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Tuesday linkage: Holden, China cities, copyright, Asian Century and more

Asia\'s emerging economies are among the most exposed to financial risks from natural disasters, says a new study. (Thanks Malcolm.) China\'s cities may be unlivable, but some people are getting around the crush (if not the smog) by building their McMansions on top of a shopping mall. The

Monday linkage: Indonesia, Niebuhr, Vietnam, Pacific Islands and more

\'Beyond the boom\': A new study of the Australian economy from McKinsey\'s inhouse think tank, the McKinsey Global Institute. Melbourne the world\'s most liveable city? The appellation is pretty meaningless. Indonesia\'s democracy is less consolidated than many think, and the quality of

Paul Ryan economic plan

With attention on Europe\'s economic mess, it would be easy to forget that America\'s intractable fiscal problem is coming to a head. The choice of Paul Ryan as Mitt Romney\'s running mate should bring this back into focus. The US budget challenge plays out over two different time horizons. First

India linkage

Danielle Rajendram is a Research Associate in the Lowy Institute\'s International Security Program whose work focuses on India and China-India relations. At a time when India is in desperate need of effective leadership, PM Manmohan Singh\'s Independence Day address earlier this week has

Thursday linkage: Banks, Solomons, Japan, multilingualism and more

Australian troops are set to come home from the Solomon Islands next year. Is the mission accomplished? (Thanks Danielle.) The era of growth miracles is over, says Dani Rodrik, because manufacturing is changing. The Economist collects opinion on this controversial op-ed. Why China\'s

'Sushi: The Global Catch' trailer

Not so many years ago, sushi was a niche taste (update: outside Japan, that is). The growth of cheap sushi outlets in Australia alone has been pretty phenomenal, and it seems China, the Americas and Europe are developing a taste for it too. Judging by the trailer, the story of sushi looks

Yes, America has regional primacy

Ian Hall has raised some excellent points in his latest post in our debate about whether the US exercises primacy in Asia, and what that means for how it should respond to China\'s rise. Five quick points in response... First, Ian doubts that America has had the power to impose

Wednesday linkage: Mars, Indian energy, Afghanistan, solar and more

A 360° panorama of Mars from NASA\'s Curiosity rover. Definitely put this one of full screen. (H/t TDW.) Posted during India\'s now-resolved black-out, but still useful: 10 interesting facts about India\'s energy sector. Speaking of energy, this is a rather naive bit of solar boosterism from

Houston Report succeeds, politicians fail

Dr Khalid Koser is Head of the New Issues in Security Program at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy, and a non-resident Fellow at the Lowy Institute. Angus Houston, Paris Aristotle and Michael L\'Estrange deserve great credit for their expert panel report on asylum seekers, published

Movie trailer: Red Dawn

Red Dawn is about a bunch of American teenagers who form a guerrilla army to fight back against a foreign invasion of the US. But forget about the text of this remake of the 1980s neofascist action flick, because it looks set to be the dumbest movie ever. Focus instead on the subtext, which

Monday linkage: Paul Ryan, Zakaria, China-US war, Olympics and more

A global study of education systems finds three critical factors for success: exit exams, private school competition, and good teachers. Republican VP nominee Paul Ryan had an early affection for the work of Ayn Rand. James Fallows and The Economist each argue that the Ryan pick is

Deficit & surplus: IMF stern warning

In the years leading up to the 2008 global financial crisis, many commentators identified substantial current account deficits and surpluses as the main danger to the world economy. In particular, they worried about the US deficit and the Chinese surplus. As things turned out, neither of these

Robert Hughes' Shock of the New

I\'ve always wanted The Interpreter to take a broad view of international political life, going deep into the policy world, certainly, but also beyond it occasionally into the realms of culture (granted, mostly pop culture) and the ideas which shape global civilisation. I feel the need to mention

In praise of Sam Linkages

Dr Daniel Woker is the former Swiss Ambassador to Australia, Singapore and Kuwait and now a Senior Lecturer at the University of St Gallen. We like The Interpreter, right? That\'s why we keep reading it, and sometimes feel compelled to contribute our two bits. In my case it\'s

Thursday linkage: Eurozone, Olympics, Singapore, think tanks and more

the European Central Bank is pumping money into Greece so that Greece can repay...well, guess who? New Zealand\'s ambassador to Indonesia explains his embassy\'s Facebook strategy. (Thanks Danielle.) China is winning the Olympic medal tally, you say? Maybe, but if you count the EU as a single

How the RBA should manage a high $A

In an opinion piece in The Australian Financial Review, Lowy Institute Professorial Fellow Warwick McKibbin argues that when markets are distorted by foreign central banks, it might be better to deal directly with the distortion

