Sunday 20 Oct 2019 | 20:14 | SYDNEY
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Asia

Egypt: Coup de-fault

Overnight in Egypt the military suspended the country's constitution and removed President Mohammed Morsi from power, following massive popular protests. It is clearly a coup, even if the military has, I suspect, mounted it reluctantly: on the one hand not wanting to run the country again, on the

John Garnaut on being a foreign correspondent

Three days after John Garnaut, Fairfax Media's award winning China correspondent, left Beijing, I was fortunate enough to catch up with him before he gave a keynote address to the Lowy Institute's New Voices conference. John describes the momentous changes he witnessed on both a professional

Australia's South China Sea chance

All those countries (including Australia) that so solemnly call for a 'rules-based order' in Indo-Pacific Asia have a chance today to show they mean it. At a major gathering in Brunei, the annual ASEAN Regional Forum, Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr and his counterparts have an opportunity to

What to do about climate migration

Professor Jane McAdam is a member of the Consultative Committee of the Nansen Initiative and the author of Climate Change, Forced Migration, and International Law.  Last month, the Norwegian Refugee Council released a report revealing that 32.4 million people were forced to flee their homes in

Has Gen Y really gone off democracy?

In Kevin Rudd's victory speech last night, he went out of his way to address young Australians: Mr Rudd said many young people had not liked or respected much of what they had seen. "As I rock around the place talking to kids, they see it as huge national turn-off," he said. "I understand

Hugh White's Middle East doesn't exist

I really enjoy reading Hugh White's work on regional security, but as a Middle East analyst, he makes a good China pundit. While I agree with Hugh that these are troubled times, the Middle East is hardly in the process of disintegrating. Hugh's view that modern state structures are collapsing

Warming up to Indonesia

Most of us Indonesia groupies have long been nonplussed at how Australians are so luke-warm (and so ill-informed) about Indonesia, as confirmed by the latest Lowy poll. I agree with Dave McRae that we need more person-to-person links. But there are already quite a few. What about all those

Syria: West takes sides in sectarian war

In 1968 a US Army major said of the attack on Ben Tre that 'It became necessary to destroy the town to save it'. Whatever the accuracy of the quote, it summed up well the popular perception that the US in Vietnam had lost sight of the value of human life, and thought only in terms of short-term

Why don't Australians trust Indonesia?

This year's Lowy Institute poll reveals Australians' lack knowledge of Indonesia and a pronounced mistrust of our northern neighbour. Only 33% of Australians agree that Indonesia is a democracy, fifteen years and three rounds of democratic elections after the fall of Suharto's authoritarian regime.

Somaliland: Where sovereignty means something

Sarah Phillips, a Senior Lecturer at Sydney University, is in Somaliland conducting research. She is grateful to the Developmental Leadership Program for funding. All photos by Sarah. Even as a political scientist, sovereignty is not something that captures a lot of my attention in the course of a

Trailer: The Impossible Image

Above, some footage from a new documentary called The Impossible Image, interspersed with commentary from photographer Richard Mosse, who took the unusual step of traveling to the Democratic Republic of Congo to photograph the civil war on infrared film. I loved this quote from Mosse: Of

Syria: It's the ground war, stupid

The Syrian civil war is a land battle. Comparisons with Libya and talk of no-fly zones (NFZ) as some kind of low-risk game changer ignore this fact. As the US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff noted recently, 90% of the casualties inflicted by the regime (and 100% of those killed by the

NZ-China: Is integration becoming dependence?

Katherine Ellena is a Research Associate with the US Naval Postgraduate School and a former New Zealand diplomat. The views expressed here are hers alone. Two milestones occurred in New Zealand in the last two months with little fanfare, but with interesting implications. Firstly, in April, China

Indonesia's police: The problem of deadly force

Jim Della-Giacoma is the Asia Program Director for International Crisis Group. My four year-old daughter recently came home from her Jakarta kindergarten with a story about a visit to the school from the head of our local police station. 'If there is a robber and he's running away, the policeman

Afghanistan's women: Patchy gains under threat

Susanne Schmeidl is co-founder of the Afghan NGO, The Liaison Office. In 2009 Afghan President Hamid Karzai enacted, by presidential decree, a law on the Elimination of Violence Against Women (EVAW). The law, which provided broad protections for for women and girls from a range of violent actions

Rouhani: The style/substance divide

Hassan Rouhani's first-round success in the Iranian elections has sent an strong message to the regime. On the face of it, the process went well. Having ensured that the list of candidates was not going to offer any existential threat to the system, Ayatollah Khamenei needed to ensure that this

Reader riposte: Why tax Aussies abroad?

