Wednesday 06 Oct 2021 | 05:13 | 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

George Bush cloak of invisibility

In today’s Financial Times I have an op-ed on the foreign policy choice Americans face in 2008. I think the differences between Senators Obama and McCain are substantial, and I’ll expand on my argument in a research paper the Lowy Institute is publishing in October. George W. Bush gets

Hawk vs talk: America foreign policy choice

In this op-ed published in the Financial Times on 7 August 2008, Dr Michael Fullilove describes the foreign policy choice facing Americans in the forthcoming presidential election (and how experts usually get this question wrong).Financial Times, 7 August 2008, p. 9

I've got a bad feeling about Oliver Stone latest

Earlier this week, Sam linked to the first preview of Oliver Stone’s new biopic on George Bush, titled simply ‘W.’ I shouldn’t prejudge a film from its trailer but on the face of it, this looks like it will be on a par with its boring, convoluted and wildly inaccurate precursor, JFK. One

Obama takes to world stage

In an opinion piece in The Australian Financial Review, Dr Michael Fullilove writes that Barack Obama is taking the foreign policy fight directly to rival John McCain.Australian Financial Review, 23 July 2008, p. 63

More on Obama foreign policy speech

I think Sam was a little hard last week on Senator Barack Obama’s big foreign policy speech to the Wilson Center here in Washington, DC. Sam criticizes Obama for mentioning ‘China and the Asian region only once.’ (Sam’s italics.) I can hardly deny, in the very week that Obama is in

Mortgage crisis corrupting the youth

It’s not only Sydney that’s obsessed with real estate. I liked this little story from the Metropolitan Diary section of Monday’s New York Times, in which New Yorkers recount incidents about life in the city: Dear Diary: After I pressed the penthouse button in the elevator of my

Helping someone else crack the glass ceiling

I usually trust the political writings of The New York Times' Adam Nagourney and Patrick Healy, but in Sunday's paper they made a big mistake. The article in question is a pacy account of the various characters in the running for the vice presidential nominations of the two major parties

Fitzgibbon in Washington

On Tuesday, the Lowy Institute hosted a speech by the Australian Defence Minister, Joel Fitzgibbon, on his first ministerial visit to Washington, DC. We partnered with the 21st Century Defense Initiative at the Brookings Institution to hold the event. The diverse audience included, somewhat

Rudd steps out into the world with elan

Dr Michael Fullilove, Program Director Global Issues at the Lowy Institute and a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, writes in an opinion piece in The Sydney Morning Herald on the foreign policy performance of the Rudd government in its first six months.Sydney Morning Herald

Friday funny: Where the hell is Matt?

You may think that video of some American dude called Matt doing a very idiosyncratic dance in locations all around the world is not champagne viewing. But you would be be wrong. I challenge you to watch Matt's videos without enjoying the juxtaposition of the extreme beauty of the

Il neonazionalismo della diaspora

Dr Michael Fullilove published an article about the Chinese diaspora, entitled 'Il neonazionalismo della diaspora', in the Italian language publication Aspenia. Aspenia is published by the Aspen Institute Italia. Aspenia, Number 41, 2008, pp. 125-129

Banner headline: Newspaper admits error!

In an April post, I remarked on the high standards of the quality American press. In that case, an article in the Los Angeles Times caught my eye because it blatantly contravened the venerated practice of Australian media outlets of spruiking their own product and trashing their opponents'

Axis of shamelessness

It’s been a while since we’ve heard from the motley crew responsible for the excesses of the Bush Administration’s first term. In the past couple of years, as President Bush clicked his foreign policy over to a centrist setting, most of them have been edged out of his Administration. Instead

Bush: Even a stopped clock...

