Wednesday 23 Oct 2019 | 19:59 | SYDNEY
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Asia

Putin flexes muscle ahead of G20

What to do if you are the leader of a former superpower about to travel to a small-ish country whose leader has promised to shirtfront you? The answer seems to be to flex a little muscle. Russian leader Vladimir Putin is in Beijing today for the APEC meeting ahead of this week's G20 Summit in

US and allies outgunned in South China Sea

Three books published this year contemplate Asia's most vexing problem. Taken together, they provide a thorough understanding of the contest in the South China Sea. Still, they leave the reader with one large puzzle. Asia's Cauldron recounts, in Robert Kaplan's readable travelogue style, the

China's overseas basing strategy

'Will China's growing global economic interests lead it to expand its overseas military presence and capabilities?' This is a question that has been asked by policymakers, academics and strategists since China's economic growth became dependent on its ability to access energy through maritime sea

Australia's provincial reflex

'The provincial reflex', Peter Hartcher's coinage in The Adolescent Country, a Lowy Institute Paper released today, is a neat way of describing the chronic parochialism that has infected Australia public life for much of the past decade. It is a period, paradoxically, when the shift in global

Congress, midterms and the TPP

US mid-terms elections will take place on 4 November, with polls suggesting the Republicans will re-take control of the Senate. President Obama's next steps on the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), which his Administration says is the key economic plank of the rebalance to Asia, will be heavily

Whitlam's visionary leadership on Indonesia

As commentators rightly eulogise Gough Whitlam's foreign policy achievements, most of the attention has focused on his grand outreach to communist China and the independence of Papua New Guinea. These two acts were conspicuous hallmarks of Whitlam's game-changing diplomatic moments. A 1979 Peter

Chinese aid in Fiji coming under new pressures

I was in Fiji last week to get an update on Chinese assistance to the country, as part of a larger project I'm doing mapping Chinese aid activities in the Pacific islands, to be launched in early 2015. Navua Hospital, built with Chinese aid assistance, Fiji. (Author photo) Fiji is becoming

Four ways to look at Jokowi's new Cabinet

President Jokowi announced his first Cabinet on Sunday evening on the grounds of the State Palace, six days after his inauguration and four days after he scrubbed carefully orchestrated plans to unveil his selection of ministers at Jakarta's port. The initial announcement was delayed after Jokowi

Quick Comment: Jokowi should enjoy the party while he can

As Catriona Croft-Cusworth’s commentary and photos showed, there is a celebratory mood in Jakarta this week with the inauguration of Jokowi as Indonesia’s new president. In the spirit of reconciliation, Jokowi’s defeated opponent Prabowo Subianto even showed up for the ceremony. For this

Jokowi's maritime inaugural address

The inauguration speech of Indonesia's 7th President, Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo, was powerful despite its brevity, or perhaps because of it. It contained a striking blend of personal humility, national pride and an ethos of unremitting work. But as an analyst of Asian geopolitics, I was most struck by

Political stability first, strategic stability second

The central purpose of deploying strategic nuclear weapons on SSBNs, rather than on other less expensive and technologically demanding platforms, is to assure the survival of these weapons in order for them to conduct a second strike. The rationale is that assured retaliation will dissuade a

Why do so many Chinese expect war?

A professor of classical music in Beijing startled me in 2010 when he said, 'when I look at my students, I fear we are headed for war within five years.' 'War with whom?', I enquired. 'With anyone.' His students don't seem like fenqing ('angry youth'). They are in a musical conservatory, after

Modi in the US: A truly strategic partnership?

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's much anticipated and greatly feted visit to Washington has divided opinion. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, New York, 26 September 2014 (Flickr/Narendra Modi) The writer C. Raja Mohan concluded in the Indian Express that Modi and Obama had 'restored

Chinese submarine's Sri Lanka visit prompts rescue questions

Chinese submarine support ship in Colombo Port, Sri Lanka. (PLA photo.) The visit of the Chinese Type 039 'Song' class submarine to Colombo, Sri Lanka, earlier this month passed with little notice, but it's the first time one of the People's Liberation Army-Navy's (PLA-N) diesel-powered submarines