Singapore population spurt

Former Treasurer Peter Costello\'s memorable appeal to Australians to have more kids (\'one for mum, one for dad and one for the country\') has got nothing on the Singapore Government\'s latest fertility campaign. The corporate sponsorship is a very Singapore touch, though the tone is more risqu&

One cheer for the Arms Trade Treaty

Stephanie Koorey is a Canberra-based academic consultant. Earlier this year I noted there were moves afoot on conventional arms control. However, in New York the UN Conference on the proposed Arms Trade Treaty concluded on 27 July without the proposed treaty being adopted. Non-

The unnecessary climate fight

A quick note on Roger Pielke\'s piece in Foreign Policy about the future of climate change policy, and specifically his suggestion that we break the problem down into smaller chunks so that we avoid the pitched battle between \'warmists\' and \'deniers\'. There\'s no hope for progress on that

Wednesday linkage: Copyright, nuclear tests, drones, the pivot and more

What on earth is our trade minister doing? Peter Martin looks at copyright in Australia\'s trade agreements. (Thanks Stephen.) The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists on the possibility of another North Korean nuclear test. The Guardian recently profiled a US academic making the moral case for drone

Foreign policy: The moral dimension

Rodger Shanahan\'s piece on Australian uranium sales to the UAE makes a familiar argument about the moral price we must pay in order to sell our goods to odious regimes. But he assumes that the moral dimension falls completely on one side: you can either do the right thing morally

Reader riposte: What now for PNG?

On our Facebook page, we asked: Peter O\'Neill is Papua New Guinea\'s new Prime Minister, putting an end to political uncertainty and instability that has strained the country since mid-2011. What now for the Australia-PNG relationship? Jarrod Booth replied: We need to acknowledge, and address,

Tuesday linkage: India blackout, Pyongyang, South China Sea and more

A new ranking of the world\'s most cultured cities. The \'second unbundling\' of international trade: The Economist goes where Steve Grenville went back in June. China \'strongly opposes\' US statement on South China Sea. An architectural and cultural guide to Pyongyang, translated from

Stakes in uncertainty: Australia future with China, India and the United States

Australia’s choices in the Indo-Pacific Asian century will not simply involve China and the United States. India, too, needs to be in the picture. In this lecture delivered at the Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi in mid-2012, the Lowy Institute’s Rory Medcalf outlines the impact of a

No offence, Mr Obama

Last Friday James Fallows blogged about a Republican Party ad that makes a refreshingly subtle case against President Obama. Most of the ads I\'ve seen so far have been tub-thumping affairs, designed seemingly to mobilise those who already support the candidate than convince the undecided.

The Melinda Taylor case: Implications

Almost exactly one month ago today, Melinda Taylor, a lawyer with the International Criminal Court, was released from custody by the Libyan authorities who had arrested and detained her in Zintan for 26 days in June and July. Ms Taylor was in Libya in the course of her official duties representing

An agenda for the 2014 G20 in Brisbane

Australia will host the 2014 G20 meeting at a time when the usefulness of the G20 will be in question. We don\'t want this meeting to be a damp squib. How can we give it meaning? G20 began as a meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors in the aftermath of the series of

Friday funny: Our cultural exports

Regular Interpreter contributor Nick Bryant recently penned an exhaustive study of Australia\'s impressive record of cultural exports for the Griffith Review. Australia is on the march, Nick concludes, and the world is taking notice. True, but not always for the good, something I was reminded

Friday linkage: White Papers, wealth, Jakarta, Air-Sea Battle and more

ASPI\'s Peter Jennings: \'Australia will have two white papers, released perhaps some six or nine months apart...they should agree on how to think about the region and Australia\'s place in it.\' Indonesia\'s human rights commission has released a groundbreaking study of the mid-1960s atrocities

Business-as-usual is failing America

Thanks to Cecelia O\'Brien for her response to my op-ed on foreign policy in the presidential election. I quite take her point that it is not usual for foreign policy to feature much in the campaign at this stage, or indeed at any stage. But I\'d just like to press a little on the

WR Mead on Australia Asian century

Below is the final part of my interview with renowned US foreign policy analyst Walter Russell Mead; part 1 here, part 2 here and part 3 here. Q. Walter, I’d like to end with a question specifically about Australia. It’s often said here at the Lowy Institute

Russia misunderstood? No, Senator Carr

Dr Daniel Woker is the former Swiss Ambassador to Australia, Singapore and Kuwait and now a Senior Lecturer at the University of St Gallen. In a recent post, Sam Roggeveen gave us a few highlights from a speech by Bob Carr at the Lowy Institute. As can be expected from the mercurial

