Saturday 25 Sep 2021 | 04:35 | SYDNEY


Monday linkage: ASEAN, asylum seekers, Jon Stewart and more

A deeper look at the recent ASEAN fiasco reveals what China wants: a weak and divided ASEAN. (Thanks Milton.) An infographic on the scale of Australia\'s asylum-seeker problem. (Thanks Danielle.) DFAT\'s first head-of-mission to join Twitter (if you don\'t count the temporary Vatican

Free trade: Untangling the noodles

The Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations has fizzled out. The spate of preferential trade agreements (PTAs), misleadingly called \'free trade agreements\', has created a messy \'noodle bowl\' of overlapping and uncoordinated rules. A logical alternative strategy might start with a small

Friday funny: Going for an English

Thanks to a reader who sent in this follow-up to last Friday\'s Rowan Atkinson sketch about English lager louts in an Indian restaurant

Autocrats, democrats and growth

Steve Grenville's recent post on democracy and Indonesia's economy brought to mind old debates about the relationship between a country's political regime and its economic growth performance. The view that the absence of political and other civil rights can in some way be 'good' for economic

Friday linkage: Churchill, ASEAN, eurozone, Africa and more

Indonesia is trying to clean up the mess left by last week\'s failed ASEAN meeting. You\'ve heard of stories about rows of unoccupied apartment blocks in China. Seems China is doing the same for Angola. Architectural modernism is often associated with progressive causes. But the Nazis had

Reader riposte: Fitzgibbon at Defence

Graeme Dobell\'s column about former Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon\'s views of his old department brought a response from Soldier Z, a serving member of the ADF who previously wrote for The Interpreter in 2010: Joel Fitzgibbon\'s op-ed last Friday was poorly masked attempt to leverage

How far should UN peacekeepers go?

Jim Terrie is a risk management consultant and former Africa analyst with International Crisis Group. The situation in Syria yet again exposes the UN\'s limits. The presence of UN peacekeepers has imposed little restraint on the belligerents or relief for those under attack. This won\'

Wednesday linkage: Singapore, Abbott in Washington, GW Bush and more

\'Good afternoon. Please rate our toilet\'. Another reason to admire Singapore. (H/t MR.) A transcript of Tony Abbott\'s speech to the Heritage Foundation in Washington, DC. ASPI has joined the blogosphere: here\'s The Strategist. If you\'re in Sydney, get down to next Wednesday\'s Lowy

PNG elections: Meet the candidates III

After 8 years at Ok Tedi Mining and 16 years in agriculture, Allan Bird is an agribusiness expert running for the seat of his home district, the province of East Sepik. He is 39 and married with nine children. Allan joined Ok Tedi (then owned by BHP) aged nineteen after starting a science

Monday linkage: Japan, food production, Syria, cars, Germany and more

The world is producing more food than ever, says the OECD. \'If people are hungry, it\'s because they can\'t afford to buy food, not that there is no food to buy.\' \'More Richard Burton than Peter Sellers\': Malcolm Farr defends Foreign Minister Bob Carr. Australia\'s \'world city\': did the

America remarkable energy transition

This is one of the more remarkable and hopeful charts I have seen in some time, describing America\'s energy mix: Why impressive? Just look at the rate of transition from coal to natural gas. As Alexis Madrigal says in his commentary, \'that\'s the kind of growth that you tend to see in the

Friday linkage: Japan, Middle East, Nixon Doctrine, Canberra and more

Japan-ROK relations suffered a blow recently with the last-minute postponement of an intelligence sharing agreement. But joint naval exercises continue. New photos from the day the Fukushima nuclear plant was flooded. US Secretary of State Clinton\'s views about democracy and

New Delhi rising star in the Indian Ocean

David Brewster is a Visiting Fellow at the Strategic & Defence Studies Centre, ANU. Located about 900km east of Madagascar, Mauritius is the Little India of the southwest Indian Ocean. Some 70% of the population is of Indian descent, and since gaining independence from Britain, the

Thursday linkage: JFK, Lese Majeste, iPad games and more

Anne-Marie Slaughter is getting all the attention for her \'Why women still can\'t have it all\' article in The Atlantic. But check out Caitlin Flanagan\'s Hitchens-esque tour de force on the Kennedys in the same issue. Worth it for the lead paragraph alone. If your interest is

