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Monday linkage: China, baseball, drones, nukes, immigration

\'Who is the world\'s largest leading economic power?\', The Pew Research Center asked people in 21 countries. In 11 countries, the majority thought it was China. (H/t GD.) A new academic blog examining political violence. (H/t Blattman.) Did you know that Australia\'s UNSC bid has its own

Big finance takes refuge in complexity

Anyone who saw \'Inside Job\' would know that the 2008 global financial crisis (GFC) revealed fundamental deficiencies in the financial sector. With the lacklustre recovery in the US and Europe still deeply mired in the aftermath of 2008, you might think the climate would favour far-reaching

Lowy Institute events update

For those who attend Lowy Institute events or subscribe to our event podcasts/videos, please take note: from 1 July there will no longer be a  formal weekly Wednesday lecture program.  This doesn\'t mean the end of events at the Lowy Institute; far from it. The second half of 2012

G20: On the edge in Los Cabos

Next week it will be time for another meeting of G20 leaders, this time in Los Cabos, Mexico. The meeting will follow key elections in Greece this weekend, with financial markets fearing that the polls could be the trigger for an intensification of the eurozone crisis. Indeed, there\'s a

R2P here to stay, as process and principle

Dr Daniel Woker is the former Swiss Ambassador to Australia, Singapore and Kuwait and now a Senior Lecturer at the University of St Gallen.  Both Rodger Shahanan (in his thoughtful piece on the relative failure of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) norm in Syria) as

Thursday linkage: US-China, cyberwar, Peace Index, North Korea and more

Lowy Institute Visiting Fellow John Carlson recognised for his non-proliferation work in the Queen\'s Birthday honours. Anatol Lieven takes to the NY Times op-ed page to praise Hugh White\'s upcoming book on US-China relations. There\'s a population explosion underway in sub-Saharan

Trailer: The Dark Knight Rises

Back in 2008 I criticised the previous film in this trilogy for its moral slipperiness. The Dark Knight struck a lot of people as a commentary on the Bush Administration\'s war on terror, and I thought it gave the Administration a free pass on some of the more questionable practices used in

Why is support for climate action dropping?

Roger Pielke Jr is a professor of environmental studies at the University of Colorado. He spoke at the Lowy Institute in February on the intersection of science and public policy. It has been a long time since polls of public opinion on climate change measured anything much to do with

Eurozone: Selective Asian Crisis lessons

There\'s an interesting op-ed in the FT arguing that Europeans should learn the lessons of the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis. Since one result of the eurozone experiment has been to trigger what looks very much like a classic emerging market crisis around the European periphery  an overvalued

Tuesday linkage: Obama, sweat shops, Aceh, New Zealand, The Wire and more

Obama claims to have read Aquinas and St Augustine. Here\'s a fascinating examination of Obama\'s drone war in light of just-war theory. Various international relations scholars asked about their view of blogging. (Thanks Ben.) In defence of sweat shops. The Asia New Zealand Foundation has a

Ediplomacy: A powerful supplement

Shannon Smith\'s post on Australian ediplomacy raises some excellent and often overlooked points on social media. There are also a few that I take a slightly different view on. Most strikingly, his post points to the modernisation of Australia\'s government generally. Shannon provides a

Life in the middle (3): More second thoughts on globalisation

In a couple of earlier posts, I\'ve noted that right now it\'s possible to tell two quite powerful but also quite different stories about life in the middle in the world economy. One of these is a depressing tale about a squeezed developed-country middle class; the other is a much more positive

Life in the middle (2): Poor but rising

In my previous post I outlined some of the angst in the developed world regarding the future of the middle class. There is, however, another compelling story to tell about life in the middle, and it\'s much more upbeat. The same period that has seen the middle squeezed in the developed world

Reader riposte: R2P in the arc of instability

Andrew Farran comments on our recent discussions about Responsibility to Protect (R2P): R2P is not dead; it stumbled in Syria. Its potential over time in situations not involving significant powers is yet to be tested. Its potential for Australia in particular may lie in relation to the micro-

Life in the middle (1): Decline and fall?

