Monday 20 May 2019 | 21:13 | SYDNEY
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Europe

The EU shouldn’t strike a Turkey-style deal with Libya

Last week, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that EU member states are not obliged to issue humanitarian visas to asylum seekers at their overseas missions. A humanitarian visa would enable a third-country national at risk of torture of inhumane treatment to apply in situ for entry

The Russian Revolution, a century on

A century ago today, Emperor Nicholas II, 'Tsar and Autocrat of all the Russias', pencilled his name to a document renouncing a throne three hundred years in his family's possession, not only for himself but also his son and chronically ill heir, Alexis. The date, according to the old Russian

European defence policy after Trump and Brexit

While international attention, especially from financial markets, is focused on how well nationalist-populist right movements in various EU member states perform in upcoming elections (Marine Le Pen in France, Geertt Wilders in the Netherlands, the Alternative für Deutschland in Germany), more

Marine Le Pen and the spectre of Frexit

National Front leader Marine Le Pen is one of the top contenders in this year's French presidential elections. And a President Le Pen would reconfigure international relations for good. Polls suggest the far-right leader will win the first round of voting on April 23 but lose the decisive run-off

What's behind Russia's missile treaty violation?

Earlier this week the New York Times broke a story that Russia is fielding new cruise missiles in violation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF). This is significant, not because Russia stands accused of violating the Treaty, but rather how and why. The INF Treaty

Merkel's Faustian bargain with Erdogan

Angela Merkel’s visit to Turkey last week was met with wide-ranging scepticism. It was the German Chancellor’s first visit since the failed coup of July 2016, to which President Recep Tayyip Erdogan responded with an uncompromising offensive of suppression and violence. Having obtained the

Why Russia's 'slapping law' is bad news for all of us

Russia is moving to decriminalise domestic violence. Dubbed the 'slapping law', the bill that decriminalises certain acts of domestic violence was introduced by conservative parliamentarian Yelena Mizulina in January. It has now passed its third reading in the lower house, 380 MPs voted in support

French socialists reject centrism, want to dream again

The outcome of the French left's presidential primary vote this week marks an about face for the country's Socialist party. By electing Benoît Hamon as the presidential candidate, French socialists have shown that they want the party to return to core left-wing values and away from the business-

Little joy for Ireland in May's Brexit plan

I am a believer in the EU and I think what we need to do is to rediscover its great moments...What I think is rather sad…was the degree of fear that was in the discourse…It seemed to crowd out… all the things that the people of Europe can achieve together that go far beyond the elimination of

Theresa May’s Brexit cherry-picking is doomed to fail

In her two recent Brexit speeches, one delivered in London to the representatives of the 27 other EU-members and a second delivered two days later at Davos, May insisted that she wants a clean break: an exit from the single market (implicating the four freedoms) and from full membership of the

A grand bargain: What Russia now wants from the West

The election of Donald Trump as president of the United States of America has elicited thousands of lines of newsprint as academics, journalists and the wider public seek to make sense of its implications. It has occasioned no less speculation in Russia, much of it shot through with a strong sense

Western democracy and the crumbling party system

After the election of Donald Trump I argued that populism may not be the right lens through which to view recent political trends in Western democracies ('Is there a global wave of populism?'). Instead what we have seen in the Euro crisis, Brexit, the Trump election and to a lesser extent in

The British left must rediscover its internationalism

When the United Kingdom first applied to join the European Common Market in the 1960s, the great Clement Attlee, former Labour PM, rose in the House of Lords to argue against membership. His objections were made on two bases: The harmful rigidity of a political union with European countries,

Russia's revolutionary centenary

Russians are preparing for a New Year heavy with historical symbolism. A hundred years after their revolution, the French celebrated 1789 as year zero not only of the Republic that had finally emerged as France’s settled form of government, but also of a new, Enlightened era in the history of

EU-Turkey relations: A decade of reversals

After the European parliament’s overwhelming vote to freeze Turkey’s EU accession process, the European Council summit that will get underway later today in Brussels will debate relations between Turkey and the EU. For economic and strategic reasons, both the EU Council and the Turkish

Merkel pays the price for a bold stance on refugees

In the East German city of Dresden upwards of 5000 protesters linked to the anti-Islam PEGIDA (Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West) party march through the streets every Monday. It's a confronting sight for the hundreds of newly migrated Syrians allocated to the city, a

The future according to Vlad and Shinzo

Vladimir Putin’s visit to Japan later this week is not interesting in itself. Rather, it is the strategic environment in which it is happening that holds our attention. Through this visit we can discern what the world’s powers think a Trump administration may mean for them, and see how they

Renzi's referendum and the future of the euro

On Sunday, Italians resoundingly rejected the constitutional changes put to them by Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. Formally, the referendum sought to curtail the powers of the Senate (Italy’s upper house). But despite arguments to the contrary, the real question was: ‘How much pain are you

Can a populist EU survive?