Reader riposte: Forgetting Asia crisis

On our Facebook page, Andrew Gaczol had this response to John Larkin\'s piece, \'Women locked out of Asia\'s boardrooms\', which opened with the line \'Western economies can learn from Asia\'s resilience against financial crisis\': Asia\'s resilience against financial crises?!!!! Have we

Wednesday linkage: Gandhi, Roubini, North Korea, Egypt and more

Good news from Indonesia: Islamic boarding schools spreading messages of tolerance. (Thanks Simon.) Gandhi said the future of India lay in its villages. Wrong, says Boris Johnson. Roubini: the coming financial disaster of 2013. CSIS has a primer on US Secretary of State Clinton\'s

Reader riposte: What ails America

Adam Clancy is a freelance writer in Washington, DC and a contributor to the Via Meadia blog: I sadly cannot share Nick Bryant\'s hope that John Roberts\' Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act heralds a new age of civility and reasonableness in American politics. In fact,

Firing blanks at R2P

Tim Dunne is Professor of International Relations in the Asia-Pacific Centre for R2P, University of Queensland. Sarah Teitt is a Research Fellow in the Asia-Pacific Centre for R2P. There are many reasons why the application of coercive Western military power against Syria is a

What did the European summit fix?

Financial markets responded positively to the European summit on 28-29 June, but how much progress was made? Before this crisis is over, there will be huge losses to be absorbed. These losses have already been incurred through poor bank lending and excessive government debt in countries without

The spectre of Malthus

In this 2009 Lowy Institute working paper, Mark Thirlwell looks at some initial lessons from the 2007-2008 crisis about living in a resource-constrained world. A revised version of this working paper was published in the journal Survival in June-July 2009: A New Era of Food Insecurity? By Alan

Reader riposte: Reflections on America

Hugh Wyndham writes: While I do not disagree with Jerry Nockles\' description of American democratic ambition, the present state of American democracy is in fact parlous, with several Republican state governments or legislatures adopting measures explicitly designed to limit the voting in

Where to now for the global economy?

Last week we had Reserve Bank Board member Dr John Edwards and the Lowy Institute\'s Mark Thirlwell speak on the state of the global economy and Australia\'s economic boom (a full video and podcast from the event is available here). After the event we caught up with John to discuss the health

Defining 'conservative internationalism'

Sam\'s discussion of conservative internationalism has piqued my interest, and not only because I spent a few years interviewing members of the Howard Government about its foreign policy philosophy. I think Sam\'s onto something, but I think it needs better definition. One of the first things a

Thursday linkage: TED, commodities, Indonesia, FTAs, the Dutch and more

Spiegel on Switzerland\'s growing role as a commodities trading hub. Terrific blog describing the life of women in Saudi Arabia. With Doha stalled, China and India will pursue more bilateral and regional FTAs. These agreements must focus on deep integration beyond goods. The Lowy Institute

Reflections on the revolution in America

The Fourth of July is a date that has assumed the distinction of a celebrity known only by their first name, like Prince or Madonna. It encompasses, in one Gregorian contraction, all that we ascribe to a country we look to as not only our most important strategic partner, but as holding similar

Wednesday linkage: Pakistan, ICC, Vietnam, electric cars and more

Ashley Tellis: Pakistan is facing a major strategic defeat in Afghanistan. The trading mentality: \'the trader who waits for strong evidence will have missed the profits. The academic wants to be right, the trader wants to be first.\' But what happens when traders enter politics? Youth

McKibbin on Australia carbon tax

Earlier this week we caught up with Lowy Institute Professorial Fellow Warwick McKibbin to discuss the new carbon tax. For those readers who follow Warwick\'s work on economic instruments to address climate change (summarised in a 2006 Lowy Institute Analysis and more recently in 

Aviation, a window on world politics

Those who followed our recent interview series with James Fallows will know that the premise of his latest book is that China\'s aviation sector provides a useful lens through which to view the rise of China as a whole. In that spirit, I want to alert you to two items I

Tuesday linkage: Q&A, tennis, air conditioning, Twitter and more

Astonishing: \'Humans currently slaughter about 1,600 mammals and birds every second for food.\' Apparently Liberal MP Sophie Mirabella is copping it for not reacting quickly enough to the dramatic fainting episode on last night\'s Q&A. But it was really just a demonstration of the

