Monday 11 Oct 2021 | 02:31 | SYDNEY
People | experts Rory Medcalf
Nonresident Fellow
Lowy Institute
Areas of ExpertiseAsia-Pacific/Indo-Pacific strategic order; India and the Indian Ocean; maritime security; nuclear arms control

A nuclear weapon-free world? Prospects for Obama nuclear agenda

In this lecture under the Lowy Institute's Canberra Food for Thought series, leading nuclear expert Professor Scott Sagan of Stanford University weighs up the achievements and the challenges ahead for the Obama nuclear agenda. This event, moderated by the Lowy Institute's Rory Medcalf, was supported

After Fukushima: Nuclear power without proliferation?

There were high expectations for the growth of nuclear power in the years leading up to the Fukushima nuclear accident on 11 March 2011, as concerns about energy security and climate change prompted governments to reconsider their energy options. But the expansion of nuclear power has posed serious

Buildup Down Under

In this article for Foreign, the Lowy Institute’s Rory Medcalf outlines the Asia-Pacific strategic vision behind Obama’s historic 2011 speech in Canberra – but also suggests that more could have been done to prepare most Australians for such a declaration.The article can

Obama in Australia: Could do better

So Obama has left his mark on the Australia-US alliance: a whirlwind visit, an historic speech on Asia strategy, an important shift towards US military access, and a genuine message of thanks and support for Australia\'s men and women in uniform. But as a major public diplomacy opportunity to

Our chance to align with the US pivot point

In this opinion piece in The Australian, the Lowy Institute's Rory Medcalf argues that Australia has an opportunity to work closely with the United States as it makes a three-fold strategic pivot: from the Middle East to Asia, from an Asia-Pacific to an Indo-Pacific concept, and towards more

Uranium U-turn welcome, overdue

What a week in Australian foreign policy. Two days before President Obama\'s visit, which will likely mark a pivot to a truly Indo-Pacific strategic vision by Washington and Canberra, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has publicly declared her support for safeguarded uranium exports

The diplomatic tweet

In his latest column in the journal American Review, the Lowy Institute’s Rory Medcalf argues that diplomats, spies, journalists and analysts who shun social media are at risk of becoming the blacksmiths of the information age: quaint, heavy-handed and unviable. His column can be accessed here

China and India: Beyond competitive coexistence

Rory Medcalf, the Director of the Lowy Institute’s International Security Program, recently gave public lectures in Washington DC and in Melbourne on China-India relations and the risks of strategic competition between Asia’s rising giants. His Washington talk, at the Carnegie Endowment for

AIIA President’s Forum: Australia and India in 2020

At the 2011 President’s Forum of the Australian Institute for International Affairs, the Lowy Institute’s Rory Medcalf spoke of the promise and prospects for Australia-India relations for the next generation. A video of his presentation can be accessed here

Inaugural India-China Workshop

On 17 and 18 October 2011, the Lowy Institute hosted the inaugural India-China Workshop, an informal dialogue bringing together Australian, Indian, Chinese and Singaporean experts. At the public concluding event, a new Lowy Institute Analysis, 'The Dangers of Denial', on the nuclear dimension of

The dangers of denial: nuclear weapons in China-India relations

Is a dangerous nuclear competition emerging between the two most populous nations? In this Lowy Institute Analysis, Fiona Cunningham and Rory Medcalf warn of nuclear dangers as China and India rise. The authors call for a strategic stability dialogue embedded in mutual respect, to ensure possible

Australia Asia strategy emerges

Does Australia have a strategy for dealing with the new Asia, especially the rise of China and India? This question is central to the Australian Government\'s recently-announced Asia policy review. Either we have a plan, in which the case the review can test, inform and refine it, or we don\'t

Taiwan arms: Less rancour this time

It is refreshing to encounter some mildly positive news on US-China security relations. After a long cycle of pessimism about prospects for improved trust and dialogue between the two powers, it appears Washington and Beijing are quietly coordinating to ensure that the latest

China and India: What is rivalry?

