursday linkage

Many commentators thought China over-asserted itself in 2010; is it returning to 'smile diplomacy' in 2011' Prime Minister Gillard will address a joint session of the US Congress on 9 March. Both chambers will be in session, but she may still end up speaking to an intern-filled hall.

Wednesday linkage

Is Aung San Suu Kyi going back to jail' A two-part academic paper on 'Providing all global energy with wind, water, and solar power'. Part one; part two. A lovely Korea photo blog. 'We also need to solve the Pakistan problem. And Korea doesn't seem to be going well'. That's actual text 

A look at the networked Middle East

With the Middle East continuing to reshape itself and so much focus on youth-led uprisings and their use of social media as an organising tool, I was curious to see what the networked Middle East looks like. The chart below uses US Census Bureau stats from 2010, mobile stats

Eyeless in Tripoli

Events in Libya are changing rapidly and in an often bloody fashion. While I'm sure readers can find their way to major news sites (NYT, BBC etc) here are some of the best blogs and Twitter accounts to follow to keep an eye on the situation in Tripoli. Please send us

Monday linkage

A wrap-up of Kim Jong Il's birthday celebrations, which included a synchronised swimming routine 'choreographed to the tune of “Footsteps,” a song about hereditary succession'. Meanwhile, The Onion lands an exclusive interview with Kim Jong Il's presumptive heir. Crime&

E-diplomacy linkage

For fans of digital diplomacy, it's been a great few weeks. For those like Malcolm Gladwell that rubbished the power of social media as recently as October, it must have been a little frustrating to watch protests erupt in Tunisia, Egypt, Sudan, Bahrain, Yemen, Algeria, Iran and elsewhere. As the

Thursday linkage

A couple of weeks old now, but this Dan Drezner post about the nature of power in international affairs is well worth your time. What the Yeongpyeong attack did to North Korea's economy. Visiting Fellow Malcolm Cook says this article by the head of a PLA think tank reflects China's

Wednesday linkage

Identifying the weak point: what hackers and social scientists have in common. (Thanks Fergus.) The vulnerability of peripheries: reader Julian recommends this American Interest essay about how US adversaries are probing American power on three Eurasian peripheries — the Persian Gulf, the

Monday linkage

I strongly encourage you to listen to the podcast from last week's Wednesday Lowy Lunch by economist Richard Koo. A brilliant presentation on the lessons Japan can teach the world about economic recovery. The US State Department is opening a Twitter account in Farsi, aimed at an Iranian

The Interpreter is open for debate

Richard Green appeals to my better nature, damn him. He has half a point, in that my reply to Robert Merkel was written out of frustration with Robert's false claim of consensus. Maybe I should have tried harder to put out my hand to Robert rather than raising a finger. But

Thursday linkage

After the shelling of Yeonpyeong, South Korea does not want to be caught napping again. (Thanks Malcolm.) Meanwhile, North Korea has cut off a new round of military talks with the south after just one day. (Thanks again, Malcolm.) Why economists remain fairly relaxed about

Wednesday linkage

Fred Kaplan tears strips off Donald Rumsfeld new memoir. My colleague Michael Fullilove recommends this Fareed Zakaria column on comparisons between Iran and Egypt. Here's Michael Twitter feed, for lots more good linkage. The Economist has launched a new defence and security

Tuesday linkage

Were economists 'bribed' to not notice the oncoming financial crisis' No. Maybe. Irresistible force meets immovable object: or, Bill O'Reilly interviews Barack Obama. (Thanks Michael.) Burmese space shuttle. (Not really, but it's an interesting read about rumour and fact in relation to Burma's

Friday funny: How far we\'ve come

With 140-character messages rocking dictators across the Middle East, this seemed appropriate: I wonder if Muammar al-Gaddafi is having the same conversation with his aides' Follow Fergus on Twitter @FergusHanson

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