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
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
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
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
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
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
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
India and Japan lie at the extremes of oriental Asia, and to a casual visitor the two countries feel about as different as could be. Yet they share powerful bonds on many levels. Shinzo Abe and Narendra Modi promised their electorates national rejuvenation. The bear hug between them last week was in
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'.
What will Prayuth do as Thai Prime Minister? Joshua Kulantzick explains.
Zhai Kun of CICIR asks: who makes the rules on the Chessboard of the South China Sea?
Malaysia Airlines this week dropped its ad campaign asking travelers what destinations were on their 'bucket list'. The airline was unaware
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
Sam Roggeveen is certainly right to praise the achievement of an Australia-Indonesia Code of Conduct.
There is, however, an additional point to be made. The ambiguity of the text, which Sam says is mutually beneficial, exposes the nature of the negotiations: Australia gave away nothing, and
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
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.&
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
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
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
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
Since 1998, when India and Pakistan both burst out of the nuclear closet and publicly revealed their formerly recessed nuclear capabilities to the world, scant commentary has been made on the impact that the introduction of sea-based delivery systems would have on the South Asian nuclear equation
As we begin the second round of our debate on sea-based nuclear weapons in the Indo-Pacific, here is the first clear image of the INS Arihant, India's first indigenous nuclear-powered submarine, to be armed with either a dozen 750km-range nuclear tipped ballistic missiles or four larger missiles
Clive Palmer says the Chinese government shoots its own people. If he's talking about Xinjiang, he's right.
Last month saw the deadliest violence in years in the autonomous region, which has a sizeable Uyghur Muslim population. A knife attack in Yarkand on July 28 saw 100 deaths, including a
Another month, another huge political street protest in Hong Kong. Last Sunday the territory's residents marched again, this time against the planned but so far unscheduled Occupy Central sit-in. Just as July's pro-democracy marchers comprised a broad cross-section of Hong Kong society, so did the
Here's Business Spectator's Fergus Ryan on Clive Palmer's Monday evening TV outburst about China:
It was only after Julie Bishop apologised to the Chinese embassy that the Chinese government put out a statement saying Palmer’s attack was “full of ignorance and prejudice”, absurd and
Over at War on the Rocks, Christopher Lee (a former officer in the US Forces Korea [USFK]) and Tom Nichols (of the US Naval War College) have gotten into a useful debate on whether US forces should remain in Korea. This issue is not widely discussed, which is surprising given the end of the Cold
Hugh White graciously flags my assessment of Japan as he tries to make sense of Chinese policy toward Tokyo. He is right: my 'analysis does lend support to the idea that Japan would accept a subordinate status in a Chinese-led Asia.'
I wouldn't reach that conclusion, however.
Nor for that matter
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a rising China, in possession of a modernising military, must be in want of a non-militarised Japan. So is Beijing being foolish by acting assertively in the East China Sea, thereby helping to fuel Japan's evolution into a full-fledged military rival
Promoting mutual distrust in the Asia Pacific now appears central to Chinese strategy. As Hugh White has argued persuasively, China seeks greater influence in Asia through weakening the faith of America's regional allies and partners in US resolve to remain engaged in the region. This will be
While Indonesia's losing presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto is still busy challenging last month's election results at the Constitutional Court, president-elect Joko Widodo, better known as Jokowi, has already laid ground rules for how he wishes to arrange his cabinet. The court is due to
'The place for you right now is Vietnam.' So President Obama and Defense Secretary Hagel reportedly told the Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, and so originated the first visit by a top US military chief to Vietnam since 1971.
That historical event began yesterday
Here's The Australian's Greg Sheridan on this week's AUSMIN talks:
...the two governments committed to establish a working group on integrating their efforts on ballistic missile defence...In time, the US ideal is to be able to track and follow any hostile missile with seamless allied co-
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel arrives in Sydney, 11 August 2014. (Department of Defence.)
US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel touched down in Sydney today for the annual AUSMIN meetings between Australian and US foreign policy and defence leaders, which start tomorrow. There will be no
In a new Lowy Institute Analysis launched today, International Security Program Director Rory Medcalf and Nonresident Fellow C Raja Mohan argue that Indo-Pacific middle powers should look to build security coalitions in response to changing power balances in Asia.
China's increasing assertiveness
A Chinese Type 094 (Jin-class) SSBN. (Wikipedia.)
Regarding the Chinese and Indian ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) programs and their impact on international security, my arguments are: (1) they are not necessary; (2) noisy SSBNs are destabilising and should not be deployed; and (3) China's
On this day in 1945, the first nuclear weapon was used in conflict, with devastating consequences for the people of Hiroshima. In Asia today, nuclear weapons remain part of the strategic reality, for better or worse.
But calculations about nuclear armaments in the region may be changing, notably
In my previous post I argued that the last few months have seen a spike in punditry claiming that Northeast Asia's status quo is about to change, and that conflict is more likely. Japan's constitutional revisions have provoked exaggerated responses from South Korea and China, while Chinese President
'Fight corruption!' A Corruption Eradication Commission event in Bandung in 2009. (Flickr/Ikhlasul Amal.)
Indonesia's reputation for corruption in not in doubt: it comes 114th out of 177 in Transparency International's ranking. For more than a decade, the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK)
Perhaps inspired by the centenary of World War I, this year has provoked a lot of clamouring about shifting security in Northeast Asia. The general vibe is that Japan's Article 9 're-interpretation' reflects a looming Sino-Japanese conflict, and that Xi Jinping's trip to South Korea is pulling Seoul
It is always morbid to talk of what ground nations might gain from disasters such as the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17, but international politics has never been a place for the squeamish.
For US President Barack Obama, the attack has provided him with atypical room for patience as,
Indonesia's General Elections Commission (KPU) is tomorrow likely to confirm a victory by Joko ('Jokowi') Widodo over presidential rival Prabowo Subianto by a margin of somewhere between 4% and 6.88%. While supporters of Indonesian democracy collectively hold their breath in anticipation of a
There is a joke going around Jakarta this week that Indonesia currently has three presidents: incumbent Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and the two presidential candidates Prabowo Subianto and Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo, who both claimed victory after last week's election. Official results from the presidential
John Garnaut, writing for Fairfax yesterday, says I'm wrong to argue that Prime Minister Abbott and Foreign Minister Bishop do not understand the nature of China's challenge to the Asian regional order. He says Bishop's remarks, in the fine interview John did with her last week*, show that she
'Washington, you're on your own' is the gist of a recent piece by Stephen Walt, who assesses that Europe would have no dog in an Asian fight and will therefore distance itself from the American's long list of troubles involving China.
This was underscored by Angela Merkel's recent visit to China,
Sam Roggeveen says that Mr Abe's visit last week, and Julie Bishop's interview with John Garnaut, show that the Abbott Government now accepts there is a serious strategic competition underway in Asia as China challenges US primacy.
If so, I think this would be an important shift. The simplest
The Chinese Government is frequently criticised for not being transparent about its aid program. As I mentioned in my quick summary yesterday, there's not a lot of specific data in the Chinese aid white paper. But we can make a few comparisons — on geographical spread, type of aid, and income