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

America and ports'

You might think Washington is all politics, all day. At the moment, though, there’s also a lot of sport (or 'sports', as the Americans prefer). We’re coming towards the end of March Madness, the annual nationwide college basketball tournament. Everyone’s up for the Madness – even

Another view of the Rudd speech

Three elements of the PM’s speech to the ANU East Asia Forum struck me as interesting and important. First, Mr Rudd made a strong case for the centrality of international policy in Australia’s national life: he said it is ‘the natural expression and extension of the nation’s domestic

Not only in America

Notwithstanding my recent praise of Senator Barack Obama’s speech in Philadelphia, I would raise an objection to one element of the address. Obama may not be, as he said, ‘the most conventional candidate’, but he is conventional in one sense: his claim that ‘in no other country on Earth is

Talking about race

I hope to write soon on what Senator Barack Obama’s speech in Philadelphia last Tuesday (and the fact that he decided to cover this issue in a speech rather than a press conference or a 60 Minutes interview) tells us about speechmaking in American politics. But what about the content of the

Email of the day: The small ally burden

Yesterday I had a whinge about American pollsters' imperfect knowledge of Australia. Today we received a very helpful response from across the ditch: Kiwi Paul Cotton recommends a tried-and-tested approach for small countries who believe they're being ignored by their larger allies

You think we've got procurement problems?

As my colleagues have observed, Australia has had some well-publicised defence procurement problems. But in case you think we are unusually bad at these kind of complex purchases, check out the gobsmacking front page story in today's Washington Post on the replacement of the existing Marine One

America invisible ally

A common experience of Australians traveling abroad, and especially in the US, is to find no reference whatsoever in the media to one’s homeland. In fact, one of the purposes of the Lowy Institute has always been to project an Australian voice internationally. When I started working on a

Marketing marriage

There’s an arresting billboard just off Dupont Circle in Washington featuring a handsome African-American couple emerging from a church after making their wedding vows. He looks great in his tux, she looks beautiful in white, and they're being showered with confetti. The weird thing about

Not in Kansas anymore

Some days in Washington feel exactly like days in Sydney: you commute to work, you beaver away on your computer, you commute home and you read Thomas the Tank Engine to your son. But sometimes you realise you're not in Kansas (or even NSW) anymore.   I arrived at the Brookings Institution

Spitzer tawdry sex story: Is this news?

In the continuous coverage of New York Governor Eliot Spitzer’s tryst with a high-class hooker at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington – amidst all the high-volume verbiage and opinion – there’s one question which has not received much airplay: is this actually news? I have grave doubts about

Obama vs Clinton: How about they flip for it?

Well, isn't this a delicate pickle? The Democratic Party has two extremely strong candidates for its presidential nomination, Senators Obama and Clinton. Either would make history as a nominee, let alone as president of the United States. Each appeals to different constituencies: Obama to

John Howard goes to Washington

The Australian is splashing John Howard’s guest appearance at a ‘glittering’ dinner for the American Enterprise Institute here in Washington last night, at which he delivered the Irving Kristol Lecture and received AEI’s award for outstanding achievement. (I wonder what they would have

What Erdogan turking about?

One of the arguments in my Lowy Institute Paper, World wide webs, is that homelands are reaching out to their emigrant populations. States as diverse as China, India and Morocco are redefining their emigrants and instituting policies aimed at engaging their diasporas, either to protect or exploit

Live from DC

This is my first American Interpreter post from Washington, DC, where I’ve just taken up a position as the Lowy Visiting Fellow at The Brookings Institution. My family and I arrived at Dulles Airport last weekend in one piece – or rather, with eight pieces of check-in and indeterminate pieces

Expats - time to use them wisely

In this opinion piece in The Sydney Morning Herald, Dr Michael Fullilove argues that Australia, with its large 'gold-collar' diaspora, is well positioned to benefit from the global trend towards the strengthening of diasporas.The Sydney Morning Herald, 18 February 2008, p. 11

World wide webs

Today we launch Lowy Institute Paper 22, World wide webs: Diasporas and the international system, in which I argue that diasporas are getting larger, thicker and stronger, with significant implications for global economics, politics and security. I have summarised different elements of my case in

The world must adapt to diasporas

In an opinion piece in the Financial Times, Dr Michael Fullilove argues that the thickening of diasporas has important implications for global economics, politics and security.Financial Times, 15 February 2008, p. 9

Where the Goreacle?

