Saturday 16 Feb 2019 | 13:03 | SYDNEY
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Australia in the World

The two Americas at COP23

Before his fall from grace, former Democratic vice-presidential candidate John Edwards used to talk about 'the two Americas' to describe the gap between the poor and the wealthy. But the phrase earned an afterlife, not least to describe the philosophical chasm between the coastal areas that

A true blue Facebook nation anxious about cyberspace

Australia’s relationship with cyberspace has never been so intense and so intimate. A staggering 93% of us are on the internet every day and the amount of time we spend online is tremendous: an average of five hours via our computers and another hour and-a-half on our mobile.&

Time to fast-forward the Future Submarine

Australia’s future submarine program has attracted fewer headlines since the Government decided on the French Shortfin Barracuda design last year. But it was heavily criticised in a recent Insight Economics report, and on the receiving end of some speculative depth charges in a strange, testy

Is there a model Human Rights Council member?

Australia was not the only country to waltz onto the UN Human Rights Council last week with only cursory scrutiny of its human rights record. In fact, most of the Council’s current and incoming members have failed in some way to live up to the 'highest standards in the promotion and protection

Canberra conversations, with Gareth Evans

This is Episode Three of Canberra Conversations, an occasional podcast series on The Interpreter where I talk with some of the big names from the foreign policy and national security worlds in Australia's capital. In episode one I talked with Mike Pezzullo, Secretary of the Department of

Australia’s navy needs to mind the missile gap

David Axe’s recent War is Boring article on China’s new Type 055-class cruiser focused on its bristling load of vertical-launch missile cells. The Type-055 carries 112 cells (not 122, as Axe states), which almost matches the US Navy’s Ticonderoga-class cruisers and exceeds the 96 launchers on

Australia must criticise US withdrawal from UNESCO

The US has taken another step back from multilateralism with its announcement on Thursday that it will withdraw from the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), the world’s leading organisation for the promotion of global education, scientific advancement and democratic

Australia’s oddly absent Belt and Road Strategy

In a recent speech at the University of Adelaide's Confucius Institute, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Secretary Frances Adamson tackled the controversial issue of Chinese students in Australia. Her comments were both shrewd and part of a larger pattern of Australian government policy

Australia’s One-China Policy and why it matters

Australia is in the midst of a vociferous debate over China. Reporting and commentary on Chinese Party-state sway over Australia's public and political institutions has been met by a strong pushback by those who emphasise the opportunities presented by China's influence. The

A modest proposal for Australian engagement in North Korea

I have a modest proposal to make for Australia to directly engage with North Korea. Australia maintains diplomatic relations with North Korea, but has no representation in Pyongyang. Instead, Australia's embassy in Seoul is cross-accredited, a common arrangement among countries that lack an

No, China is not being demonised

It’s difficult to see any future for Australia that does not involve China in a big way, whether it is in trade, services, investment, regional security, cultural exchange, and migration. It follows that ensuring a secure and prosperous future for Australia means getting the relationship with

Anti-migration sentiment the chief threat to openness

In Choosing Openness Andrew Leigh makes a robust, refreshed case for free trade and investment. Both are important sources of the acceleration of global output growth over the last two decades, and of Australia’s long economic expansion since 1991. But while the case for relatively free investment

A regional focus on cyber security

The digital revolution is fundamentally a story of prosperity, of growth through disruptive business models, the opening of new markets, and of sustainable and inclusive development enabled by digital technologies. But these benefits are not guaranteed. We must work collectively – domestically,

Ballistic missile defence: New options for Australia

Kim Jong-un has set North Korea on the path to establishing a nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile capability. We don’t know how much further the international community will push, and how the North Koreans will respond. But Kim Jong-un’s actions remind us that state-on-state

The Australia-Japan relationship: Worthy of more reflection

Australia’s ties with Japan constitute one of the world’s most well-rounded bilateral relationships. The past decade alone has witnessed the achievement of several major milestones. Of particular significance has been the landmark Joint Defence and Security Cooperation (JDSC) agreement in 2007

Resisting China’s magic weapon

In the classic Cold War-era film Invasion of the Body Snatchers, aliens quietly invade earth by replicating the bodies of each human being they encounter. The resulting 'pod people' take on the physical characteristics, memories, and personalities of the humans they replace. In its day, the film was

Alfred Deakin and the roots of Australian foreign policy

Judith Brett has just published a new biography of Alfred Deakin, 'The Enigmatic Mr Deakin'. The fault line in Australia’s relations with Great Britain did not fracture until World War II when John Curtin confronted Churchill over the diversion of the 7th Division of the Australian Imperial

Using economic diplomacy to reduce financial risks in Asia

If Australia’s economic future lies in Asia, then managing the risk of financial crises in the region should be a top concern. Especially as any crisis could also have significant geopolitical consequences. In an analysis for the Lowy Institute, Barry Sterland looks at what Australia can do

Staying competitive in a global economy

This is the second in a three-part series on the future of world trade from a global (part 1), Asia Pacific (part 2) and Australian (part 3) perspective. The toughest message free marketeers have to get across is that encouraging others to open markets is not as important ensuring our economy is

A test for Australia in Marawi

The continuing conflict in the southern Philippines has engaged Australia's regional counter-terrorism interests like never before. Few predicted that the siege of Marawi, now entering its fourth month, would be so intractable or so effectively galvanise existing terrorist and insurgency groups.

