Last month, I alerted Interpreter readers to a new Lowy Institute debate feature on America and the Rules-based Order. In my comments about the debate, I said that Australia faced “the biggest foreign and security policy challenge of all: defending ourselves and our interests without the help of
Lock the doors
When the China trade numbers were released on Tuesday, you could hardly blame Australia’s 2500 winemakers if they locked themselves in the cellar with a nice bottle of red.
They certainly have plenty to drink. Only three months ago, Chinese customers drank 50% of Australian red
Australia’s defence of the rules-based international order is based on enlightened self-interest. As the 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper made plain: “We will act on the principle that Australia will be safer and more prosperous in a global order based on agreed rules rather than one based on the
Last week, the issue of depriving an individual of their citizenship because of terrorist activity made headlines once again. An alleged Islamic State member, Suhayra Aden, had been detained by Turkish authorities crossing from Syria into Turkey and was being readied for deportation to New Zealand.
In October, Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade confirmed that it had discontinued its “Soft Power Review”, launched amid considerable fanfare in 2018 by then–foreign minister Julie Bishop with the stated aim of ensuring “Australia remains a persuasive force in our region
A pub quiz question for foreign policy nerds in ten years’ time: In early 2021, why did New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern accuse Scott Morrison’s government of not acting in good faith? “For not living up to its responsibilities on dual citizens crossing from Syria into Turkey” might be the
Joe Biden has taken the mantle of US president at a critical time for international development – amid a resurgence in poverty, increasing geopolitical contestation, rapid technological and environmental change, and of course Covid-19. The immediate priorities of the new administration will
New Zealand’s Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta, the first Maori woman in that role, hit the ground running in her first few months in office. Not only did her appointment break barriers for Indigenous women in international affairs, she has also begun to outline a stunning example of what an
New forecasts that the Chinese economy will overtake the US in real terms much faster than expected are likely to have provided the Biden administration with a bracing context for a more coherent China policy.
According to just released projections from the London-based Centre for
India often breezes through the window of Australia’s national consciousness, but rarely lingers. Will India once again disappear from our collective awareness, following a short summer in which we were captivated by a sublime test series in Australia?
Cricket has been a common denominator
Since the start of the pandemic, China and the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) have become a key rallying point for a diverse array of political groups. This includes the Australian far right, which has seized on new opportunities related to China to radicalise and recruit throughout 2020.
It was probably only a matter of time before Damien O’Connor, not one of the leading lights in Jacinda Ardern’s second-term Cabinet, stepped into some diplomatic doo-doo. But in an interview with CNBC, New Zealand’s Trade Minister has done so in spectacular style. He gets douze points for
Focus on the upcoming Australian Open tennis tournament these last few weeks in the local media has been intense. Still, it’s possible that Olympics officials in Japan are monitoring the first tennis Grand Slam event of the year even closer than we are in Australia.
As tournament organisers
Three anthems walk into a bar, The Star Spangled Banner, La Marseillaise and Advance Australia Fair. The Banner starts singing, O say can you see, and the crowd erupts. La Marseillaise begins, Allons, enfants de la patrie. Again the crowd applauds. Advance Australia Fair, stands, looks around and
Given the widespread relief accompanying Joe Biden’s transition to the White House, it seems churlish to start picking apart his policy agenda. Yet, there are grounds for concern about how the incoming administration will reshape US nuclear weapons policy over the next four years.
Bliss it was to be a cricket aficionado in Australia at dusk yesterday as the shadows lengthened at the Gabba and the players were bathed in soft golden sunlight. To be an Indian fan was pure heaven. We are resigned to heartaches as a staple diet. But once in a while, the gods smile, all is good in
The growing synergy among the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue powers of Australia, Japan, the United States and India has provided a crucial impetus to the security architecture of the Indo-Pacific. Bilateral ties between these four states have also seen positive growth, largely a result of “like-
It could have very easily been an international incident with Australia’s great ally, the United States. An American citizen tries to illegally enter Australia, creating a biosecurity risk in a time of global pandemic that ripples all way to the door of the Acting Prime Minister Michael McCormack
The Richardson review, released last month, amounts to the most significant review of Australia’s intelligence legislative framework since the Hope Royal Commission on Intelligence and Security in the 1970s. Back then, as David Irvine has noted, former judge Robert Hope laid out operating
As if 2020 has not been challenging enough, the United Kingdom is currently facing the prospect of ending its Brexit transition period on 31 December without a trade deal with the European Union. As post-Brexit negotiations on a UK–EU deal have continued without a breakthrough, the claim that the
On the wintry night of 27 November 1950, Chinese troops suddenly descended upon the US 1st Marine Division and the 31st Regimental Combat Team around the frozen Chosin Reservoir, less than 100 kilometres away from the China-Korea border. Having failed to dissuade the United States with words from
The horror year that has been 2020 is thankfully coming to an end with a dose of welcome optimism, now that vaccines are on the way. But the end is still far from within sight for many of Australia’s Pacific island neighbours.
In a new Lowy Institute policy brief, we argue that the Pacific is
This year has been one of great tumult at Australian universities. Not least are the nonsensical proposals to axe Indonesian language programs by several universities, such as La Trobe, Western Sydney University and Murdoch. Australian universities are closing the door of opportunity to the
The Interpreter has kept its eyes on political appointees to Australia’s diplomatic posts. Daniel Flitton’s most recent piece ended with the observation that the government should better explain why politicians make “excellent envoys”. The government explanation is likely to be, in the most
The politics in the fallout over the release of the long-awaited Brereton report into allegations of war crimes by Australian troops in Afghanistan threatens to overtake the actual subject of the inquiry. Even before China sought to insert itself into the issue, local introspection about what was
Current perceptions of renewables have been driven by the need to address climate change, a narrow view that overlooks benefits such as reducing our reliance on imported energy and creating thousands of high-tech jobs. As countries grapple with the outwardly ineffective efforts to pass climate
Food for thought
Picking winners and sacrificing national interests are two things that conservative politicians usually like to hold out as anathema.