Thursday linkage: Olympics, North Korea, Japan, Patrick Hitler and more

\'Very respectfully yours, Patrick Hitler\': An extraordinary letter from the Fuhrer\'s nephew to FDR, begging to be allowed to enlist in the US military. Near the bottom of this excellent post about the way China is viewing these Olympics, Evan Osnos describes the pressure Chinese

Wednesday linkage: China, Microsoft, Olympics, Iran, the pivot and more

The China Choice: an extract from Hugh White\'s new book, to be launched at the Lowy Institute next week. Some useful links on Syria\'s future. Tokyo says it\'s not quite sure who is in charge of China\'s military. (Thanks Malcolm.) Microsoft, \'a high-tech equivalent of a Detroit car-maker,

Burma and WMD: In the news again

Andrew Selth is a Research Fellow at the Griffith Asia Institute and author of Burma and Weapons of Mass Destruction: Not If, but How, Why and What. Despite Burma\'s promise last year to cut its defence ties with North Korea and not to pursue any weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs, these

Reader ripostes: Syria and America

Dayne Eckerman writes: I\'ve just read Rodger Shanahan\'s piece on the misinformation emanating from the Syrian crisis at the moment. The Aviationist blog posted an article on the weekend on the same subject with respect to a video apparently showing the FSA shooting down a Syrian Mi-8

Calling our young strategic minds

Applications are now open for the 2011-12 Michael and Deborah Thawley Scholarship in international security at the Lowy Institute. The closing date is 10 August. The Scholarship as an exceptional opportunity for any emerging Australian strategic thinker – such as a junior official or

Financial sector reform: Whale watching

Efforts to make financial institutions small enough to manage have found some surprising supporters. When Sandy Weill said recently that he was in favour of breaking up conglomerate financial giants such as Citigroup, it looked like a major \'mea culpa\'. After all, he engineered the

Monday linkage: Iran, Syria, Twitter, Olympics, Photoshop and more

Australia\'s top 100 journos and media people on Twitter. (Thanks Stephanie.) A new book by a senior Iranian insider about the diplomatic tug-of-war with the West over Iran\'s nuclear program. A short, well-sourced history of Syria\'s chemical weapons arsenal. Rory Medcalf in today\'s

Friday funny: Boris' welcome to London

Anything that deflates this absurd festival is just fine by me, and the above is funny and clever. I don\'t know what to like less about the Olympics. Is it the white-elephant facilities? The corporate welfare? The global aristocracy of Olympic officials whose every need is catered

Friday linkage: ASEAN, women in think tanks, Batman, climate and more

Ernie Bower from CSIS responds to Hugh White\'s piece on ASEAN. More on this next week. Female think tank leaders around the world. (Thanks Danielle.) HIV/AIDS: \'the turn to treatment over the past decade has been a tremendously amazing representation of global collective action and moral

The perils of the euro

I have vague recollections from my childhood of watching a cartoon series called The Perils of Penelope Pitstop. Each episode consisted of a plucky Penelope being placed in perpetual peril by the dastardly Hooded Claw and subjected to his elaborate plans for her destruction. Of course,

Thursday linkage: Japan cities, peak oil, China, India nukes and more

Land of a million scrapped TVs: an insight into China\'s recycling industry. Japan\'s cities tend to be low-rise, by Western standards. But low rise means lower density, and that has economic and aesthetic costs. George Monbiot made a painful admission earlier this month: \'We were wrong

How Australia can lead on climate change

Fergus Green is co-author of Laggard to Leader: How Australia can Lead the World to Zero Carbon Prosperity. He will be launching the report in Brisbane on Thursday. Part 1 of this post here. With UN negotiations deadlocked, our new report, Laggard to Leader, published by climate solutions think

Batman and Thatcher: A tale of two Tories

Over the last four days I\'ve seen two films with nothing in common except their politics. The just-released Batman film \'The Dark Knight Rises\' and the Margaret Thatcher biopic \'The Iron Lady\', which I caught on DVD, couldn\'t be further apart in tone, theme and setting. But they both

Why Australia must lead on climate change

Fergus Green is co-author of Laggard to Leader: How Australia can Lead the World to Zero Carbon Prosperity. He will be launching the report in Sydney tonight and in Brisbane on Thursday. Since 1992, the international community has been trying to avoid dangerous climate change through the

Emerging donors linkage

The role of emerging donors continues to be a hot topic in international policy circles. But is it all hype? India\'s long-delayed aid agency seems to be up and running. Foreign Policy details how India\'s status as a donor is extending Indian soft power far beyond Bollywood. One of the

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