Wednesday 06 Oct 2021 | 20:15 | SYDNEY


Tuesday linkage

Russia has officially handed over a nuclear-powered submarine to India on a ten-year lease. A new Brookings paper throws light on the quality of Australian foreign aid. (Thanks Danielle.) Submarines and self-reliance: Ergas pushes back against Dibb and Brabin-Smith.* \'The one-child policy has

How severe are the limits to growth?

Recently, New Scientist magazine ran an article (subscription required) marking forty years since the publication of The Limits to Growth. The piece both echoes and cites earlier positive re-appraisals of Limits, including this one by the CSIRO\'s Graham Turner, and shares a

Filipino traffic cop does his best MJ

Great song, outstanding police-work. I feel almost guilty posting this, in spite of how good it is, because it seems like such a pathetic gesture towards the Philippines, a country about which The Interpreter has almost nothing to say. That\'s something I\'d like to fix, so if you happen to

Iran navy a thorny problem for US

New Year in the Persian Gulf has opened in the usual atmosphere of scurrility, mistrust and competition. The Iranian nuclear crisis — already animated by economic and cyber warfare, an unrelenting diplomatic offensive, and a systematic program of sabotage, espionage and assassination &

The IMF role in the euro crisis

The IMF is passing around the hat again, hoping to get an additional $500 billion in contributions, which would more than double its loanable resources. This request has not yet been formalised and it has certainly not been earmarked for the euro crisis, but the connection is clear: funds are

Friday funny: Every presentation ever

Yep, I\'ve witnessed a few of these, and delivered a couple too. (H/t Browser.) UPDATE (23/1): Looks like the owner has made this clip private, so you can no longer see it. Talk about a communications fail... UPDATE (24/1): An updated version is now embedded above. Thanks Jake

So long, and thanks for all the fish

Being a blogger often feels like going fishing. Every morning you cast your line out looking for something to catch and discuss. Some days there\'s lots of things about, sometimes nothing. Some days you try and catch a big fish to impress others (and usually miss), some days you put in a lot of

The Bush effect (part 2)

Part 1 of this post here. How did George W Bush, the president whose chief political strategist, Karl Rove, boasted about building a \'permanent Republican majority\', leave his party in such poor repair? The first reason relates to policy failures. In the international realm, the Bush

Friday linkage

Depressingly low levels of civic education in Australia. The gender gap in public support for military actions. An ambitious attempt to reform Pakistan\'s schools, central to the fate of the country. (H/t Browser.) A thorough satellite imagery analysis of the infrastructure supporting the

The Bush effect (part 1)

Few things reveal more about the shifting political geography of America over the past fifty years than the history of its most successful dynasty, the Bush family. Prescott Bush, its great patriarch, was a Wall Street banker turned Republican US Senator who won election in 1952 when it

Reader riposte: Piracy and fishing

Anna Madeleine Solar-Bassett responds to the Brown-Palombi piece on piracy in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean: A Kenyan friend was telling me how the failure of any international or concerted military efforts to police the Horn of Africa in the \'90s and early \'00s following it\'s collapse

Fukuyama and Burke on Europe

Regarding Europe\'s travails, this from Francis Fukuyama gets it just right, I think: A lot of this discussion is dominated by people in finance and by economists because that is the short-term problem that has faced us, a new recession and the collapse of the European banking systems as

Old people in big cities afraid of the sky

I\'ve mentioned before on The Interpreter that I find reading science-fiction an interesting and enjoyable way to get some ideas about future trends, and here is Bruce Sterling, one of the genre\'s leading futurists, in his annual state of the world discussion.  For a pithy view of

Thursday linkage

The Jericho Amendments: new Australian Public Service rules for the use of social media. (Thanks Jasmin.) Relevant to our recent discussion: how blog debate can stimulate academic research. It\'s an irrational preference, but voters are more likely to trust better looking political

The course of empire

While searching for an image to accompany Andrew Shearer\'s post on American decline, I was sent on a serendipitous detour into Robert Hughes\' American Visions: The Epic History of Art in America (1997; also a TV series). In the book, Hughes describes at length Thomas Cole\'s landscape

You're nicked: Arrest on the high seas

Co-authored by Simon Palombi, an intern in the International Security Program. The UK Parliament\'s Foreign Affairs Committee last week released a report discussing the UK response to increasing piracy in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean. Notably, it tracked a significant increase in the

Wednesday links

Rudd continues his Indonesia push: \'My generation has been lazy on Indonesia. Your generation has no alternative but to be energetic on Indonesia\'. US sending new helicopter drones to Afghanistan. Seven principles for arguing with an economist. (H/t Free Exchange.) A Washington