It is becoming popular to use the word \'rivalry\' when describing relations between China and India. Recent spats between the two powers over Indian oil exploration and an alleged maritime encounter in the South China Sea certainly highlight the potential for dangerous clashes of interests

Australia-India Roundtable: Advancing Australia-India relations: Public panel

At the conclusion of the Australia-India Roundtable held at the Lowy Institute on 19-20 September 2011, four key participants - Ambassador Shyam Saran and Ambassador Ric Smith AO PSM as well as conveners Rory Medcalf and Navdeep Suri - discussed key ideas emerging from the dialogue. The Roundtable

Time to forge a partnership for the Asian Century

In this op-ed in The Australian, the Lowy Institute’s Rory Medcalf, convener of the Australia-India Roundtable, teams with leading Indian foreign policy commentator Raja Mohan to propose a way forward in Australia-India relations. Australia should sell uranium to India and India needs to get

AUSMIN puts icing on the alliance cake

The big annual AUSMIN meeting, where Australia\'s defence and foreign ministers get together with their US counterparts, has just concluded in San Francisco. This year\'s talks marked the 60th anniversary of the Australia-US alliance, and the communiqué is rich birthday fare. The

Grand stakes: Australia’s future between China and India

Canberra is seeking an Indo-Pacific strategy for an era of Chinese, Indian and sustained American power. The contours of such a strategy were assessed by Rory Medcalf, in his contribution to the 2011-12 edition of the authoritative Strategic Asia series of books. His chapter provides the first

Does India need nuclear asymmetry?

Incisive reporting from the Financial Times (subscription required) on India\'s growing concerns about the military difficulties posed by a rising China. This follows reports last week of an extraordinary challenge by Chinese forces to an Indian navy ship in the South China Sea, just after its visit

Advance Column: Turning to twitter

In his regular column in the August 2011 edition of the journal American Review, the Lowy Institute’s Rory Medcalf examines the value of twitter for foreign policy think tanks and journalists.The article can be accessed here:

Watching the Soviet coup from Brisbane

This week marks the 20th anniversary of the military coup that was meant to preserve the Soviet Union but instead ensured its demise. Gorbachev\'s recollections make for fascinating reading, but for me these events had an oddly personal meaning beyond their geopolitical significance. That

10 things foreign policy wonks can learn from Game of Thrones

The HBO TV series Game of Thrones is an international phenomenon. Described as \'The Sopranos in Middle-Earth\', it makes medieval fantasy respectable for grown-ups. It is also strangely educational. Foreign and security policy wonks, along with diplomats, spooks and soldiers, could all

Indian students: New data clears air

So at last we have hard data to test the claim that many Indian students in Australia have been the victims of racially-motivated crime. And the picture turns out to be much more complicated than the racist caricature presented in hyper-competitive, hyper-sensationalist parts of the Indian media.&

Malcolm Fraser baffling China speech

Geopolitics wasn\'t meant to be easy. But former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser does himself, China and sensible strategic analysis a triple disservice in this recent Asia policy speech at the Australian National University. The short version — an equally ill-structured blog post 

In Bali, ARF must bite as well as bark

It\'s rare that an institution with as dull a title or vague a mandate as the Association of South-East Asian Nations Regional Forum makes headline news. But tomorrow\'s meeting of the ARF in Bali is likely to do just that. It will be a critical test of Asia\'s ability to manage maritime security

How to avoid crisis and find trust in the South China Sea

In this article for China-US Focus, the Lowy Institute's Rory Medcalf assesses the outcomes from the July 2011 visit to China by US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mullen. He concludes that the confidence-building measures from that visit fall short of what is needed to prevent

US-China military relations still tense

Behind the handshakes and formalities, military relations between the US and China remain strained. Of course it\'s good to see the US-China defence dialogue occurring once more, after Beijing suspend it for most of 2011. But there is little hint of a meeting of minds or worldviews in the visit to

Right arguments, wrong ocean?

In this book review roundtable for the journal Asia Policy, the Lowy Institute’s Rory Medcalf appraises the core arguments of Red Star over the Pacific, by Toshi Yoshihara and Jonathan R. Holmes. Mr Medcalf focuses on the book’s treatment of China’s Indian Ocean ambitions. 