Paul Harper from Phnom Penh writes: Further to Janet Magnin's comments and Nick Alexander's article Taxing Australians Abroad, it is unclear to me what services I am receiving from the Australian Government. I pay for my own medical and evacuation services. The only consular service I have used

Nauruan democracy works in a Nauruan way

Cait Storr is a lawyer, writer and academic at University of Melbourne researching Nauru and other Pacific small island states. On Saturday 8 June, Nauru held a peaceful, indeed almost cheerful, election. Votes were cast and counted and 19 members elected to form the 21st parliament of the

China's agenda in Switzerland (and Europe)

Dr Daniel Woker is the former Swiss Ambassador to Australia and now a Senior Lecturer at the University of St Gallen. For his first trip abroad as Chinese premier last month, Li Keqiang went to India and Pakistan and then continued to Switzerland and Germany before heading back home. Germany

Is China already a responsible economic stakeholder?

The meeting between Presidents Obama and Xi in Palm Springs over the weekend presented another opportunity to berate China for its international economic imbalances, but the two presidents sensibly found more fruitful things to talk about. It's getting harder to find fault in China's interaction

Reader riposte: China-US surprises

Cecelia O'Brien responds to last Friday's Defence in Depth video: When I was a young grad student I had a professor who told us that if we had ten data sets and nine of those sets all had the same result, we should then devote our utmost attention to the one data set that did not get the same

Obama-Xi: Good tone, but challenges ahead

Michael Green served on the US National Security Council staff from 2001-2005 and is now Senior Vice President for Asia at CSIS and a non-resident fellow at the Lowy Institute. The pundits gave a variety of bad advice to President Obama going into the Sunnylands Summit with Xi Jinping. One

Obama-Xi: Not too hot, not too cold

Many readers know the lines from the 19th century fable about Goldilocks and the three bears: 'not too hot, not too cold, just right.' Those lines come to mind when reading the mostly positive initial reports of the informal summit between presidents Obama and Xi. These two leaders needed to get

Iran: Presidential election preview

Dina Esfandiary is an Iran specialist and a Research Associate in the Non-proliferation and Disarmament programme at the International Institute for Strategic Studies. Next Friday Iran will hold its presidential election. Since 21 May, eight pre-approved candidates have been battling it out to

Why has China's president forsaken protocol?

Much has been made of the fact that the Chinese and American presidents are meeting in informal surroundings on Friday at the Sunnylands retreat, the former estate of Walter Annenberg in Rancho Mirage, California. Protocol will be kept to a minimum and the presidents will meet in short-sleeved

Self-reliance: Mere lip service to a bygone notion?

Jack Georgieff is the 2013 Thawley Research Scholar in International Security at the Lowy Institute and the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington DC. The notion of 'self-reliance' that lies at the heart of Australian defence strategy is woefully under-analysed in our national

Reader riposte: US surveillance in China's EEZ

Mark Valencia responds to Is China 'Reciprocating' US Maritime Surveillance?: I usually enjoy Rory Medcalf’s iconoclastic analyses. But this one – unless it is tongue in cheek — is quite misleading and full of wishful thinking. Of course China resents US 'surveillance' in its EEZ because

Burma: Conspiracies and other theories

Andrew Selth is a Research Fellow at the Griffith Asia Institute. There is something about Burma which seems to encourage conspiracy theories. Not only does it create them in abundance, but they tend to be picked up by the international news media and given wide circulation. This in turn gives

The rebalance and the sequester

US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel was in full reassurance mode at the Shangri-La Dialogue over the weekend. Not so US congressman Randy Forbes in an interview on the rebalance to the Asia Pacific yesterday. Forbes is the vocal Seapower and Projection Forces Chair of the House Armed Services

A few poorly organized men

This is the full pre-print text of 'A few poorly organized men: interreligious violence in Poso, Indonesia' by Dave McRae, published by Brill in May 2013. The hardcopy of the book is available via www.brill.com/few-poorly-organized-men A brief description of the book appears below

Self-determination on Pacific agenda

Nic Maclellan is co-author of La France dans le Pacifique and After Moruroa: France in the South Pacific. Denise Fisher's post on the re-inscription of French Polynesia on the UN list of non-self-governing territories underplays efforts by French diplomats to scuttle the resolution at the UN

Advice to McCain on Syria: Trust no one

It sounded so perfect. The hawkish Republican war hero John McCain visiting rebel-held Syrian territory to show the locals that not all US politicians are lily-livered liberals who have doubts about arming the Syrian freedom fighters. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee, of which McCain is a

The China presence at Shangri-La

The Shangri-La Dialogue wrapped up yesterday with an underwhelming speech from PLA Deputy Chief of General Staff, Lieutenant General Qi Jianguo. Or at least, so I thought. Yoichi Kato, national security correspondent for one of Japan's biggest daily newspapers, Asahi Shimbun, heard something else,

Shangri-La missile defence

As Rory Medcalf said yesterday, often the most memorable things to come out of big events like the Shangri-La Dialogue are from the working groups rather than the big set-piece speeches. That was true not only of Rory's session on incidents at sea, but the one I attended yesterday on ballistic

Is China 'reciprocating' US maritime surveillance?

The best stories from the Shangri-la Dialogue, Asia's leading informal defence gathering, do not come from the public utterances of high-profile figures like Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel. Indeed, the most extraordinary thing I heard at the first full day of this year's dialogue here in Singapore

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