Nepal economy has big mountains to climb

Nepal\'s Ambassador to the US, Shankar Sharma, sits down with Pacific Forum CSIS fellow Eddie Walsh (@aseanreporting) to discuss rebuilding Nepal\'s economy and prospects for South Asian trade. Do you think that there remain lingering doubts in the international community that the Maoist conflict

The 2012 OOPS! Award

 With a raucous honk of horns and a skate across random banana peels, we slip on stage to make the annual OOPS! Award. The OOPS! is a minor award in every sense. It\'s a prize for misunderstanding, mistake, mishap, bungle, blue, blunder...well, you get the idea. The OOPS! is the preliminary

A 'memorialtorium' for Canberra

The Economist\'s \'Democracy in America\' blog calls for a moratorium on the building of memorials in Washington, DC: There are many culprits in the devolution of much of Washington into a cloddish, ugly, characterless city. And in some neighbourhoods the past 20 years have seen momentum in

Tuesday linkage

Syria is already in a state of civil war. Asian leaders worry about the security of oil supplies in the Middle East. The state of realism in US foreign policy and academic research. A question I\'ve been wondering lately: is Britain still a great power? Moves are afoot for ASEAN to become a

US housing market stays underwater

Traditionally, US housing drives both phases of the economic cycle: a sharp cut-back in construction weakens economic activity, but as soon as underlying demographic demand restores equilibrium, construction recovers quickly. This time is different. Four years after the current US recession began

Monday linkage

Luxury items are flowing into North Korea. (Thanks Malcolm.) One for your bookmarks — The New Atlantis: A Journal of Technology & Society. \'I was not aware that Australia was about to be invaded by Papua New Guinea, or by Indonesia\'. Lunch with Zbigniew Brzezinski. (Thanks

Reader riposte: Taiwan elections

Benjamin Moles writes: Yes, Kevin Rudd was correct to state what he did. As Foreign Minister, he is responsible for pursuing and furthering Australian national interests abroad. The election of a more traditionally independence minded DPP candidate in Taiwan would certainly ‘rock the boat&

Friday sublime: Cranes over Venice

The BBC, in its new nature series \'Earthflight\', gets close-ups of cranes flying over Venice. The Guardian has some photos showing how the Beeb got this glorious footage. Enjoy your weekend. (H/t TDW

A partial defence of econoblogging

I\'m in complete agreement with Steve Grenville\'s overall point — there is precious little evidence to suggest that the US blog debate has done much to \'winnow out dodgy arguments or produce a policy consensus.\' But while that\'s probably pretty depressing for those who would like to

The replicator: Life imitates Star Trek

Three-dimensional printers are now affordable enough for home use. No, they can\'t make food like Star Trek\'s replicators, but they can make relatively complex solid objects (though note that the makers of the device advertised above have appropriated the term \'replicator\'; it wouldn\'t

Friday linkage

A map of US drone strikes in Pakistan. Myanmar signs a ceasefire with Karen rebels and announced another prisoner amnesty. Julie Bishop speaks on the Australian Opposition\'s foreign policy. A return to Wukan, the Chinese village that rebelled. CFR\'s new preventative priorities survey, \'

Reader ripostes: Presidentialism and realism

Alex Burns and NAJ Taylor on realism below the fold, but first, Peter Layton on \'presidential\' foreign policy: Excellent summary by Michael of a chapter from his forthcoming book. I am concerned though of the seeming conflation towards the end of the blog piece of foreign policy with

Econoblogging and its discontents

Stephen Grenville\'s examination of the influence of blogging on economic debate is too pessimistic for my taste. Do economics blogs change minds? No, says Stephen, based on the argument that googling phrases like \'I was wrong\' yields few results. But that\'s not a terribly

Thursday linkage

\'We must clearly see that international hostile forces are intensifying the strategic plot of Westernizing and dividing China.\' Hu Jintao cranks out some old-school communist rhetoric, but who is the real audience? And what part of Western culture is the CCP worried about? A biography

Call for questions: Civil society in China

Using questions from you, Peter Martin and colleagues are conducting interviews for The Interpreter with Chinese academics and journalists. Previous installments in this series here and here. Next week, Nathan Beauchamp and I will conduct an interview for The Interpreter with Jia Xijin,

Wednesday linkage

North Korea from 30,000 feet: Satellite photos and analysis by two of the very few Westerners to have ever seen North Korea\'s nuclear facilities. (Thanks Janice.) What motivates someone to become a war photographer? (Warning, graphic images.) Nationalism and realism: kissing cousins? A 360&

China bashing: Not just for Republicans

Andrew Sullivan points to a Jacob Heilbrunn blog post at The National Interest arguing that the Republican presidential field is being dangerously bellicose toward China: No doubt China will often be a competitor of America; at other times, it may well have interests that are congruent

Whither realism?