One close relation to the current debate over inclusive growth and inequality that I highlighted in a previous post is a parallel discussion regarding the fate of the middle class. A particularly noteworthy feature of this second debate is that perspectives on the issue are

'And don't speak too soon...'

Back when I was trying to find a silver lining to the great GFC cloud, I used to cheer myself up by arguing that at least we had learned the lessons of the Great Depression and weren\'t about to re-run the disaster that was the 1930s. Reading some of the commentary over the past

Internationalism is not always idealistic

It\'s taken me too long to respond to Sam\'s thoughtful piece on the new bipolarity. His idea of \'conservative internationalism\' really got me thinking and in the end has made me revise a major premise of my original idea. In first observing the qualitative differences between 

In policy world, 'inclusion' the new black

I\'m just back from a research trip that took in a couple of conferences and a bunch of meetings with think tanks. I\'m still digesting the various messages (aside from the blindingly obvious one about the grim outlook for the world economy), but one thing I did notice was the

Asian multilateralism is all talk

In a really helpful critique of the new bipolarity, Andrew Carr argues that I\'m overplaying the institutional differences between the Atlantic and Asian realms and points out that there is no shortage of institutions in Asia (though that figure of 700 meetings a year came as a bit of a

Reader riposte: New age of diplomacy

Dr Geoff Randal responds to Martine Letts\' piece on Allan Gyngell\'s recent speech, \'What happened to diplomacy?\': A good summary of what was an interesting address. Before you get into diplomacy, you need to want to get on with those out there, as diplomacy is all about the

Syria: R2P on trial

Alex Bellamy is Professor of International Security at Griffith University and Tim Dunne is Director of Research at the Asia-Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect. The social revolutions associated with the Arab Spring have generated significant policy challenges for

Inflation targeting under attack

Inflation targeting has been the lodestone for monetary policy in more than 25 central banks over the past couple of decades. But there are sceptics: can a policy which has the single objective of price stability cope with the threats to financial stability revealed by the 2008 global financial

Reader riposte: Defensive bipolarity

Harry Gelber, an Honorary Research Associate at the University of Tasmania, writes: I am intrigued by Michael Wesley\'s suggestion of new patterns of cooperation/institutionalisation in Asia, Africa and Latin America. I offer a few reflections: 1. This kind of pattern-making does not

Monday linkage: Clinton, refugees, China, the US pivot and more

UN refugee chief Antonio Guterres says the current combination of humanitarian crises is the most disturbing he\'s seen since taking up the job. Ten things economists can tell us about human happiness. Statecraft as gardening: \'You get the weeds out when they are small. You also build

Friday linkage: Israel, Panetta, India, Estonia, conservatism and more

Thanks to political Islam, Iran\'s nuclear program and demographic trends, the Middle East power balance has been shifting away from Israel for 20 years. The first-ever ranking of the world\'s top young (under 50 years-old) universities. US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on the pivot:&

Syria: What next? (redux)

Tim Dunne is Director of Research, Asia-Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, University of Queensland. The latest issue of Foreign Policy has a contribution to the Syria intervention debate by the regular columnist James Traub. He illustrates the swinging of the intervention

Burma Black Box: Regime vs icon

Aung San Suu Kyi is showing fine touch as she moves from being an icon to a politician. Her status as icon is yet to be matched by her formal power in Burma\'s political structure. If present shifts were to continue, she might fulfill her destiny as Burma\'s democratically-elected leader. Not yet

Tuesday linkage: North Korea, eurozone, Star Wars politics and more

From The Economist: \'Maybe some people imagined that the arrival of the web would launch an internet economy in which we all worked for internet companies producing internet. That\'s akin to a belief that the development of electricity should have given rise to an electricity era in which we all

Monday linkage: China, Krugman, Europe, urbanism and more

Unlike organisms, cities \'speed up rather than slow down as their size increases, speeding the flow of goods, people and ideas and accelerating the rate of innovation and economic growth.\' Taiwan is keeping an eye on China\'s construction of military airbases. (Thanks Malcolm.) This week\'s

