Sunday 20 Oct 2019 | 19:29 | SYDNEY
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Asia

Why Bob Carr's book matters

It was all a trick. A simple scam played on a clueless tabloid media to sell more books. And didn't they oblige! As soon as Bob Carr's Diary of a Foreign Minister hit the shelves, they searched the book for scandal, and found a man apparently addicted to perks and privilege. The Daily Telegraph

Singapore: Asian bellwether or outlier?

Six years after leaving a diplomatic posting in Singapore for Australia and two years after returning from the Asia Pacific to Europe for good, a trip through Malaysia with an extended stay in Singapore confirms old answers but also raises new ones, in line with democratic, economic and social

Australia all in with the Joint Strike Fighter

'Together with the Super Hornet and Growler electronic warfare aircraft, the F-35 aircraft will ensure Australia maintains a regional air combat edge', Prime Minister Abbott said today when he announced Australia would spend A$12 billion on 58 additional F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (14 are already on

Inequality in Hong Kong: The divorce factor

Hong Kong is famously unequal. The measured Gini coefficient is among the world's highest. It is praised for 'economic freedom' yet also criticised for 'crony capitalism.'  It's well known in political science that, worldwide, folks care less about wealth inequality per se than lack of opportunity

Mearsheimer's big question: Can China rise peacefully?

The University of Chicago's famed international relations theorist John Mearsheimer has generously updated, and posted free of charge, the epilogue to his legendary realist book The Tragedy of Great Power Politics. The original book, published in 2001, is frankly hard reading for any young IR or

US pivot is faltering, which might be a good thing

By Geoff Miller, former Australian Ambassador to Japan (1986-89) and former Director-General of the Office of National Assessments (1989-95). In their Interpreter article of 27 March, Bates Gill and Tom Switzer respond to questioning of the durability of the US 'pivot' (or 're-balance') towards the

India links: Election special

Voting for India's Lok Sabha (lower house) elections kicked off on Monday. In place of my regular India Links, here is the best election-related reading of the week: The Economist published a strongly worded editorial last week, which stated that 'this newspaper cannot bring itself to back Mr Modi

Peaceful election day in Jakarta

In Indonesia, about 180 million eligible voters were welcomed to the polls today to elect representatives in the district, provincial and national legislatures. Polling booths were housed in schools, community centres and on residential streets. In South Jakarta, police and military personnel were

Abbott goes to Asia: The security dimension

Prime Minister Abbott poses with the leaders of the Chinese, Japanese and South Korean military efforts searching for MH370 at RAAF Base Pearce. Tony Abbott is about to depart on the most important international visit of his prime ministership thus far. Over the next week he will visit Japan,

Three reasons why North Korea continues to provoke

Yesterday North Korea conducted artillery exercises in the Yellow Sea (West Sea). Approximately one hundred rounds feel across the border, prompting the South to counter-fire and scramble F-15s to the area (here is a useful write-up of the incident). South Korean residents of local islands were

Abbott sees a more liberal China ahead

Well, all glory is indeed fleeting. Having just given The Interpreter a pat on the back for our Asia coverage, I'm embarrassed to admit that we are late to Prime Minister Abbott's Asia Society speech, delivered on Tuesday to set the scene for his early-April Asia trip. The speech is trade

Anti-piracy effort marks China's rise as global power

Here's a major piece of research from the US Naval War College about China's participation in Gulf of Aden anti-piracy operations over the last four-plus years. It's from November last year but very much still worth flagging. It's incredibly thorough, covering everything from operational lessons to

Xi Jinping consolidates his control of PLA

Chinese President Xi Jinping's consolidation of power in military affairs has picked up over the past week. On Saturday state media reported that Xi is to lead a group in charge of deepening military reform. Xi already heads up similar bodies on economic reform and runs the newly established

Is India 'losing' the Bay of Bengal?

Is the Bay of Bengal the next strategic locus for Sino-Indian strategic competition? Prominent strategic commentator Raja Mohan recently lamented that India was on the point of 'losing' the Bay of Bengal to China. The occasion of his complaint was the attendance by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan

It's not size or ambition holding Australia back

Stephen Grenville has provided an instant answer to Michael Fullilove's recent quest for a larger Australia: the addition of close neighbour New Zealand. This is annexation season further afield, but I am confident the Crimea option is not what Grenville has in mind. Instead, his argument

General Hurley previews the Defence White Paper

Twenty months ago the Chief of the Defence Force delivered a speech at the Lowy Institute outlining how he thought the 2013 White Paper would be developed. Today at the University of Canberra's National Security Institute, the CDF again gave a speech foregrounding a Defence White Paper. But this

Australia-Indonesia relations: It's always personal

The men and women who operate the levers of power in Indonesia know us far better than we know them.  President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's Cabinet contains several members with tertiary degrees earned by living and studying in Australia. Among the President's trusted advisers are men who studied

Incompetence: Australia's incursions into Indonesian waters

The Joint Review of the incursions by Australian vessels into Indonesian waters conducted by the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (ACBPS) and the Australian Defence Force (ADF) released last week reveals that the incursions were a consequence of a failure to appreciate the extent

US position hardens on China's nine-dashed line

In January 2013, senior US Navy intelligence officer Captain James Fanell described China's maritime strategy and ambitions as 'hegemonic' and aggressive, and said China 'bullies adversaries'. This unusually blunt assessment made news around the world. Sam Roggeveen, who broke the story for The

US defence budget: Hagel cuts won't be the last

Those of you who read Mike Green's post this morning and who have followed the coverage of US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel's budget bid will understand that this is not the last word on the US defence budget. Congress will try to fight some of the cuts, the sequester may impose further cuts, and as

Burma: A critical look at those chemical weapons claims

Since the 1988 pro-democracy uprising, strategic analysts monitoring developments in Burma (Myanmar) have been on quite a roller-coaster ride, particularly with regard to weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Over the past 25 years, both the former military regime and President Thein Sein's reformist

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