Wednesday 06 Oct 2021 | 20:15 | SYDNEY


Think-20, the thinking person G20

As I\'ve argued before here on The Interpreter, getting global economic governance to work in the G20 era is no easy task. So, could think tanks make a contribution? Well, the Mexican Government believes they can. Think-20 is an initiative of the Mexican G-20 presidency, organised in

The Gore-ness of Mitt Romney

To the long list of M-words that have already weighed down his troubled candidacy – Mormonism, moderate, Massachusetts and money – Mitt Romney is today facing another: the Mason-Dixon line. With primaries in Alabama and Mississippi, the road to the White House passes through the Deep

Monday linkage

The US \'pivot\' to Asia won\'t amount to much because there is no domestic constituency for such a move. Summary of a new Brookings report about cybersecurity and China-US relations. Putin\'s webcams: why actions seemingly designed to reduce election fraud may actually leave a

For Greece, the pain is just beginning

With almost all private-sector bond-holders agreeing to a restructuring deal and the hold-outs gathered in compulsorily, another stage in the Greek saga has passed. But this is just a momentary pause in an unfinished journey to an uncertain destination, with a lot more pain for the Greeks and their

Online people power, with Mishal Husain

BBC World News Correspondent Mishal Husain traveled to Tunisia, Libya, Syria, Bahrain, Egypt documenting how young political activists were using social media for her series, How Facebook Changed the World: The Arab Spring. Here\'s part 1 of the program (all four parts available on YouTube

Putin: For Russians, the thrill is gone

John Besemeres is a Visiting Fellow in the Centre for European Studies, ANU. This is part 3 of a three-part series. Part 1 here and part 2 here. For all Putin\'s fears of a colour revolution, Russia\'s oppositionists are basically pretty civilised people and not too formidable. Though

Re-enter Putin, weakened and resentful

John Besemeres is a Visiting Fellow in the Centre for European Studies, ANU. This is part 2 of a three-part series. Part 1 here. Vladimir Putin has run into a dilemma familiar in more genuine democracies: that of the politician people have become sick of, and have largely stopped listening to.&

Australia Indonesia literacy in decline

Arjuna Dibley and Rachelle Cole are from the Australia-Indonesia Youth Association. Both have lived and worked in Jakarta. Last week, just hours after the remarkable Rudd-Gillard face-off in the Labor Party caucus room, another event at Parliament House went largely unnoticed. A

Thursday linkage

Today is International Women\'s Day; the Asia Foundation surveys the regional picture, and the World Bank blog looks at Vietnam. China doesn\'t have a string of overseas military bases, so instead the PLA Navy builds cruise ships to give crews some R&R. Between modernity and tradition, India

Mitt Romney not-so-Super Tuesday

For Mitt Romney and the Republican Party, it was a Not-So-Super Tuesday. Romney is still likely to win the GOP nomination for president. He has more money and staff than his opponents. The Republican Party has a long history of nominating the guy who was the runner-up last time, as Romney was.

Putin Pyrrhic victory

John Besemeres is a Visiting Fellow in the Centre for European Studies, ANU. This is the first of a three-part series. While he presented himself throughout his campaign as the \'stability\' candidate who could not only snorkel down to priceless ancient artefacts but also save the country

Roger Pielke Jr on science and policy

For various reasons we\'re very late posting this interview with University of Colorado Professor Roger Pielke Jr, who\'s specialty is the intersection between policy and science. Regular readers will know that Pielke\'s blog is a regular stop for me (in fact, it ought to inspire

Pyongyang latest nuclear gesture

Associate Professor Jingdong Yuan is Acting Director of the Centre for International Security Studies at the University of Sydney. Last Wednesday, Pyongyang announced it would halt its uranium enrichment program and suspend nuclear and long-range missile tests. It has also agreed to

The gender agenda in world politics

Grace Williams, Danielle Rajendram and Stephanie Erian are Lowy Institute interns. Tomorrow, on International Women\'s Day, Australia will release its first National Action Plan (NAP) on women, peace and security. Australia follows the US and UK late last year in releasing such a plan in

Wednesday linkage

Seven reasons oil prices might fall.  The seemingly unique status of Israel among US allies. Korea: the growth of North-South diplomatic relations in graph form. China\'s stake in the eurocrisis: China\'s \'rapid move into European acquisitions could well be the most startling change

The woes of the Defence Minister

Two high-profile Labor men reached for the Foreign Ministry last week – Bob Carr and Stephen Smith. Carr won because the Prime Minister asserted herself. On this reading, Smith got second prize – he gets to stay as Defence Minister. The line coming out of the Labor Party is that