Asia maritime confidence crisis

In this article for The Diplomat, Raoul Heinrichs and Rory Medcalf explore the causes, risks and consequences of maritime encounters in Indo-Pacific Asia. Based on their recent report, Crisis and Confidence, the piece concludes with a number of recommendations aimed at enhancing stability at sea

All at sea over Beijing brinkmanship

In this commentary article in The Australian, the director of the Lowy Institute’s international security program, Rory Medcalf, warns that China’s assertive actions at sea could end in conflict unless there are renewed efforts at dialogue and practical confidence-building measures. This is

Tomes, tweets and think tanks

In his latest Advance Column in the US Studies Centre journal American Review, Lowy Institute International Security Program Director Rory Medcalf reviews five important new books on Asian security, ranging across Sino-Japanese relations, China's naval ambitions and the challenges facing Indian

Diplomacy, transparency and public opinion

In this article in leading Spanish-language international affairs journal Politica Exterior, Lowy Institute program director Rory Medcalf examines the consequences of the publication of thousands of classified diplomatic cables by WikiLeaks.The original article in Spanish can be accessed at: http://

Weathering change

Can extended nuclear deterrence (END) continue to support international stability and non-proliferation? Should it and can it adapt to a 21st century strategic environment involving new threats, shifting power balances and fresh moves towards disarmament? In Weathering Change, global experts and

West must rethink way it deals with Islamabad

In this op-ed in The Australian, the director of the Lowy Institute’s international security program, Rory Medcalf, argues that the discovery and death of Bin Laden on the doorstep on Pakistan’s military academy raises fundamental questions about Islamabad as an ally against terrorism. It is

When the flag follows trade

In this opinion piece from The Times of India, Indian columnist Ashok Malik and Lowy Institute program director Rory Medcalf argue that the Indian Government needs to coordinate its diplomacy with the expansion of its business interests around the globe. A key step will be to merge the external

The ripples of bin Laden death

The crimes of Osama bin Laden on 11 September 2001 had lasting, devastating strategic impacts. His death in the Pakistani town of Abbottabad will also have ripples across the international security landscape — and not all the effects will be benign. For now, Americans and their friends

India’s new world: civil society in the making of foreign policy

Ashok Malik and Rory Medcalf argue that Indian foreign policy is being shaped increasingly by three dynamic aspects of civil society: business, the Indian diaspora and the aggressive Indian news media. Indian diplomacy needs to adapt to these new realities. And foreign nations need to understand

Wednesday Lunch at Lowy - Rory Medcalf presentation

In recent years, the idea of a looming struggle between China and India has seized the imaginations of prominent strategists and journalists. Here are two rising Asian great powers with rapid economic growth, expanding global interests and modernising militaries

Australia-China defence ties: Beyond the hype

Media coverage has made a big deal of Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard\'s comments on defence ties during her visit to China this week. I am not so sure the reality is all that dramatic. It makes sense for Australia to develop constructive defence engagement with China, as I have long

Gillard diplomatic skills tested during north Asia visit

In this opinion piece in The Sydney Morning Herald, the director of the Lowy Institute’s international security program, Rory Medcalf, analyses the diplomatic minefields that Prime Minister Julia Gillard will need to navigate on her visit to Japan, South Korea and China. Sydney Morning Herald, 23

Between past and future in North Asia

It would be hard to draw a sharper picture of the balancing act Australia faces in North Asia: on Monday, Prime Minister Julia Gillard will commemorate Australians\' sacrifice in a bloody Korean War battle, then fly straight to Beijing, capital of the nation we were fighting against. Every other

Uranium to India: The rethink rethought

The international political consequences of the post-tsunami nuclear crisis in Japan will play out for a long time, but one of the first might well be the early abandonment of the Australian Labor Party's — and thus the Government's — review of its nuclear policies. It has been

The Four Horsemen ride again

Building on their important series of opinion articles that gave momentum to President Obama's nuclear disarmament efforts, America's four senior statesmen — Kissinger, Shultz, Nunn and Perry — have again weighed into the global nuclear debate. Their new joint article

PM faces challenge of deeper alliance

In this op-ed in The Australian, senior Lowy Institute strategic analysts Rory Medcalf and Andrew Shearer argue for an enhanced Australia-US alliance to meet the challenges of the new age of the Indo-Pacific. They note that Julia Gillard’s March 2011 visit to the United States offers an

An alliance for the Indo-Pacific

With Julia Gillard's first visit to Washington as Prime Minister, it is a good time to ask: what might the Australia-US alliance look like in the looming age of the Indo-Pacific' In an opinion piece today in The Australian newspaper, my colleague Andrew Shearer and I offer a few initial thoughts.

Joan Rohlfing on nuclear dangers

Recent achievements in nuclear arms control should not be a basis for complacency: this was one of the messages of Joan Rohlfing, President of the Nuclear Threat Initiative, when she spoke at the Lowy Institute in Sydney today. According to Ms Rohlfing, the risk of terrorists acquiring a nuclear