David Brooks has a powerful op-ed in today's New York Times about George W. Bush's Iraq troop surge. Brooks argues that '(e)very personal trait that led Bush to make a hash of the first years of the war led him to make a successful decision when it came to this crucial call.' He

Obama not going back to the future

Sam touched on the outlines of a potential Obama Administration foreign policy the other day. The interview that kicked off Sam’s musings was revealing in a couple of ways. I suspect a President Obama would appoint a senior Republican to his Administration, perhaps on the national security side

Obama hits the sealing

Well, that was quick. AFP and other services are reporting that the Obama campaign has dropped its strange quasi-presidential seal, used for the first time only three days ago. I'd like to say this decision is evidence of The Interpreter's reach and has been taken in response to my


Barack Obama certainly has the wind at his back at the moment: huge buckets of campaign funds, two books on The New York Times Bestseller List and a phenomenal amount of buzz. By contrast, the McCain campaign is generating more and more articles like this one in Sunday's Washington Post, in

The wit of Ted Sorensen

The Weekend FT contains my review of Ted Sorensen’s new memoir, Counselor: A Life at the Edge of History. In May this year I heard Sorensen speak in front of a packed house at a famous Washington bookshop, Politics & Prose. It was a wonderful performance. The man looks remarkable given his

Smart power: exaggerating America decline

Michael Fullilove argues that reports of America's slide towards mediocrity in defence, the economy, politics and international relations are exaggerated, that America as a superpower continues to fascinate, and that it remains the creative capital of the world.This article also appeared in the St

Burning down the House (of Representatives)

Sam's post about that crazy Israeli TV ad featuring Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad got me thinking about other excellent ads with policy implications. My favourite American ad is this one from a big telco imagining what the world would be like if it were run by firefighters (it

Thanks, Karl

Karl Rove, the Bush Administration mastermind-turned-pundit, has an op-ed in today’s Wall Street Journal arguing that Barack Obama’s foreign policies are ‘naïve and foolhardy’ and that Obama is insufficiently prepared to stride the world stage. The only appropriate response to such an

In Washington, open minds about Rudd Asia vision

It was very decent of Senator John McCain to say nice things about Australia today, complimenting our regional role and endorsing the ADF’s deployments in the Pacific. He even spoke highly of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. It’s not easy for an Australian PM to insert himself into that kind of a

This is the world hegemon, right?

Hurricane Katrina drew the world's horrified attention to the internal vulnerabilities of the world's sole superpower. But it doesn't take a natural disaster of that scale to remind a US resident of the country's problems. Last week, storms knocked out the power in a number

The junior senator from New York, I mean Illinois

Most of the political chatter here in the past couple of days, including from me, has concerned Senator Hillary Clinton's withdrawal from the race for the Democratic presidential nomination. Everyone from the ill-starred Mark Penn down has put their view. Perhaps the commentator to get

And then there were two

With the results expected to come out of South Dakota and Montana tonight and endorsements from a series of superdelegates, CNN has just projected that Senator Barack Obama has won the Democratic Party’s nomination for the office of President of the United States. If the broadcaster is correct,

Our man at the UN

I spent a couple of days last week at UN headquarters in New York, speaking to officials and UN watchers. I can report that opinion remains divided on the Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon. Many officials are yet to be won over by their new chief; others report that after an unsteady start the

Political loyalty, then and now

Over the past week, I've been reading Ted Sorensen's new memoir, Counselor: A Life At The Edge of History, which I'm reviewing for the Financial Times. It's difficult to avoid comparisons between the campaign stories Sorensen tells and the 2008 presidential race, not least because

Chinese diaspora carries a torch for old country

In an opinion piece in the Financial Times, Michael Fullilove, Program Director Global Issues and Lowy Visiting Fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington DC, argues that there is good evidence of a spike in diasporic feeling among overseas Chinese.The piece was republished in The Straits

Reader riposte: Well done, old boys!

Rawdon Dalrymple responds to my post of last week, in which I said of the UK political scene, 'there are plenty of Tory weaknesses for Labour to exploit (including the Etonian background of much of the Opposition front bench).' Is an Etonian background really an electoral

These Olympics just keep on giving

The torch relay of the Beijing Olympics is generating surprises, both for Western public opinion and the men of the Zhongnanhai. First, on the international portion of the relay, protestors of different stripes (pro-Tibetan independence, anti-Pyongyang, etc) drew the world's attention to

This is a dead pop culture reference

Dana Milbank has a good column in Wednesday's Washington Post. A day in the campaign of Senator Hillary Clinton, it's a beautifully drawn sketch of the absurdity of modern politics. Take this paragraph: 2:57 p.m., Yeager Airport, Charleston, W.Va.: A steep descent brings Clinton

