Wednesday 06 Oct 2021 | 05:12 | SYDNEY
People | experts Michael Fullilove
Executive Director
Lowy Institute
Areas of ExpertiseAustralian foreign policy; US politics and foreign policy; Asia and the Pacific; Global institutions
Connect @mfullilove

McCain: Austerity begins on the South Lawn

Last year I raised my eyebrows at the price Washington is paying for a new fleet of helicopters for carting around POTUS, or the President of the United States. At Barack Obama's fiscal responsibility summit today, Senator John McCain, who has a long record of being a budgetary hawk as well

President of the world

In an article in The Australian Literary Review, Dr Michael Fullilove writes on how Barack Obama's personal experience of globalisation makes him a very different American leader.The Australian - Australian Literary Review, 4 February 2009, p. 10

Barack Obama inaugural address: a view from Washington, DC

The inauguration of Barack Obama as president of the United States on 20 January was observed intently by billions of people around the world. One of the unusual aspects of Obama's candidacy for president was that he is such a gifted writer and speaker, a fact which has already led to comparisons

Washington event on President Obama’s inaugural address

On 21 January, the Lowy Institute for International Policy and the Foreign Policy program at the Brookings Institution co-hosted a panel discussion in Washington, DC on the inaugural address delivered by President Obama the day before. The event was chaired by Carlos Pascual, Vice President of

Fine speech for an extraordinary historical moment

In an opinion piece in The Sydney Morning Herald, Dr Michael Fullilove, Program Director Global Issues and a Visiting Fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington DC, analyses Barack Obama's inaugural address.Sydney Morning Herald, 22 January 2009, p. 7

Obama biggest speech yet

In this op-ed on, Dr Michael Fullilove looks ahead to Barack Obama's inaugural address on 20 January and distills three lessons from history concerning the relationship between presidential language and U.S. foreign policy.

Obama inaugural address and U.S. foreign policy: lessons from history

In this Perspective, Dr Michael Fullilove, who is currently based at the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC, looks ahead to President-elect Barack Obama's inaugural address on 20 January. Obama is an unusually gifted writer and speaker with an old-fashioned attachment to speeches, who will

The president reading list

A Boxing Day op-ed by Karl Rove in The Wall Street Journal stirred up a lot of chit-chat here in the US. Rove revealed (not for the first time) that he and his former boss, President George W Bush, engage in an annual competition to see who can read the most books. The op-ed is a perfect storm of

Reports of US decline could be premature

In an opinion piece in The Sydney Morning Herald, Michael Fullilove, Program Director Global Issues and a Visiting Fellow at The Brookings Institution in Washington, DC, argues that Obama will be the president who reveals the frailties in the argument that America is on the decline.Sydney Morning

My books of the year

I have to confess that this year I read more reports, articles and speeches than I did books. Many of them had a common protagonist: a skinny young politician with a funny name. You get the drift. I did, however, find time for Le Carré's masterful Karla trilogy, and I have his new novel

Putting Obama in his place

So Pete Speer thinks anyone who nominates Barack Obama as their leader of the year needs to ‘sober up’. Pete’s right, of course. Obama achieved nothing at all in 2008, apart from coming from way behind to win the most impressive electoral victory in decades, in the process of which

Obama should try cricket, 'fore it all turns to ashes

An opinion piece by Dr Michael Fullilove, originally published in the Financial Times on 10 December 2008, on the use of a cricket metaphor for President-elect Barack Obama's foreign policy, was published in The Australian Financial Review on 18 December 2008.Australian Financial Review, 18 December

Celebrities without shame

I am pretty dubious about 'celebrities without borders' who involve themselves in politics and international relations. So I've decided to kick off a very occasional feature in which I post instances of this kind of celebrity shamelessness. I'll start with Fran Drescher, the Nanny who's

Indonesia the right stage for Obama

In August 2007, President-elect Barack Obama promised that, in the first 100 days of his administration, he would ‘travel to a major Islamic forum’ and give a speech on Islam and terrorism. ‘I will make clear’, he promised, ‘that we are not at war with Islam, that we will stand with