Nationalism is contrary to what the EU is all about: nation states pledging to further coordination and cooperation for the common good based on common heritage and values, preventing the nationalist and authoritarian deviation that has continuously dragged Europe into conflict over the centuries

The ascendancy of François Fillon

Written off until only a week ago, François Fillon has won the nomination of France’s mainstream right-of-centre party Les Républicains in next year’s presidential elections, where it seems likely he will face the Front National’s Marine Le Pen. In all likelihood, Fillon will be the next

Trump: Not the ideal poster-boy for European populists

Sometimes luck can be so timed as to give an impression of genius. So it seemed with Angela Merkel’s announcement last week that she would stand as the German Christian Democrat Chancellor candidate for a fourth time in 2017.  The announcement itself was no surprise: Merkel’s apparent

Trump’s victory seen from Europe

Beyond the notion that 'the elite' (the mainstream media, the 1%, intellectuals, academics, established politicians, whoever) had not grasped the craving for deglobalisation by 'the people', seemingly all assembled in the boundless expanse from the Rust Belt to the Rockies, three main points appear

Trump, Germany and the new European order

Like much of the world, Germans watched the election of Donald Trump with surprise and dismay. It signified the ascent to high office of a man whose values and political methods have shocked even the most conservative of observers, and whose foreign policy positions threaten to unravel a

The real Trump-Putin connection

Among the first (and originally few) world leaders to congratulate Donald Trump on winning the White House was Russian President Vladimir Putin. But was Putin also the first to call it? After months of speculation about Russian meddling, nobody is now saying that Putin 'threw' the election

US-Russia rivalry takes the stage

Recent developments in the US Presidential race should put to rest any lingering doubt that one nation’s information warfare capabilities can fundamentally affect the politics of another. At the third US presidential debate in Las Vegas, Hillary Clinton accused the Russian government of aiding

Don't count on the Russians backing down this time

Happily, Russia and the US seem to have pulled back from some of the bitterness, outrage and disappointment that set the tone between them 10 days ago.  But the stakes in Syria remain incredibly high. There's a real danger that both sides, which had appeared to be on the verge of

Understanding Boris Johnson's call to protest Russia

On Tuesday, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson made an unusual suggestion during his debut appearance at the House of Commons as a representative of the government. 'I would certainly like to see demonstrations outside the Russian embassy', he said, in agreement with a Labour Party MP who had

Russia over a South China Sea barrel

Russia and China have just kicked off a joint naval exercise in the South China Sea, Joint Sea 2016. It is scheduled to last until 19 September, including a visit by the Russian surface contingent to China’s South Sea fleet headquarters at Zhanjiang. This is the latest in a series of Russo-Chinese

Where the Russian intervention in Syria is headed

Russian President Vladimir Putin is well on the way to achieving several objectives of his military intervention in Syria. Russia has ensured the survival of the Assad regime, its only Arab partner, without loss of Russian personnel to the rebels or becoming mired in a ground conflict. In doing so

Iran and Russia: Not an easy relationship

Iran’s relationship with Russia has been characterised as many things, ranging from a ‘marriage of convenience’ to a ‘long-lasting alliance’. In reality it's a  pragmatic working relationship forged between two countries that  have faced similar political and economic pressures

Putin's plan to restore the Romanovs (Part 2)

Part one of this series examined the notion that Putin is encouraging re-Stalinisation in Russia. This post looks at the public rehabilitation of the Romanov Tsar Nicholas II. If there's a Russian leader whose reputation has been unequivocally rehabilitated during the Putin era, it's Nicholas

Putin's plan to restore the Romanovs (Part 1)

When US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Moscow in March, looming over his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin was a statue of Russian Emperor Alexander II (1855-81). Known as the ‘Tsar-Liberator’, Alexander freed the serfs, introduced trial by jury, relaxed press

Few answers to the existential questions posed by Brexit

A week and a half after the vote that shook the world, the list of unanswered questions continues to grow. Will Brexit really happen? Who will take responsibility? Who and what lost Northern England? Has unbridled populism won or has the popular will prevailed, reflecting a majority disenfranchised

Brexit: The view from China

Reports that China’s central bank will allow a further fall in the renminbi, which is already trading at its lowest level in over five years, highlight Beijing leadership’s immediate concerns over Brexit. Premier Li Keqiang’s speech to the World Economic Forum last week painted a

What we can learn from Brexit

There is much being written about the implications of Brexit. This stream of commentary will undoubtedly continue for some time; Matthew Goodwin said the repercussions from Brexit will be felt 'for generations'. While the focus is mostly on the negative implications, some think there may

Brexit is England's silliest decision since Suez

It's now over 70 years since British Prime Minister Winston Churchill told his Australian counterpart John Curtin of his wish to see a united western Europe, of which Britain would be a member. The allies had fought their way up the southern Italian peninsula but the Normandy landing was still a

Brexit: Bruised egos will heal, trading relationships will endure

By  Brett Hogan, Senior Fellow and John Roskam, Executive Director at the Institute of Public Affairs Brexit’s victory in last Thursday’s referendum may very well have been a surprise for the pollsters, financial markets, and possibly even the leaders of the Leave campaign but, to twist

Australia and the UK's leap into the unknown

By Dr Annmarie Elijah, Associate Director, ANU Centre for European Studies, Australian National University and Dr Ben Wellings, Deputy-director, Monash European and EU Centre, Monash University. The full ramifications of the events of 23 June, when a majority of British voters elected to leave the

Brexit: The view from Berlin

'One has to face up to the fact that the other members of the EU have been slagged off fairly royally, and they're the people who you would be negotiating with.' That was the assessment two weeks ago of Lord Jonathan Hill, who on Saturday resigned as Britain's European Commissioner. First among

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