Monday 18 Oct 2021 | 18:56 | SYDNEY
What's happening on


Australia's consular conundrum in Dubai

The harsh sentencing of Australian businessman Matthew Joyce in Dubai yesterday brings into sharp relief the Government's messaging on consular matters and the problems it encounters regularly in dealing with what I've called Australia's consular conundrum. The conundrum is multi-dimensional,

India Poll 2013: Big threats, big expectations

Danielle Rajendram is a Research Associate in the Lowy Institute's International Security Program. Today the Lowy Institute, in partnership with the Australia India Institute, has released the results of a nationally representative opinion poll on Indian attitudes towards their future in the world

China doomsayers run out of arguments

Ever since China slowed from unsustainable 10%-plus growth figures in the pre-2008 decade, there has been a barrage of voices foreseeing a painful slump. Some even doubt that China will overtake American GDP.  Meanwhile, official figures show China growing at more than 7%, which is enough to

China-Taiwan: Risk of war 'near zero'

This is one of those interviews that I wish could have gone longer. Former Taiwan Deputy Defence Minister Dr Chong-Pin Lin visited the Lowy Institute last week for a roundtable with China experts from around Sydney, and he was kind enough to agree to this short chat. Dr Lin has a mild-mannered

Syria: A week is a long time

In order to make any sense of a conflict it is necessary to take the long view; snapshots at any particular time can skew one's perspective. But having said that, this week has been of particular interest for Syria watchers because of the range of issues raised, all of which further illustrate why

China no rival for island influence

China's activities in the Pacific Islands are being viewed in the same light as its growing geo-strategic role in Asia. Australia's recent Defence White Paper 2013 cautioned that Australia's role in the Pacific may well be balanced in the future by the growing influence of Asian nations. America

Four fascinating years in Timor-Leste

Gordon Peake is a Visiting Fellow at the State, Society and Governance in Melanesia Program, ANU. Interpreter readers with long memories may remember my name from a series of pieces on Timor-Leste posted a year or so ago. The articles included profiles of the campaign to elect war hero Taur Matan

Will Aung San Suu Kyi be president of Burma?

Andrew Selth is a Research Fellow?at the Griffith Asia Institute. One question uppermost in the minds of many who attended last week's Lowy Institute's panel discussion on Burma (event video above) was whether Aung San Suu Kyi might become president when Thein Sein's five-year term expires in

Dreaming of China in the Pacific Islands

Research staff at the Lowy Institute meet with many visiting foreign delegations: European foreign ministers, US State Department and Pentagon officials, Pacific Island MPs, senior officials from Asian countries, academics from India and China. We also meet regularly with Australian ministers and

Today in killer robot planes

Chinese military websites have been abuzz lately with images emerging of China's first stealth drone, dubbed 'Sharp Sword', which has started undertaking so-called 'taxi trials' (moving under its own power on a runway) and will presumably make its first flight soon. This image posted today on

Reader riposte: Divided Asia

Professor Richard Rosecrance writes on a recent discussion thread about the above graphic: The main problem with the 'Asian circle' is not its population or its economic importance — which was initially great 200 years ago and is growing now. It is its manifest and lasting divisions. Like

Iran elections: Rise of the guardians

Given Australia's unofficial nine-month long election campaign, it is worth noting that, six weeks out from the Iranian presidential election, the names of the candidates are not even known yet. Registration of presidential candidates was conducted between 9-11 May, at which point the Guardians

Documentary trailer: Red Obsession

It's nice to be able to flag an Australian film once in a while, and this one combines two modern Australian pre-occupations: China and wine. Red Obsession looks at the enormous appetite that China's wealthy elite have for fine French wine from the Bordeaux region. As the film-maker notes in this

China-PLA: 2nd comes right after 1st

Every year the US Defence Department releases a Congressionally-mandated unclassified study called Military and Security Developments Involving the People's Republic of China. This year's edition was released earlier this week.  China specialists tend to pay this document some attention and so

Trailer: Captain Phillips

Captain Phillips tells the story of the Maersk Alabama hijacking in 2009, which was eventually brought to end by US Navy SEALs in what was interpreted as an early foreign policy victory for the new Obama Administration. The Wikipedia page on the hijacking tells a pretty hair-raising story, and

Free and fair? Pakistan's election woes

Alicia Mollaun is a PhD Candidate at the Crawford School at ANU. She has lived in Islamabad since 2010. Photo is by the author. Back in Australia, our election day concerns usually revolve around timing our vote so that we can get a parking space at the local school, avoiding how-to-vote

In conversation: Burma's transition

Yesterday the Lowy Institute was privileged to host two of Australia's most prominent Burma watchers, Dr Andrew Selth of the Griffith Asia Institute and Dr Sean Turnell from Macquarie University, for a discussion on Burma's recent rapid transformation. Interpreter readers will be  familiar

Gillard must stand up for PNG's women

Julia Gillard's first visit to Papua New Guinea as prime minister, starting tomorrow, is loaded with symbolism. Following on from the April visit of Australia's first female Governor-General, the Prime Minister can demonstrate to Papua New Guineans that women can effectively and confidently

Malaysian election: PM Najib Razak on thin ice

Associate Professor Lily Zubaidah Rahim, from the Department of Government and International Relations at the University of Sydney, is an affiliate of the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre. Malaysia's thirteenth election, held last Sunday, was fiercely contested and controversial. The 80% voter

Documentary trailer: The Defector

The full title for this film is The Defector: Escape from North Korea, and it follows the life of a people smuggler who helps North Koreans escape via the Chinese border. But since North Korean refugees are not recognised by China, these escapees then face the challenge of getting to a third

After the MDGs: What's next for Asia?

