Sunday 29 May 2022 | 18:06 | SYDNEY
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Australia in the World

We need to stop talking about the grey zone

The concept of a grey zone in international affairs has gained popularity as analysts have tried to understand how states compete for strategic advantage in a more complex and interdependent world. But war in the Ukraine has underscored how the concept now obscures more than it clarifies. The “

Australian cricket’s soft power opportunity

Like it or not, the Australian cricket team are some of the nation’s most conspicuous representatives on the world stage. And right now, both the women’s and men’s teams have the opportunity to achieve historic successes. That’s good news for Australian soft power. Australia’s cricket

Common enemies and instinctive friends

The enemy of my enemy is not necessarily my friend. Likewise, there may not be an instinctive alignment of my two adversaries. Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s reference to “arc of autocracy” and the “instinctive” alignment between Russia and China in the address at the Lowy Institute was

What if Trump wins again?

Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has seen a return to the political alignments of the 20th century, with the United States as the leader of a grouping of democracies against a Russian dictatorship uneasily partnered with China. But Donald Trump has offered a radically different response,

Russia-Ukraine: Lessons for Australia’s defence

Lesson 1:  The era of state-on-state conflict is still with us The idea that war between nations has become an anachronism over the last 40 years has some statistical support, but evidence from the post-Cold War period of relative peace needs to be weighed against hundreds of years of

A global Australia needs to be a confident Australia

Australia’s foreign and security policy successes, stretching back to its first days as a Commonweath, are few and far between. More often, it has been a bit player, bumptious and condescending to its neighbours while remaining deeply deferential towards its principal protectors. Given the many

Is bipartisanship on national security a good thing?

In the mass of commentary on the Morrison government’s feverish attempts to paint Labor as “weak” on national security and not to be trusted with China policy, one word has been prominent: bipartisanship. The pithy Oxford Languages’ definition of bipartisanship is “agreement or

Indonesia makes a big defence statement

The fuss made over Friday’s Quad meeting in Melbourne is quite out of proportion to the group’s significance. Australians shouldn’t take any comfort from rhetoric about democratic solidarity and common values. The bonds holding together the quadrilateral relationship between the United States

Delivering promises will show steel in Quad

The German naval chief, Vice Admiral Kay-Achim Schönbach, lost his job during a visit to Delhi last month. During an interaction where he went woefully off-script, he urged the West to offer “respect” to Russian President Vladimir Putin and keep the focus trained on China, a “not so nice

Getting ready for Trump as President 47

Paul Kelly’s recently published book, Morrison’s Mission: How a Beginner Reshaped Australian Foreign Policy, provides the most detailed account yet of the formation of the country’s foreign policy since Scott Morrison became prime minister in 2018 and is full of useful insights. The Forever

Bitcoin vs the IMF, and other great expectations

Digital divide El Salvador ranks only 89th on the latest index of cryptocurrency adoption around the world, but it may be at the frontline of one of the fascinating global financial questions this year. Will it be nervous investors or nervous financial regulators that play the key role in

AUKMIN shows the UK is a world away from Australia

Last week’s AUKMIN consultations between Australia and the United Kingdom, the first since 2018, suggested both sides were injecting new energy into this relationship. As Australia increasingly “mainstreams” European partnerships within its Indo-Pacific focused foreign policy, it’s worth

Solomon Islands: cops bearing gifts

The pre-Christmas announcement that Solomon Islands’ government was going to accept China’s offer of six police advisers and a swag of emergency riot equipment generated consternation in Canberra. The ABC’s Andrew Greene reported discomfit from his “defence and diplomatic” sources. The

The D10 is dead, long live the … Network of Liberty?

After meeting Australian counterparts in the morning, Britain’s Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss delivered an address to the Lowy Institute on Friday which outlined how the United Kingdom will work with partners to build a global “Network of Liberty” to stand up for freedom and push back

A test of Australia’s place in the world

As I kept the vaguest of eyes on the men’s cricket over the summer, Michael Wesley’s observation about sport and Australia’s national character kept rumbling around in the back of my head. “Contests against imperial cousins,” Wesley wrote in a recent essay, had taken on “an almost

South Korea’s embrace of Australia goes beyond China

The elevation of a “comprehensive strategic partnership” between South Korea and Australia during South Korean President Moon Jae-In’s state visit last month has left analysts torn about its impetus. Is South Korea simply seeking to expand economic ties? Or are we witnessing a “quiet

Who cares about the Australia-China relationship?

Having a deep interest in power politics is still not the norm in Australia. Yet, an increasing number of its population appears genuinely concerned about what a more aggressive and autocratic China means for Australia and for themselves. Intensifying media coverage of the friction in bilateral

Novak Djokovic – a symbol for anti-vaxxers?

After the Czech doubles player Renata Voracova was deported from Australia last week following her visa cancellation for not meeting a requirement for non-citizens to be vaccinated against Covid-19, it became obvious that Novak Djokovic would soon be subject to the same fate. The Australian

Australia should build its green infrastructure presence

A group of former diplomats are among the many parties making a persuasive case for Australia to adopt a more climate-conscious foreign policy. One particularly beneficial endeavour in this respect would be to fully embrace the increasingly popular and strategically potent financing of regional

When no shots are heard around the world

Time may be linear, but history really can play tricks and throw up oddities of connection. Take the tennis. Just over a century ago – a Sunday, 28 June 1914, a 19-year-old named Gavrilo Princip shot dead Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian empire, and his wife Sophie in

Japan and Australia ties blossom

Japan and Australia this month formally signed a “landmark” Reciprocal Access Agreement (RAA), establishing a defence cooperation framework that will allow the stationing of troops in each other’s countries along with the staging of joint training exercises and disaster support. The long-

An AUKUS surprise – Best of The Interpreter 2021

The buzz about an impending big announcement started the night before. But when the leaders from Australia, the United Kingdom and United States stood in a virtual press conference on 16 September to reveal Australia would eventually acquire nuclear-powered submarines, Sam Roggeveen’s first

Myths that stir trouble in the South China Sea

US officials regularly present China as an aggressive and expansionist military power while Chinese state sources criticise the United States in similar terms. The verbal sparring has only increased concern about the prospect of a future war between China and the United States, with Australia as a

India remains divided about AUKUS

The jury in New Delhi is still out on AUKUS, the new trilateral security agreement between the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia. Three months after its announcement, the issue continues to split India’s security experts, with little consensus over whether it benefits New Delhi or is

Solomons strife demands a development re-think

As Australian personnel patrolled the streets of Honiara, Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare this month successfully fended off an attempt to oust him. The failed vote of no confidence came after violent anti-government protests that followed two years of tensions between Sogavare and

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