Greece-euro: Descent into maelstrom

Clearly Greece has entered a new and perilous phase. Until now, the Greek crisis has been under control: grossly mishandled by policy-makers, but still able to be \'kicked down the road\' a bit further, putting off the denouement until another day. Each time the situation arrived at the point of no

Test your risk quotient

We all want leaders to make smart decisions. Maybe you fancy yourself as one of those leaders; someone who can make smart calls even when the evidence is inconclusive, as it usually is. Well, here\'s an interesting little online test to see how good you are at estimating probabilities. It asks

Friday linkage: Eurovision, North Korea, Indonesia, PNG and more

\'Each capital city has its own serene group of ambassadors. And each serene group of ambassadors has its barnacles, people who attach themselves to the Corps and intend to stay firmly attached.\' (H/t Browser.) Has OPEC lost the power to lower the price of oil? (H/t Oil Drum.) North Korea

The roots of the new bipolarity

Ten years ago, Robert Kagan grabbed everyone\'s attention by declaring \'Americans are from Mars, Europeans are from Venus\'. It was, he told us at the outset of his article-turned-bestseller, \'time to stop pretending that Europeans and Americans share a common view of the world, or even that they

Reader riposte: Asia and Atlantic not so different

Andrew Carr writes: As so often is the case, Michael Wesley has introduced a fresh and important take on world affairs with his new discussion of polarity, but I can\'t help but wonder about the significance of the differences, both in how we read the data and what it implies for the future

The Atlantic sphere transformed

In my previous post, I used a couple of data sets to show that Asian states spend less on institutions and are investing more on weapons than African, European and Latin American states. I think this is important because it portends a new bipolarity in international affairs, if we use the

Wednesday links: Romney, microcredit, OECD, climate change and more

All Dan Drezner wants from Mitt Romney\'s foreign policy pronouncements is logic. (Thanks Fergus.) Carl Thayer on the Five-Power Defence Arrangement, now forty years old. \'Why China won\'t rule\', by Robert Skidelsky. Nice analysis of what happened in Copenhagen in 2009: \'IR scholars rarely

Trains: China and Australia compared

I visited Hangzhou recently for a summit about ediplomacy, and got to experience China\'s high-speed rail system first-hand. I\'m no train geek, but you couldn\'t help but be impressed. The photo below is of the ticket counter in Hangzhou – I walked in and my heart sank. There were 30 lines

Chas Licciardello on White House race

If you know Chas from the Chaser comedy team you might not be aware that he\'s also something of a US politics obsessive and co-host of ABC News 24\'s Planet America. Chas shared the Lowy Institute stage with our own Michael Fullilove last week to talk about the upcoming

Romney and Obama neck and neck

Richard Nixon\'s great error during the 1960 presidential election was not so much to lose the country\'s inaugural televised debate as to agree to participate in the first place. He made his ill-fated decision after watching his opponent, John F Kennedy, deliver his acceptance speech at the

Madeleine Award: I nominate Merkel

Graeme Dobell\'s annual Madeleine Award is for the best us of \'symbol, stunt, prop, gesture or jest in international affairs.\' Angela Merkel surely deserves a nomination for giving new French President Francois Hollande several gentle but firm shoves in the right direction. As

Syria: What next?

Tim Dunne is Director of Research, Asia-Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, University of Queensland. Anne-Marie Slaughter, a leading international relations academic from Princeton, recently made an important intervention on the Syria question. Slaughter served as

Asian Century linkage

A global opinion poll finds views of Europe sliding, China rising. (Thanks Malcolm.) The cancellation of the Jakarta Lady Gaga concert is the hook for this interview with academic Merle Ricklefs on the deepening influence of Islam in Javanese society. (Thanks Dave.) A

Thursday linkage

The communications revolution was meant to loosen our ties to the office, the car and even the city itself. But large cities have productivity advantages. (H/t Free Exchange.) The US could achieve energy independence in the next two decades. A useful and revealing graph of Australian

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