Mr. Obama first trip

On 15 December 2008, Dr Michael Fullilove published an op-ed in The New York Times. During the campaign, President-elect Barack Obama promised that in the first 100 days of his administration he would 'travel to a major Islamic forum and deliver an address to redefine our struggle.' In his op-ed, Dr

Cricket tragics

In the FT yesterday I argued that, although Washington foreign policy discussions these days are full of baseball metaphors, President-elect Barack Obama should take his lead instead from a more complex and demanding game: cricket. It seems to me the invasion of Iraq demonstrated a baseball

Obama ought to take up cricket

In an opinion piece in the Financial Times, Dr Michael Fullilove, Global Issues Program Director and a visiting fellow at The Brookings Institution, argues that there are several lessons about the international system that President-Elect Barack Obama could learn from cricket.Financial Times, 10

Blair Middle East synthesis

When Tony Blair was appointed the Quartet’s representative to the Middle East last year, I was cautiously supportive of the pick. I thought the appointment was as much about Tony as it was about the Middle East, and I was troubled by the unseemly haste in rushing to make the appointment before

A turkey pardon

Sometimes you simply have to feel sorry for George W. Bush. Today I watched Barack Obama give another well-received press conference in which he tapped former chairman of the Fed, Paul Volcker, to head up a new Economic Recovery Advisory Board. Then the coverage clicked over to the current

Obama style and substance

President-elect Barack Obama has recorded two video appearances in the last few days that are worth a click. His first post-election interview on 60 Minutes is enjoyable because it points to a future when it will be a pleasure to listen to the president of the United States. I know it’s

We'll have to vie for Obama attention

In an opinion piece in The Australian, Dr Michael Fullilove, Program Director Global Issues and a visiting fellow at The Brookings Institution in Washington, DC, argues that Australia will need 'sharp elbows and pointy ideas' to be heard in Washington.The Australian, 17 November 2008, p. 8

Australia position at the G-20

Dr Michael Fullilove and Dr Stephen Grenville contributed a comment about the forthcoming Washington G-20 meeting to an online forum hosted by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and the Brookings Institution. The forum is available

Major Obama misstep

It turns out that not even Barack Obama is perfect. Sure, he won an historic election victory. Yes, he gave a cracker of a victory speech. OK, his transition to power is humming along with the usual deadly effectiveness. But I am sorry to pass on the news that Obama’s Secret Service code-

Who could fail to be moved by this?

It’s been an exhilarating couple of days to be in the United States, as a great victory was won by the most gifted presidential candidate in decades and America demonstrated again why it has such a hold on the world’s imagination. I described some of my feelings at the end of this interview

What does Cheney really think of Palin?

John McCain probably felt he needed Dick Cheney's endorsement like a hole in the head — but now he's got it. Barack Obama made hay with the announcement, congratulating McCain and asserting that he'd worked hard to get it, by voting with President Bush 90% of the time. But I

After Bush: how to repair US alliances

In an opinion piece in The Christian Science Monitor, Dr Michael Fullilove, Program Director Global Issues and a visiting fellow at The Brookings Institution in Washington, DC, argues that whoever wins the US presidential election, either candidate would need to work hard to reinvigorate America's

Obama foreign policy realism

In an article published last week in the new online magazine The Daily Beast, I argue that despite being a McCain adviser, Henry Kissinger really ought to vote for Obama on Tuesday, since he would be a run a more realistic foreign policy than McCain. Obama’s pragmatism was apparent in his 2002

A world of policy differences

In an article in the News Review section of The Sydney Morning Herald, Dr Michael Fullilove writes that the foreign policies of the two US presidential candidates would not be as similar as some analysts predict.Sydney Morning Herald, 1 November 2008, p. 29

Why Kissinger should support Obama

In an article in The Daily Beast online magazine, Dr Michael Fullilove, Program Director Global Issues and a visiting fellow at The Brookings Institution in Washington DC, writes that neither candidate would be a foreign policy realist after Henry Kissinger's heart - but Obama would be closer to it