Canberra conversations, with Frances Adamson

This is Episode Two of Canberra Conversations, an occasional podcast series on The Interpreter where I talk with some of the big names from the foreign policy and national security worlds in Australia's capital. In Episode One, I spoke with Mike Pezzullo, Secretary of the Department of Immigration

Digital diplomacy’s downsides

It was only a few years ago that e-diplomacy was being heralded as an unalloyed force for good. This 21st Century form of statecraft would bring transparency and openness to the closeted world of international affairs. Governments that colonised the internet would come to enjoy a strategic edge,

The future for US Marines in Darwin

This article is the second in a two-part series. Part one focused on the Exercise Crocodile Strike. Part two reflects on the future of the Marine rotational force. The Top End’s monsoonal weather pattern is the major reason why US Marine Rotational Force-Darwin (MRF-D) is currently limited to

Observing Crocodile Strike

This article is the first in a two-part series on Exercise Crocodile Strike. Last week I was given privileged access by Australia’s Department of Defence to join a small group of regional military observers (from Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and Japan) on Exercise Crocodile Strike, a joint drill

Islamic State is changing the face of terrorism

If thwarted terrorist plots are anything to go by, then Australia surely does live up to its reputation as the lucky country. In the past month there were two narrowly missed major attacks that were part of the same conspiracy against Australian aviation. The latest plot was the thirteenth

Recognising women’s roles in countering violent extremism

Acts of violent extremism, such as the attacks in Barcelona earlier this month, are becoming a routine feature of the global security landscape. Such threats require little in the way of military infrastructure but are instead reliant upon a social capacity to fatally persuade individuals – often

Should war require parliamentary approval?

In light of US President Donald Trump's erratic attempts to intimidate North Korea, several prominent voices have argued that Australia's parliament should be granted control over any decision to go to war. I think that would be a mistake, though not for the reason you might think. Former

Paranoia on Aotearoa

Almost 20 years ago to the day, then-Foreign Minister Alexander Downer addressed the University of Auckland on Australia-New Zealand relations: First and foremost, the Australia-New Zealand relationship is a partnership of equals. We do not offer each other unsolicited or patronising advice on how

Australia and Korea’s wars: A debate worth revisiting

Tensions have temporarily abated on the Korean Peninsula, following the latest blustery exchanges between Washington and Pyongyang. In typically mercurial fashion, after threatening 'fire and fury', President Donald Trump has now praised Kim Jong-un’s 'decision' not to launch missiles at Guam as '

Death of a Lebanese terrorist

They say that the wheels of justice turn slowly, but they do turn. And if the reports of the death of the terrorist Khalid Sharrouf are confirmed, then it meant that he died as a Lebanese, rather than Australian citizen (he was stripped of his Australian citizenship early this year). This doesn’t

Australia and Korea’s wars

In light of recent discussion about Australia's responsibilities under the Korean Armistice Agreement, we are republishing this post that first appeared on 29 November, 2010. In 1985, I published a paper entitled 'Australia and the Republic of Korea: Still Allies or Just Good Friends'. I had not

Rhetorical arthritis won’t sell an Australian republic

By putting the creation of an Australian republic back onto the political agenda, Labor leader Bill Shorten has once more brought to the fore the connection between the nation’s constitutional status, its identity, and its place in the world. But perhaps the most surprising aspect of Shorten’s

Marriage equality fiasco damages Brand Australia

Often it is the glaring contradictions of Australian life that catch the international eye. The successfully multi-cultural country with one of the most punitive approaches to asylum seekers of any western country. The sun-dried continent where climate change scepticism remains a mainstream

Australia and ASEAN: The next 50 years

Australia's future, and our future prosperity, are inevitably in Asia.   Julia Gillard pointed to this in 2012 when she launched the ‘Australia in the Asian Century’ White Paper, saying 'whatever else this century brings, it will bring Asia's return to global leadership, Asia’s rise.

The Trump/Turnbull transcript: The PM’s parting gift

So mesmerised have Australian commentators become with the Trump/Turnbull telephone conversation from late January that the leaking last week of the verbatim transcript was always going to breathe new life into the episode. Some journalists even appear to be the modern day equivalent of the Roman

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