Indonesia's economy at a crossroads

With the passing of the presidential baton from Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to Joko Widodo just a month away, Indonesia is at a political crossroad, with the first clear break from the politicians who were part of the Soeharto years. Monday's Indonesia mini-update at the Lowy Institute, a half-day

Corruption in China: The cultural divide

Since Xi Jinping took over the multiple reins of leadership in China he has overseen an unprecedented crackdown on corruption. Government officials at heights or with connections generally considered to be safe have not been spared. A notorious example is Zhou Yongkang, former chief of China's

New Caledonia: Australia's benevolent disregard

Imagine that the most senior leader of one of Australia's neighbours resigns suddenly during a visit by a minister. And that this follows an election where the winners cannot agree on allocating a key economic portfolio, a street protest where two policemen are shot and a boozy lunch where a senior

The very public flaying of Marty Natalegawa

As jockeying intensifies for ministerial appointments in President-elect Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo's new cabinet, divisions and dissatisfaction within Indonesia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs have played out in a very public fashion. In a riveting if unedifying spectacle, Indonesia's press has carried

Is China a realist power?

Eurasia's arc of instability is ablaze. Robert Kagan rails against America's impotence. A cartoon depicts Uncle Sam as a hapless fireman, impotent in eastern Europe and the Middle East; others see America itself as the arsonist. Henry Kissinger launches yet another book warning of chaos amid

Xi Jinping in India: Economic focus suits both sides

Prepare yourself for a glut of feeble anthropomorphic metaphors (elephants, pandas, tigers, and dragons are all anticipated) and bloviating communiqués: India-China diplomacy is underway. President Xi Jinping today begins the first Chinese visit to India since the election of Prime Minister

Is Abbott spreading Australia too thin?

Two months ago, as Prime Minister Abbott's globalist reflexes were becoming increasingly apparent, I offered a perspective from Washington that the US should welcome a more prominent role for Australia on the world stage. I argued that America's steadfast ally had unique normative, diplomatic and

Abbott's first year: What the pundits get wrong

So, the first-year assessments are in, and it seems the Abbott Government has done well on foreign policy. Mark Kenny says Abbott has established 'a solid profile as a man of purpose' on the world stage. Michelle Grattan says Abbott 'has shown an unexpected sureness on the international stage'.

Modi and Abe inaugurate new India-Japan partnership

By Manjeet Pardesi and Robert Ayson, both from the School of History, Philosophy, Political Science and International Relations at Victoria University of Wellington. A few days before Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's trip to Japan last week, he is believed to have personally extended his visit

Japan's continuing confidence in the alliance

The views expressed here are the author's own, and do not necessarily represent those of National Institute for Defense Studies or the Japanese Ministry of Defense. I am inspired by the recent debate on The Interpreter about the trajectory of Japan's security strategy. Brad Glosserman's

2014 Australia-India Roundtable Report: Outcomes Statement and Summary Record of Proceedings

The relationship between Australia and India has reached a new maturity, based on deepening connections between their societies, economies, education sectors and policy establishments. This positions these two democracies to work together to advance their interests in a shared Indo-Pacific region.&

Is Hillary Clinton really a foreign policy hawk?

We are in strange times indeed when a presumptive US Republican presidential candidate can hope to score political points by accusing his likely Democratic rival of being a war hawk, but this is apparently the world we inhabit in 2014. The accuser in this case was Kentucky Senator and leading

Indonesia: Dispelling the ghosts of '98

Police and students during the 1998 Jakarta riots. (Wikipedia.) Twice in the past two months the spectre of the 1998 riots in Jakarta has been raised, and twice it has been dispelled by the Indonesian capital's refusal to return to a state of fear and violence. No one seriously expected '98-level

Should the US retrench from South Korea? Part 2: No

A couple of days ago I laid out the arguments for a US withdrawal from South Korea. Today, I lay out the arguments for staying. This topic is rarely discussed. In the US, the foreign policy consensus for hegemony, forged between liberal internationalists on the left and interventionist

China-Japan competition: Hugh White responds

The four excellent responses to my post on China-Japan relations all present important points about Japan's situation and its options in the face of China's growing power. Just to recap, my piece questioned whether Chinese political and military pressure on Japan in the East China Sea is as

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