Presidential polling

New opinion polling published in Tuesday’s Washington Post illustrates the complicated dynamics of this year’s presidential race. The first conclusion that leaps from the data is that the times suit the Democrats. More than eight out of ten Americans think the country is headed in the wrong

Obama and Israel

Sam blogged earlier about Jeffrey Goldberg's interview with Barack Obama on the topic of Israel and the Jews. I think most punters reading the interview transcript would come away with the view that Obama has strong links with the American Jewish community and is rock-solid on Israel's

The not-so-global conservative movement

David Brooks has a column in The New York Times entitled ‘The Conservative Revival’, which argues that American conservatives (who are on their way down) should learn from British conservatives (who are on their way up). It seems to me that Brooks is a little free and easy with his assessment

Obama mamas

I attended a lunch at Brookings on Friday on the topic of Catholics and US politics. Dr William Galston argued that American Catholics are numerous, strategically located in swing states such as Florida, Iowa, Minnesota and Pennsylvania, and swing voters. ‘As the Catholic vote goes’, he

Political chic

A few years ago, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice caused the world’s diplomats to choke on their Ferrero Rochers when she appeared at Wiesbaden Army Airfield in Germany dressed in a long black military-style coat and black leather boots. Now another world figure, this time new to the

Hillary: It over, almost

In a speech to the Lowy Institute three weeks ago, I estimated that Senator Barack Obama had greater than an 80% chance of winning the Democratic nomination for president. After yesterday’s results out of North Carolina and Indiana, that number has shot up past the 95% mark. Obama has come back

Democrats need quick end to infighting

In an opinion piece in The Australian Financial Review, Michael Fullilove, Program Director Global Issues at the Lowy Institute and the Lowy Visiting Fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC, argues that the bitter nomination contest must be resolved soon to allow time for a strong tilt

The Pentagon new suit

Last weekend I saw a great new movie about international policy, Iron Man. You may think this is not really a movie about international policy (my wife similarly resisted my attempt to sell it to her as a film about a flawed but sensitive man wrestling with his demons). In that case, you should

Hillary dumps on the dismal science

Mark Thirlwell will be disappointed. Appearing on ABC's 'This Week' with George Stephanopoulos on Sunday morning, Senator Hillary Clinton declared: 'I don't throw my lot in with economists.' That was in response to the near-universal drubbing Clinton's gas plan has

The Rev Wright wrap: It about me!

Until the last few days, Senator Barack Obama thought he had dealt with the threat posed by his former pastor Reverend Jeremiah Wright with his elegant and intelligent speech in Philadelphia on the topic of race in America (which I addressed in this op-ed in The Sydney Morning Herald). But Rev

Talk might be cheap, but a great speech is divine

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, argues that the 2008 US presidential campaign is proving to be a test-case of the power of speechmaking.Sydney Morning Herald,

Hillary: More front than Myers*

You have to hand it to the Clintons. When Senator Barack Obama made his imprudent comment about people in small towns turning to faith and guns as a reaction against their economic circumstances, Senator Hillary Clinton spotted an opportunity. Obama's comment was 'elitist' and '

US media: Some lessons for Oz

One reason America is so compelling is the diversity of the faces it presents to the world. The country is remarkably religious and obsessively secular. Large portions of it are prim, even prissy; other bits are as as far out there as you can get without falling off. Australian visitors to

Knowing America by its licence plates

One way of getting a quick insight into a community's perception of itself is to check out its licence plates — or more precisely, the little slogan the authorities have selected to write across the top of the plates. My home state of New South Wales reveals a bit of its pride with '

Two PMs in Washington

I have an op-ed in today’s Herald on ‘the month of the two PMs’ – the visits to Washington by John Howard and Kevin Rudd. Rocco has also done a nice illustration to go with the piece. One of the interesting things for me about Rudd’s speech to Brookings, where I’m based, is that

Plentiful peculiar Pentagon patches

The Interpreter’s more security-minded readers will have noticed the wonderful article in yesterday’s New York Times about the military patches worn by members of various military units funded off the Pentagon’s classified budget. It seems that a lot of military guys working on top-secret