Tuesday 24 May 2022 | 09:26 | SYDNEY
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Australia in the World

Why the Iraq war was right

Alexander Downer served as Australian foreign minister from 1996 to 2007. When we judge historical events, we tend to do so out of context. Yet to understand decisions and to judge them, you have to understand the context. Soon after I became foreign minister, the Secretary General of the UN

We went to Iraq for ANZUS

The views expressed here are the author's own and do not reflect those of the Department of Defence or the Australian Government. The 10th anniversary of the US-led war with Iraq has occasioned an outpouring of commentary, both here and in the US. I was not a witness to the Iraq War; I did not

Foreign media on Labor leadership farce

Contrary to my dark mood yesterday about Australia becoming an international laughing stock, it looks like the whole thing was something of a non-event for the foreign media, particularly if you compare it to the international stir Julia Gillard caused with her misogyny speech. As for the blogs, a

Our long national nightmare continues

So, the Prime Minister has called a leadership spill for for 4.30pm. It is difficult to find an international policy angle to all of this, except to say what an international laughing stock this makes Australia. The only major OECD economy to emerge from the GFC without going into recession;

For Australia Network, it's never safe

You've got to feel sorry for Australia's public international television service, Australia Network. Launched by the Keating Government in 1994 under the name Australia Television, its short life has been blighted with funding cuts, death threats, name changes and a failed out-sourcing effort

Reader ripostes: TNI and Bob Carr

Below, a comment from Jorge Bechara on Rodger Shanahan's Bob Carr's Selective Indignation. But first, Andrew Johnson: I appreciate that Gary Hogan has expanded on his contribution and rightly points out that he is bringing his own experience into the understanding of Indonesia and its

A gratifying moment for peacekeepers

Geraldine Doogue is patron of the Australian Peacekeeping Memorial Project and presenter of ABC RN's 'Saturday Extra'. Geraldine wrote a three-part Interpreter series on Australian peacekeeping.  Last Wednesday, in the midst of a busy March week of tumultuous political news, came one

Lieberman shows his experience

Andrew Butcher from the Asia New Zealand Foundation watched Michael Fullilove's interview with Senator Joe Lieberman, and asks via Twitter how the Brits will feel about Lieberman's characterisation of the US-Australia relationship. Describing the US-Australia relationship as 'closest' would

Iraq War: It's been almost 10 years

Blogger and columnist Andrew Sullivan is marking the upcoming tenth anniversary of the Iraq War by reproducing some of his stridently pro-war blog posts of the time. Those of you who follow Sullivan's site will know that he has changed his mind completely about Iraq since those days, and he has

Bob Carr's selective indignation

Violence happens around the world each and every day. Sometimes it gets reported in the media, and on special occasions it is deemed worthy of official condemnation. No government has time to condemn each and every action, so the incidents they do condemn should have some resonance with the

Defence relations with Burma: Our future past

Andrew Selth is a Research Fellow at the Griffith Asia Institute and author of Australian Defence Contacts with Burma, 1945-1987. Photos by the author.John Blaxland's persuasive piece on the possible renewal of defence cooperation between Australia and Burma (Myanmar) prompts a look at past

The consular death spiral

Back in October last year, my colleague Alex Oliver posted an item about the case of Alexandra Bean, an Australian who had been detained in Libya. Alex wrote that Foreign Minister Bob Carr 'is beginning to comprehend the intractability of the consular conundrum: managing the soaring demand for

China's investment in Australia

Dirk van der Kley is a Research Associate in the Lowy Institute's East Asia Program. Last night, the inaugural Lowy Institute-Rio Tinto China Fellow, Professor Zha Daojiong of Peking University, gave a lively presentation on Chinese investment in Australia. Zha is one of China's leading

A fair indictment of Australia's Pacific policy?