Later this month, a high level panel convened by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will deliver its recommendations on what should come after the 2015 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). It's no ordinary panel. Co-chaired by UK Prime Minister David Cameron, Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

Defence White Paper pulls its punches on China

Andrew O'Neil is Professor in the School of Government and International Relations at Griffith University. The most striking feature of the 2013 Defence White Paper is the growing gap between Australia's strategic policy aspirations and the crunch in defence spending. Nowhere is this more evident

Bending to China's wishes: Tibet and Glencore

Dr Daniel Woker is the former Swiss Ambassador to Australia and now a Senior Lecturer at the University of St Gallen. Due to China's size and importance, relations with Beijing are of a particular nature. Rather than a genuine give and take, it's often a case of 'you take and I give'. Countries

Syria: Claims, damned claims and reality

I wrote previously about the philosophical reluctance of President Obama to use US power unless key US interests were at stake. Martin Indyk's excellent talk at the Lowy Institute last Thursday gave us more insight into the way Obama views the Middle East in general, and Syria in particular. It

Indyk, Fullilove, Obama and Corleone

'80 percent of life is showing up', said Woody Allen. But did he have any advice about leaving? As my post from last Thursday made clear, I was more than pleased I showed up to Martin Indyk's speech on the Middle East and the Obama pivot, the full video for which is now available above and on

White Paper: Defence gets serious

There's lots to like in the 2013 Defence White Paper. And there's lots of detail missing too. Let's examine the White Paper on its own terms. The first thing this White Paper needed to do was to resolve the defence funding dilemma caused, so the Government suggested, by the lingering and

Reader riposte: The forgotten white paper

The Defence White Paper is due to be released within the hour. Luke Maynard, a graduate of the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, writes: Hugh White was right – this white paper probably should have been shelved. Today's release of Defence White Paper 2013 will enter a hostile political

Chinese aid to Africa: A detective story

Philippa Brant is a Lowy Institute Research Associate. Earlier this week a massive database of Chinese development finance activities in Africa (warning: big PDF) was launched by AidData and the Center for Global Development. This endeavour involved a team of researchers and has

Australia's water wisdom in the Asian century

Michael Harris is Chief Economist for the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Science (ABARES). The Asian Century White Paper outlines a vision of Australia's present and future where all aspects of Australian life and policy are enmeshed with Asia, so that even the most

Reader riposte: America and the Syrian conflict

Ghassan Salem writes: I've read and found very interesting Rodger Shanahan's comments in response to Anthony Bubalo's post about Obama's position regarding Syria's situation and mainly its use of chemical weapons, and the US response to that, or should I say the lack of. Allow me two remarks on

Syria and the Obama Doctrine

My colleague Anthony Bubalo has taken President Obama to task for failing to put his political-diplomatic shoulder to the wheel in seeking a resolution to the Syria crisis. It is fair criticism. There is an overwhelming focus in the Middle East on the need for some type of US-led military

Thinking and rethinking China's rise

In the interests of keeping alive the near constant discussion on this site about the significance of China's rise, three disparate but related sources worth flagging: If you want an easy way to keep up with the very latest writing about China, bookmark Sinocism (or subscribe to the newsletter

Israel: New electoral law is a hope for peace

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. This week Chuck Hagel called on the new Israeli Government. Only a few weeks before, John Kerry was pushing Arab-Israeli peace

PNG in the international spotlight

Donald Gumbis is a Lecturer in political science at the University of Goroka and a Lowy Institute intern. Papua New Guinea has found its way onto the international travel itineraries of a number of leaders and ministers over the last few weeks. Thailand's Prime Minister, British Foreign Office

Beijing in the age of film

A fascinating short documentary below about a Frenchman living in Beijing who has made it his mission to save discarded film negatives portraying everyday life in China in the period when film photography was commonplace, starting around 1985 until digital photography took over in 2005. As noted

PNG Pacific leadership: Is Fiji the start?

Donald Gumbis is a Lecturer in Political Science at the University of Goroka and a Lowy Institute intern. Prime Minister Peter O'Neill (pictured) is acutely aware of the need to improve PNG's international reputation. Part of his plan to do this is to step up PNG's activities as a regional

The Rhodes Scholarships of China?

Professor Don Markwell is Executive Director of the Menzies Research Centre and was formerly Warden of Rhodes House, Oxford, responsible for running the Rhodes Scholarships around the world. A flurry of well-orchestrated publicity yesterday heralded the exciting announcement in Beijing that