BRICS house is made of sticks

Dr Daniel Woker is the former Swiss Ambassador to Australia, Singapore and Kuwait and now a Senior Lecturer at the University of St Gallen. Nick Bryant, in his thoughtful and insightful contribution of 29 June (\'India no longer shining\'), asks whether the \'I\' in BRICS should now

Monday linkage: Emissions trading, failed states, Kissinger and more

On the day Australia\'s emissions trading scheme goes into effect, it\'s worth asking: what effect has Europe\'s ETS had on low carbon technology development? (H/t Free Exchange.) Indonesia\'s aviation boom: Outside China, Jakarta\'s main airport is the fastest growing in the Asia Pacific. (H/t

Blame central banks? Not so fast

The halcyon days when central banks could do no wrong are long gone, and criticism of them is getting sharper. The harshest voice comes from The Economist (\'The Twilight of the Central Banker\'), taking to task the latest annual report of the central bankers\' club, the Bank for International

Thursday linkage: Drones, Gordon Brown, central banks and more

A bit late, but here\'s a link to the 2012 Failed States Index, released earlier this month. (Thanks Theo.) Entertaining account of Gordon Brown\'s first day as PM, five years ago: \'I did always wonder what any Treasury officials passing outside the room would have thought hearing Gordon

Reader riposte: Conservative internationalism

Harry Gelber responds to Sam Roggeveen\'s \'More on conservative internationalism\': I would not want to disagree with most of your comments. It would, for example, be very difficult to argue against your penultimate paragraph. But I wonder whether the general trend of your argument may not

Second thoughts on second unbundling

I want to add something to Stephen Grenville\'s recent post about the \'second unbundling\' of international trade, which he describes as \'the division of production itself, so that each stage of the production process is done in the most efficient location.\' It\'s true, as Stephen says, that

Wednesday linkage: Indonesia, aid polling, DPRK, black swans and more

\'Indonesia is essentially a make-believe nation. It was brought into notional existence in 1945 with a declaration of independence of unsurpassed vagueness.\' (H/t Sullivan.) UK public attitudes to aid and development. (Thanks Danielle.) A new study suggests food aid prolongs civil conflict. (H

Asian Century linkage: Thai censors, China in space, Asia haze and more

Southeast Asia\'s smoky haze is back. Whose fault is it? (Thanks Milton.) China-Japan: New public opinion survey suggests high levels of mutual mistrust. Mao\'s Great Leap Forward on film. Google is doing the bidding of government censors in Thailand. The Wall St Journal\'s Japan Real Time

The future of international trade

For half a century the focus of international economic integration has been on reducing border restrictions to trade, mainly through tariff reductions. This task is not complete, but where there are substantial remaining barriers, as with agriculture, the domestic opposition is just too powerful.

Monday linkage: Obesity, Cuba, ediplomacy, foreign aid and more

From The Verge: \'Agence France-Presse (AFP) has released a new e-diplomacy tool that curates and maps tweets from heads of state and government, officials, thinkers, and activists.\' (Thanks Charles.) The Economist highlights a crime against charts. (Thanks Stephen.) The Cuban Missile Crisis,

China prefers the real Shangri-La

Raffaello Pantucci is a Visiting Scholar at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences and Alexandros Petersen is the author of The World Island. Their research is available at China in Central Asia.  Central Asia\'s magisterial valleys, like the Fergana or the high plateaus of the

More on conservative internationalism

As flattered as I was to see the effect my argument made on Michael Wesley, I cannot let his characterisation of it stand in its entirety. In the course of his post, Michael allies my \'conservative internationalism\' with Harry Gelber\'s observation that states don\'t always enter into

Reader riposte: Win or lose in Afghanistan (2)

Anton Kuruc writes: Greg Collins calls out Raoul Heinrichs for defeatist binary thinking without giving us an alternate basis to define military success and failure. Working out who won and who lost a war is relatively easy. The adversary that achieves outcomes that most promote or

Tuesday linkage: Rio summit, iPads, missile defence, the Shard and more

Rio summit to become more of a telethon-style event than a negotiation. Globalisation, illustrated: Via Club Troppo\'s comments thread, a neat infographic showing where iPads are made, and where the profits go. Are China\'s near seas capabilities aimed directly at the United States? \'The