Stephen Smith has the key job, not Bob Carr

Rawdon Dalrymple is a former Australian ambassador to Israel, Indonesia, the US and Japan. There seems to be a general media agreement that Stephen Smith must be deeply disappointed he was not moved to Foreign Affairs after Rudd\'s exit. I hope this is not so. I worked for Australian

Keep calm and carry on

A lovely short video here about the origins of this now ubiquitous poster, intended as British propaganda during World War II. I\'ve always liked the sense of resilience embedded in the slogan \'Keep calm and carry on\', and the implied rebuke to the way the West (Britain included) panicked about

Monday linkage

Widely-cited interview with President Obama on Iran. \'I don\'t bluff\' is the most quotable line, though of course, that\'s exactly what a bluffer would say. Scientists declare that people are not smart enough for democracy to work properly. (H/t 3QD.) OECD Insights looks like a

Russia iron web (part 2)

Prof Howard Schweber is a Fulbright scholar at Flinders University. In 2011, he spent six months as a Visiting Professor of Political Science at Nazarbayev University in Astana, Kazakhstan. My earlier post described the Russian strategy of bringing states in its \'near abroad\' into a

Russia iron web

Prof Howard Schweber is a Fulbright scholar at Flinders University. In 2011, he spent six months as a Visiting Professor of Political Science at Nazarbayev University in Astana, Kazakhstan. It\'s not an iron curtain – more like an iron web. Russia sits squarely at its centre, and its

Friday linkage

The Indonesian Army is doing counter-insurgency training in India. India\'s growth rate slumped in the last quarter of 2011. (H/t MR.) New hints of Saudi involvement in 9/11 won\'t mean much for US Middle East policy. Defense Technology International is available free online. Latest

More than one kind of urbanisation?

The SMH reports today that construction has finished on Tokyo\'s 634m Sky Tree, a communications tower with an observation deck and restaurant. When you see it against Tokyo\'s skyline, what stands out is how little competition Sky Tree has from surrounding buildings, which

Thursday linkage

Come again? Earlier this month, the US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said \'in my personal military judgment, formed over thirty-eight years, we are living in the most dangerous time in my lifetime, right now.\' The \'de-materialisation of wealth\'; or, being rich means having less stuff

Wednesday linkage

Nixon\'s interpreter for the historic 1972 visit on China today. Canberra in the \'50s, international diplomacy, the red peril: yep, I should really read Frank Moorhouse\'s \'Cold Light\'. New research concludes that \'real per-capita GDP in China was 50% higher relative to the U.S. in 2005

How academics should blog

Further to our \'Why academics should blog\' discussion, here are some excellent tips from a couple of experienced and successful LSE bloggers about how its done (thanks to Roger for the link): Make sure your titles tell a story, and your findings are communicated early on. Academics

Top 10 emerging technologies for 2012

The World Economic Forum asked some of the leading minds in its Council on Emerging Technologies Network to come up with a top-ten list of emerging technologies \'expected to have major social, economic and environmental impacts worldwide in 2012\'. A full explanation of the list is here, but

Tuesday linkage

The Google-World Bank deal to create crowd-sourced maps looks good on the surface, but guess who will own all that data... (Thanks Danielle.) \'Stratfor is a joke and so is WikiLeaks for taking it seriously\'. (Thanks Alex.) Senior IAEA official Pierre Goldschmidt\'s hypothetical dialogue 

Murphy Law and China growth

I\'ve noted before on The Interpreter the dramatic shift in the nature of the world economy from the 2003-2007 mini-golden age to something that is currently much less congenial. In a new paper, I suggest that one way to think about the post-crisis world economy is to see it as at times

Monday linkage

The Institute of Southeast Asian Studies issues its latest quarterly survey of the region. China since 1978: the largest internal migration in history. Tyler Cowen recommends a book which intrigues me with its title, \'Fairness and Freedom: A History of Two Open Societies: New Zealand

Zoellick unimpressive legacy

Robert Zoellick has announced that he will move on from his position as World Bank President at the end of his five-year term. Sebastian Mallaby has taken the opportunity to write a hagiography eulogising the brilliance of Zoellick\'s transformation of the previously directionless and

Apple fans, read this now

A truly monumental essay here from Evgeny Morozov; this is an absolute must-read for anyone interested in Apple and what the company stands for. Ostensibly, Morozov\'s essay is a review of Walter Isaacson\'s biography of Steve Jobs, but although I haven\'t read that particular

Friday linkage

The EU has released growth forecasts for the year ahead. Here\'s an analysis. The Pryer: A newish UK blog devoted to coverage of defence, security and foreign policy. A cool photo gallery of twenty-first century Tokyo architecture. Six common hand gestures that can get you into trouble in

Thursday linkage

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott assesses Kevin Rudd\'s performance as Foreign Minister. Milton Osborne passes on the news that The Irrawaddy has ceased to publish in print form. The online version of the magazine is going stronger than ever. The biggest cuts to the US nuclear arsenal have

Reader riposte: Do our spies understand Asia?