In the last week, Senator Barack Obama has won impressive endorsements from Senator Edward Kennedy, the last of the three Kennedy brothers, and from Caroline Kennedy, President John F Kennedy’s only surviving child. Obama’s rival, Senator Hillary Clinton, has won ticks from a string of party

Climate skeptics tilting at windfarms

A few weeks ago I, along with most of my colleagues on the staff and the board of the Lowy Institute, received a complimentary copy of a book called 'Unstoppable Global Warming – Every 1,500 Years', by S. Fred Singer and Dennis T. Avery. When I arrived at work there was an enormous pile

Labor foreign policy: Change is our friend

Soon after the federal election last November, I heard whispers from Canberra (and, indeed, arguments from respected colleagues) that the change of government would not result in a change of foreign policy. I took issue with this view in an op-ed in the Sydney Morning Herald. For most of the

Black Watch

This week I saw a cracker of a play at the Sydney Festival – one with strong international policy resonances. The National Theatre of Scotland’s Black Watch is the latest instalment of Iraq War-related art, after Mike Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11, Robert Redford’s Lions for Lambs and David Hare

Give it up for Obama

The Iowa caucuses were a big deal in US politics: a black man won an important, closely-contested primary; the Clinton machine lost; the outsiders surged; the insiders bombed; and Chuck Norris took his place at a presidential election podium. Obama is the hip-hop candidate: he shoots hoops

Lowy staff talk about the year in books (part 5)

As my wife is about to give birth to our second child, it would be overly optimistic for me to compile a Christmas reading list. Nevertheless, there are a good number of books on my bedside table. I recently finished William Dalrymple’s marvellous account of his travels through the ruins of

Ally with a new attitude

In this opinion piece in the Los Angeles Times on 29 November 2007, Dr Michael Fullilove described the implications for the United States of the Howard Government's defeat at last weekend's Australian federal election.Los Angeles Times, 29 November 2007, p. A23This article was republished in The

Bush in perspective

The Lowy Institute is delighted to host a roundtable today with Dr Steven Casey of the London School of Economics, an emerging star in US diplomatic history, on 'The Bush presidency in historical perspective'. Today's Sydney Morning Herald contains an op-ed based on his remarks and the

When the admiral talks you better listen to him

The Financial Times has a couple of reports today in which Admiral William Fallon, the new head of US Central Command, plays down the prospect of a US strike against Iran’s nuclear program. In the first article (you need a free subscription to view), Admiral Fallon says that while the program

Slouching towards greatness

Walter Russell Mead has a charming and insightful article on American foreign policy in the 22 October edition of The New Republic. Mead compares the US to the cartoon character Mr Magoo, wandering ‘nearsightedly but relatively unscathed past one hazard after another’. ‘For two

Roosevelt lessons for future presidents

In an opinion piece in the Financial Times on 8 November 2007, Dr Michael Fullilove marks the 75th anniversary of Franklin D. Roosevelt's victory over Herbert Hoover by suggesting some lessons the White House could learn from FDR's presidency. Financial Times, 8 November 2007, p. 11

FDR and GWB compared

Today is the 75th anniversary of the election of Franklin D. Roosevelt to the White House. The Financial Times has marked the anniversary by publishing an op-ed of mine (you must subscribe to view, but it's free) which contains some thoughts on the strengths that FDR brought to his conduct of US