But it says a lot about how the meltdown in relations with China is changing economic diplomacy that they are exactly what the federal
I suppose Will Hodgman has plenty of experience in charge of a small island state. Because otherwise it’s a bit of a puzzle why the former Liberal premier of Tasmania should be picked as Australia’s next High Commissioner in Singapore, as was announced this week.
Labor was quick to brand
With a wicked and now infamous tweet, Australia has joined India, the US, Canada, and the Pope on a list of those China’s “wolf warrior” diplomat in chief Zhao Lijian has deliberately provoked. By reacting with fury we’ve done what a troll would hope.
Internet trolling referred
No doubt you have seen the offending tweet already. If you’re in the mood to be outraged, it is still pinned to the top of Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian’s Twitter feed. Outrage was clearly on the minds of our politicians: the PM called a snap press conference to condemn the
The recent move to cut billions of pounds from the United Kingdom’s foreign aid budget was long feared by advocates. As result, one minister has flagged her resignation, and others have made threats to cross the floor.
The reduction of the UK’s aid spend from 0.7% to 0.5% of gross national
Australia could model itself in part on Singapore to ensure it could still thrive in an Asian region increasingly dominated by China, according to Fareed Zakaria, the author and foreign affairs commentator.
Zakaria was speaking at the annual Lowy Lecture, delivered this year via satellite from the
Trust between Australia and China is at a nadir. Little more than a year ago, the prospects for positive long-term engagement remained strong – not just for business ties, but also for that most peculiarly Australian game. AFL club Port Adelaide had taken Australian football to Shanghai for the
On Monday, the UK-based think tank Policy Exchange awarded Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison the inaugural Grotius Prize “in recognition of his work in support of the international rules-based order”. In his acceptance speech, Morrison spoke of the award’s namesake, the 17th-
It was only last year Scott Morrison marched with a baseball cap and Daggy Dad political persona to a triumphant victory in a seemingly unwinnable election. “How good is Australia! How good are Australians!” was the ScoMo catchcry.
Which makes his apparent transformation into a serious scholar
The 2020 Defence Strategic Update released by the Morrison government on 1 July concluded that Australia’s strategic environment is deteriorating – and deteriorating faster than was anticipated in the 2016 Defence White Paper. This grim finding, with warnings “coercion, competition and grey-
Back in 2012, Afghanistan mostly only featured in Australian news bulletins at those moments an Australian soldier was killed. The war was otherwise a story in the background, a feature on the back pages or late in TV bulletins when a journalist could “embed” with the troops. Tempers flared
India might have spurned the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, but its parable of the blind men and the elephant still provides the best way of understanding reaction to the region’s newest trade deal.
Is it a child’s paddling pool the width of an ocean (Financial
The latest complaints from China against Australia, neatly bundled into a series of 14 perceived disputes, makes painfully clear how ties between the two countries are straining. Yet Australia is not the only country to have felt the wrath of China’s coercive diplomacy.
Australia is lending A$1.5 billion to Indonesia to help it get through the economic crisis unleashed by Covid-19. This is welcome news and another sign of Australia stepping up to assist key partners in the region during an extraordinary global crisis.
The Australian loan will help the Indonesian
Typically, much of the initial foreign policy interest in a new (or slightly revised) Japanese government tends to look towards the United States – to consider the adjustments necessary to the alliance, to plan the first face-to-face meeting, to determine the nickname that will characterise
Australia and the Republic of Korea (ROK or South Korea) stand as critical security partners with the United States, and have supported the open, rules-based international order for well over half a century. Both have shed blood in this mission, standing with the US in every war since the Korean war
The “who won” question isn’t quite resolved. Bleary-eyed pundits fossicking over every county result are making about as much sense – and as much noise — as a flock of seagulls scrabbling for chips on the beach. Joe Biden might just have the numbers. But Donald Trump hasn’t been blown
Book Review: Geoff Raby, China’s Grand Strategy and Australia’s Future in the New Global Order (Melbourne University Press, 2020)
Since the middle of the 19th century, four periods in Australian history have been marked by intense antagonism towards China: the gold rushes of the 1850s; the
The Taiwan Strait is a key hotspot in the intensifying US-China rivalry, where the two superpowers’ spheres of influence overlap. Beijing claims the area as a uncompromisable “core interest” of sovereignty and territorial integrity, while the US seeks to maintain its close economic, political
If he’s not already, Qatar’s ambassador in Canberra should be prepared to fly home on short notice. If he wants to use Qatar Airways, fine. But he might also need to tell the pilot that as a result of this outrageous scandal involving forced invasive examinations of female passengers at
While the Pacific has pulled off a miracle by remaining largely Covid-19–free, the economic devastation in the pandemic’s wake is wreaking havoc across the region. Economies are in freefall, thousands of already scarce formal sector jobs are being lost, and families are being displaced and
Will the bell Toll?
The quiet flood of Japanese investment into Australia over the past few years amid at times mounting alarm about much lower levels of Chinese investment has been regularly noted here.
But the astounding story of corruption and mismanagement inside the largest single Japanese