Professor Wadan Narsey is an Adjunct Professor at The Cairns Institute. Jonathan Schultz's recently completed PhD thesis, Overseeing and Overlooking: Australian Engagement with the Pacific Islands 1988-2007, presents a somewhat scathing indictment of Australian foreign policy towards the Pacific,

Indonesia's next president: A form guide

Gary Hogan was the first foreigner to graduate from Indonesia's Institute of National Governance (Lemhannas) and was Australia's Defence Attaché to Indonesia from 2009 to 2012. For over eight years, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has cut a large and impressive figure on the world

JSF: Four Corners suffers turbulence

Like Sam, I had high expectations for the Four Corners report on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and was a little disappointed. To butcher Mark Twain, Four Corners may not repeat itself but it does rhyme. Last night's story on the JSF was eerily similar to this story from back in 2007, also by

Four Corners on the Joint Strike Fighter

  I don't envy any TV reporter or producer the task of encapsulating the mammoth Joint Strike Fighter project into less than one hour of television. It's an impossible task, and Andrew Fowler's retelling of the saga on Australia's premier current affairs TV program Four Corners last night was

Reader riposte: Africa and Australia

Peter Jennings, Executive Director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, writes: I have been taken out of context by Joel Negin, who refers to me in a recent Interpreter blog on the importance of Africa in this way: The Executive Director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute

Can the navy 'turn back the boats'?

Hugh Simpson is a strategic risk management consultant and former naval officer. During his 11 years in the navy, Hugh spent over three years working on border protection. Shadow immigration spokesman Scott Morrison this week indicated a return to Howard era immigration policies, specifically

China at sea: Wake up, Australia!

For Australia, the principal threat posed by the growth of China's military power is not yet to its direct strategic interests but rather to the US-led order from which much of Australia's security derives. As China's ongoing accumulation of advanced air, maritime and surveillance capabilities

NSS overlooks lessons of East Timor

Senator David Fawcett (Liberal) is a member of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade. The National Security Strategy announced last week by Prime Minister Gillard overlooks the important lessons from Australia's 1999 intervention in East Timor. The Australian public

Asia focus in Liberal policy booklet

Last July I expressed scepticism about the idea that Tony Abbott's fondness for the 'anglosphere' implied that he was too focused on Australia's traditional partners and didn't fully appreciate the opportunities and challenges of a rising Asia. The release of the Liberal Party's new policy booklet

NSS: The numbers don't add up

After 29 months of government, Wednesday's launch of the National Security Strategy was welcome yet well overdue. Although the strategy has been widely panned as disappointing and unfunded, the strategic framework and development process look sound, and certainly a great improvement on the 2008

NSS is coherent, but pulls its punches

It may seem odd that Prime Minister Julia Gillard would use the occasion of the launch of the nation's first ever formal national security strategy to endorse the view that the 'national security decade' is over.  This begins to make sense, though, when you note the strategy's conclusion

Grand designs: Is the NSS necessary?

Robert Ayson is Director of Victoria University’s Centre for Strategic Studies in New Zealand. It's time for me to fess up. I used to be one of those sometimes annoying people who thought it was a good idea for governments to produce a formal national security strategy. I wanted them to show

New ideas in national security

We're going to have substantive commentary on the newly released National Security Strategy over coming days, but as a first offering, I wanted to alert readers to Michael L'Estrange's op-ed in today's Australian (to get around the Oz's paywall, just Google the article's headline and click on the

Sydney's new airport: A nod to Asia?

One of my favourite online distractions, ArchDaily, yesterday posted a photo spread on Gibraltar's glorious new airport. This got me thinking about the two-decade debate over a second Sydney airport, which everyone except the owners of the existing airport seems to agree is necessary. Problem is,

Don't call it aid: Carr's $375 million diversion

Satish Chand is a Professor in the School of Business, University of New South Wales. Last December it was revealed in the media that the Australian Government would divert $375 million from its foreign aid budget (of a total $5.2 billion) to fund the onshore processing of asylum seekers arriving

China and India in the Fiji equation

Professor Wadan Narsey is an Adjunct Professor at The Cairns Institute. The Fiji regime's clear breach of its own decrees and roadmap to democracy, as described in my previous post, has unsettled traditional donors and must also create serious question marks over the continuing support by China

Defence 2013: Expect cuts to troops and JSF

Derek Woolner is a Visiting Fellow at the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, ANU. He was Director of the Foreign Affairs and Defence Group in the Commonwealth Parliament's research service till 2002. My earlier posts in this series were about the nature of the financial difficulties faced by