Making more of the US alliance

Dr Michael Fullilove published an op-ed in The Australian Financial Review on 29 October on the topic of John Howard's claim that a re-elected Coalition Government would be well placed to persuade the Bush Administration of the need for binding carbon emissions targets. Dr Fullilove argued that the

The Australia-US alliance

The Lowy Institute Voters' Guide to International Policy addresses the sort of questions we should be putting to our political leaders.Section 7 of the Guide, 'The Australia-US Alliance', by Dr Michael Fullilove, Program Director Global Issues, is available here

Still looking to America: Labor and the US alliance

On 9 August 2007, Dr Michael Fullilove delivered the John Curtin Prime Ministerial Library Visiting Scholar's Public Lecture for 2007 at Curtin University. The lecture, entitled 'Still looking to America: Labor and the US alliance', is available here in the Lowy Institute's Perspectives series

Alliance would get a fresh coat of paint under Rudd

In an opinion piece in the Sydney Morning Herald, Dr Michael Fullilove, Program Director, Gobal Issues, examines how the US alliance would look under a Labor government.This op-ed is an extract from Dr Fullilove's John Curtin Prime Ministerial Library Visiting Scholar's Public Lecture for 2007.

Give the Poodle a chance at peace

In an opinion piece in the Sydney Morning Herald, Dr Michael Fullilove argued that Tony Blair's mission to the Middle East as the Quartet's special envoy should not be judged prematurely.This opinion piece was previously published in the Financial Times on 13 July 2007

Blair Mideast mission is more than just vanity

In an opinion piece in the Financial Times, Dr Michael Fullilove argued that Tony Blair's appointment as the Quartet's special envoy to the Middle East was not as soft-headed as most pundits have decided.This opinion piece was later republished in the Sydney Morning Herald on 18 July 2007. Financial

Iraq and its consequences

On Friday 29 June, the Lowy Institute for International Policy explored the longer term implications of the Iraq war in a conference entitle 'What lies ahead? The Iraq war and international politics'. The conference featured two leading American commentators, William Kristol, editor of the Weekly

Chinese love triangle

In an article in the online magazine Slate, Dr Michael Fullilove describes the development of trilateral configurations in the strategic composition of the Asia Pacific region.Slate, 22 May 2007,

Costanza Doctrine Q&A

Dr Michael Fullilove participated in an online Q&A session on his Financial Times op-ed on the Costanza Doctrine. Readers' questions and Dr Fullilove's answers are available at or can be downloaded here.The original opinion piece was published on 29 March 2007

The one about two Georges

In this opinion piece, Michael Fullilove writes that America's Iraq policy has no global precedent, but that we can find one in the world of comedy.The Age, 5 April 2007, p. 11

Seinfeld and the Iraq war

Dr Michael Fullilove published an op-ed in The Financial Times on 30 March 2007 arguing that only Seinfeld can fully explain the US's invasion of Iraq. The article is available below. Dr Fullilove also participated in an online Q&A session on Readers' questions and Dr Fullilove's answers

Another accountability moment

In this opinion piece, which appeared in The Australian on Monday 12 March 2007, Dr Michael Fullilove argues that unlike their more scrupulous American counterparts, Australian supporters of the Iraq war have not held themselves to account.The Australian, 12 March 2007, p. 8

UN bashing

Dr Michael Fullilove reviews a new book on the UN and Iraq in the March 2007 edition of the Australian Book Review. The book in question is David M. Malone, The International Struggle over Iraq: Politics in the UN Security Council 1980-2005 (OUP, 2006).Australian Book Review, No. 289, March 2007

Heavy artillery trained on PM

Dr Michael Fullilove comments on the disagreement between Prime Minister John Howard and Senator Barack Obama in this op-ed in The Australian Financial Review on 13 February 2007. Dr Fullilove argues there are two troubling developments. First, the tenor of the Prime Minister's intervention will