Scott Lowe writes: I just wanted to make a comment on Hugh White\'s column and the subsequent discussion. The review does mention that we need to \'significantly increase our focus on our region and cyber space\'. I think this line might indicate they did consider a broader

Wednesday linkage

The ABC\'s Mark Corcoran looks at drone journalism: \'The media is beginning to go micro, exploiting rapid advances in technology by deploying small toy-like UAVs to get the story.\' Data on worldwide obesity. That Sydney University blog-reader survey I flagged some weeks ago has produced

Reader ripostes: Do our spies understand Asia?

Below, thoughts from Kate Grayson, but first, Alex Burns: Hugh White contends that Cornall-Black\'s public overview \'mostly reads like a government PR brochure\'. If so, it continues a trend I saw in 2003 when examining a decade of ASIO annual reports, in which the later reports had a

Resisting financial reform

Ever since the 2008 global financial crisis, the need for radical reform to financial regulation has been obvious. But the finance industry wants to minimise its regulatory constraints. The response to the proposed Volcker Rule, which would ban banks from proprietary trading, shows how hard the path

Tuesday linkage

Women are more risk-averse than men, right? New research suggests this might not be true. Major investigative piece by Bloomberg on Indonesian fishermen being used as slave labour in New Zealand waters. (H/t WRM.) Must-read post from Nicholas Gruen on what makes a great speech. Peter

Common values: Beyond the beer with Kevin

Robert Ayson is Director of Centre for Strategic Studies at Victoria University, Wellington. I\'m not sure if the punchline of the Guardian column highlighted by Sam is that Kevin Rudd should host the leaders of China and the US for a beer. The real point is the discussion on common


Having used so many TED clips on The Interpreter, I feel obliged to offer some criticism of this conference series: What began as something spontaneous and unique has today become a parody of itself. What was exceptional and emergent in the realm of ideas has been bottled, packaged, and

Be wary of Syria media coverage

Vanessa Newby is a PhD candidate at the University of Queensland. Her earlier posts here and here. I was privileged very recently to meet and discuss Middle Eastern affairs with Anthony Shadid, Middle East correspondent for the New York Times. He was possibly one of the friendliest, most

Further notes on academic blogging

I\'ve already posted one Reader Riposte to my post from yesterday on why academics should blog, but I also want to alert readers to this response from Victoria University\'s Alex Burns. And Nicholas Farrelly, who\'s behind the outstanding New Mandala, got in touch to alert me to an

Friday linkage

A new Indonesian soapie is about to air, partly funded by AusAID. A trailer. (Thanks Simon.) A Peking University academic assesses China\'s online year in 2011. One notable trend: less nationalism. Zakaria on rumours of Israeli or US military action against Iran: \'Nations have often

Technocrats' rise a sign of the times

According to the FT, Germany\'s Finance Minister has suggested that Greece might want to postpone April\'s elections and instead install a technocratic government which would not have room for any of the pesky politicians who have so far failed to deliver enough austerity. This is, of

Xi Jinping, the Muscatine Candidate

Hollywood has made a lot of money over the years from the fear, bordering on paranoia in the fifties and sixties, that a \'Manchurian Candidate\' was lurking in its midst, slowly accumulating power in a plot to decapitate the great American eagle. Following Xi Jinping\'s visit to America last

Reader riposte: Academic blogging

Nick Bisley, a Professor of International Relations at La Trobe University, writes: Here are a few reasons as to why you don\'t see too many Australian academics in the IR/international policy universe blog. First is demographics. The Australian ran figures showing that Australian academics

Why academics should blog

The blogosphere is the gift that keeps on giving. Just this morning, I discovered Stephen Matchett\'s The Common Room, a higher education blog run by The Australian which looks to be well worth bookmarking. I was particularly interested in Matchett\'s lament from Tuesday that

Thursday linkage

India is stepping up its domestic search for uranium. Christopher Joye notes some good economic data from Europe and the US. Walter Russell Mead says the US could yet fall back into recession. The Japanese love affair with Steve Jobs (his 2005 Stanford commencement address made it into

Great moments in US political debates

Yesterday Nick Bryant argued that debating has resumed its important place in the selection of US presidential candidates. As examples of where debates had been decisive, Nick referred to Nixon\'s famous flop-sweat and Gerald Ford\'s odd claim that the Soviet Union did not dominate eastern