Trading places

In a recent post, Sam Roggeveen criticised Barack Obama’s protectionism. It’s one of the topics I address in the Lowy Institute Analysis I released a couple of days ago, ‘Hope or Glory? The Presidential Election, U.S. Foreign Policy and Australia’. There’s no question Obama’s free

Picking the US winner

In an opinion piece in the Sydney Morning Herald, Dr Michael Fullilove examines the implications of the US presidential election for Australia's interests.Sydney Morning Herald, 23 October 2008, p. 15

Obama and McCain lighten up

If you'd like to feel good about the choice facing Americans on 4 November, have a look at the humorous speeches given by John McCain and Barack Obama at the annual Alfred E. Smith Dinner in New York City last Thursday night

Third debate: On Joe the oft-quoted plumber

As Sam observes, Obama looked deliberate and presidential in last night's debate, while John McCain looked jerky and occasionally wild-eyed. McCain was already writing notes on his pad when moderator Bob Schieffer was doing the introductions (had something occurred to him that hadn't come

Debate strategy: Cross your legs and hope not to lie

I thought John McCain narrowly won the first presidential debate, but tonight I felt Barack Obama was the victor. Obama was smoother, more relaxed, and more direct and responsive to questions. His body language was good — he looked natural sitting on his bar stool whereas McCain didn'

McCain narrow win

I thought John McCain won the first presidential debate last Friday – but not by enough. Barack Obama started strongly and crisply, enumerating the different elements that needed to feature in any financial rescue plan. By contrast, McCain started slowly: when he said ‘I've been not

The McCain gambit

When you watch video of John McCain announcing the suspension of his candidacy in order to return to Washington, DC and sort out the credit crisis, you have to shake your head over his political daring. Two things occur to me: McCain revels in risk-taking. On two occasions when he has

With friends like this...

To quote Jonathan Freedland in today's Guardian: 'The feeling is familiar.' Except that unlike Mr Freedland, the feeling I'm experiencing is boredom and it's caused by his self-indulgent op-ed about the US presidential election. The author makes generous use of the first

Another tall log-cabin story

In this op-ed in the Sydney Morning Herald last Tuesday, I complained about the tall stories told by Democratic politicians in Denver about their humble origins. I was not surprised to hear similar log-cabin stories coming out of the Republican convention in St Paul – but I was surprised

McCain choice

I've been a little surprised by the vehemence of the criticism here in Washington, DC of John McCain’s vice presidential pick, Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska. It seems to me that it is just too early to tell what impact she will have on the race. Palin’s life story may well be as colourful

The collected Denver tribes

Ed. note: You might have missed the postscripts to Michael Fullilove's posts from the Democratic Convention, in which he described the various 'tribes' he came across. It's a lovely bit of Americana, which I've collated below. Activists: Usually of the left, but not

Democrats in Denver V

This final note on the Democratic National Convention originates in Washington, DC – the difficulties of getting back to my hotel from Invesco Field on Thursday night prevented me posting from Denver. Judging by the scene in the car park an hour after Obama finished speaking, with crowds of

Democrats in Denver IV

It's a very big day when a major party nominates an African-American to be president of the United States. And yet I found most of the rest of this evening's events in Denver a little underwhelming.   President Clinton's speech was certainly strong: some Democrats were nervous about

Democrats in Denver III

I spent three or four hours in the Pepsi Center this evening listening to the Convention proceedings. The size of the whole production continues to impress. Down on the floor, delegates shuffle around like worker bees on a honeycomb. Rising up the steep sides of the arena are rows of seats,

Democrats in Denver II

This afternoon I ventured for the first time into Denver's Pepsi Center to watch the first day of proceedings at the Democratic National Convention. It's an impressive venue, especially when full to the rafters with twenty thousand-odd excited, screaming, dancing Americans. (I say '

Democrats in Denver I

This week the Big Top of the American political circus has come to Denver, Colorado, with the staging of the Democratic National Convention. This wealthy, charming city has the air of a festival about it. Events here will provide fodder for a million colour pieces – so we reasoned that I may as