In the links last week I highlighted a survey of US international relations (IR) scholars. One question particularly leapt out: \'Which of the following best describes your approach to the study of IR?\'. While a colleague has noted that you\'ll never hear the word \'constructivism\' inside the

Tuesday linkage

Japan hasn\'t declined as much as you might think, says Paul Krugman. Behind the scenes in the creation of the new US military strategic review. Meanwhile, Beijing\'s response to the document has been largely muted. Anwar Ibrahim has been freed to return to politics, but his time may have

Feasible cuts, but strategy still unclear

Major Gen (Retd) Jim Molan is author of Running the War in Iraq. There is no argument that a nation which can reduce its military spending in times of relative peace in order to make an economic gain should do so. It would then be nice if the economic gain was used for something more enduring than

Fiji: One step forward, two steps back

Fiji\'s Prime Minister last week took a step forward when he lifted the country\'s Public Emergency Regulations. As the only real progress towards democracy emerging from Suva in recent years, it had to be welcomed.  But Commodore Bainimarama allowed himself only a few days to bask in the

Blogs and the US economic debate

Economists have certainly taken to blogging with alacrity. But this vigorous debate has done little to winnow out dodgy arguments or produce a policy consensus. Economists have a reputation for hedging their bets (\'on the one hand...on the other hand...\'). But in the current US macro debate,

Monday linkage

American blogger Milpundit responds to my post on the Pentagon\'s new strategy. An intrepid Russian breaks into an abandoned Soviet-era rocket motor factory and takes some glorious pictures. Africa: the violent repercussions of random border design. Monocle editor Tyler Brûlé

Reader ripostes: Centralisation of security policy

Two responses to Andrew\'s post on PMs and the national security apparatus. First Alex Burns and then Peter Layton below the fold: The Rudd Government\'s related foreign policy achievement was its 2008 National Security Statement which promised a regular NSS and budget. The Gillard Government

Early entry for the OOPS! award

As Graeme Dobell defines it, the OOPS! is our annual award for a diplomatic snafu, stuff-up or cross-border misunderstanding. Here\'s the first entry, in which Obama gets his car stuck during an official visit to Ireland in May 2011, giving sub-editors around the world a chance to dust off puns

The third annual Madeleine Award

The American grand strategist George Kennan observed that much diplomacy is actually a form of theatre. On the international stage, nations strut, signal and stumble, seeking to win through bluster and brio rather than bribe and bash. And stepping again into that that world of diplomatic signs and

Thoughts on the new Pentagon strategy

When US political writer Peter Beinart spoke at the Lowy Institute last year, he argued that Obama\'s presidency is all about restoring American solvency. It\'s hard to resist that framework when assessing the new Pentagon strategy paper, which Obama himself launched yesterday. But we\'ll have to

Friday linkage

The Pentagon\'s new strategic roadmap for the 21st century. Graeme Dobell reckons Jack Shafer is one of the best in the business when it comes to hacks writing about hackdom. For a taste, here is Shafer on one of the perennials: the commonalities between reporting on sport and the race to become

Fiji: Youth and democracy

Sue Hackney completed a qualitative research project in Fiji for Oxfam as part of her Masters of Public Health in 2011, though the views discussed below do not necessarily reflect those of Oxfam. The research is as yet unpublished but copies can be requested from the author. Fiji is at a critical

Movie trailer: Return

Synopsis: When Kelli (Linda Cardellini) returns home from war, she expected to slowly but surely settle back into her life with her husband (Michael Shannon) and kids in the small town she grew up in. But she gradually realizes that the life she left behind is no longer there waiting for her

Thursday linkage

Our thanks to environmental researcher and blogger Roger Pielke for including The Interpreter in his 2011 awards. Two think tanks look at what\'s ahead for Southeast Asia in 2012: CFR and CSCAP. Following Sam\'s post yesterday, China may struggle to boost its global cultural status.

Fiji ends public emergency regulations

Fiji\'s Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama offered his country an interesting gift for the new year — a promise to lift the Public Emergency Regulations (PER) on 7 January. The PER has been in place since April 2009, when Bainimarama abrogated Fiji\'s constitution. Although some