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Diplomacy

Australia is one of the most highly globalised nations on the planet and therefore extremely dependent on an effective and active diplomacy.  In a region undergoing rapid and transformational change, where shifting power balances are creating uncertainty about the existing regional order, Australia’s security and prosperity rely heavily on its international networks and relationships with both near neighbours and geographically-distant allies.

The Lowy Institute has conducted ground-breaking comparative research on Australia’s diplomacy and that of like-minded nations. It focuses on public diplomacy and Australia’s soft-power capabilities, leading-edge research on ediplomacy, consular affairs, international broadcasting, leadership, and resourcing of Australia’s international policy infrastructure and its overseas network. The Institute’s work has been instrumental in shaping a parliamentary enquiry into Australia’s diplomatic network,  providing independent, non-partisan policy options to steer Australia’s diplomatic future.

In 2016, the Lowy Institute released the Global Diplomacy Index, an interactive web tool which maps and ranks the diplomatic networks of all G20 and OECD nations. The interactive allows readers to visualise some of the most significant diplomatic networks in the world, see where nations are represented – by city, country, and type of diplomatic mission – and rank countries according to the size of their diplomatic network

Turnbull in Jakarta: Relationship reheat

Malcolm Turnbull's visit to Jakarta this week did not signal any drastic changes for the direction of the Australia-Indonesia relationship, but it did leave relations considerably warmer than before. So warm, in fact, that both the prime minister and his Indonesian counterpart were forced to remove

Obama should encourage Jokowi to lead in East Asia

Later today, Indonesian President Joko Widodo will become only the latest Asian leader to arrive at the White House for consultations with President Barack Obama. But Obama’s talks with Jokowi, as the president of the world's third largest democracy is known, will be quite different from his

Digital diplomacy is not the same as digital outreach

Recently Jonathan McClory from UK consultancy Portland Communications, along with Facebook's government outreach manager Katie Harbath, skilfully entered the five-year long debate on the Australian Government's digital diplomacy capabilities. It's a welcome move – the more individuals and

DFAT: Not perfect, but in our national interest

A few days ago a suggestion was made on Crikey that DFAT, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, should be scrapped. I was tempted to ignore it, because as far as I can tell, the author, Jason Murphy, based his call largely on the fact that he just doesn't like free trade agreements

UN Security Council bid: How Australia should sell itself

It's leaders' week at the UN. The 70th Session of the General Assembly is open for business under the Presidency of Mogens Lykketoft of Denmark. General-Secretary Ban Ki-Moon is presiding over his penultimate session; next year he will be replaced by an 'Eastern European woman,' if Russia's

DFAT & digital diplomacy: In denial and in need of review

In 2010 former Lowy Institute research fellow Fergus Hanson published a forward-looking policy brief urging Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) to catch up to the rest of the world, join the 21st century and get online. Social media, he argued, is only one aspect of digital

Australia makes another tilt at the UN Security Council

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has just announced that Australia will bid for a seat on the UN Security Council in 2029-30. That's 15 years from the end of our last Security Council seat (2013-14). But it compares against the 27 years between our fourth and fifth outings at the Security Council.

Turnbull's new cabinet is great news for the Pacific

On Monday, Prime Minister Turnbull unveiled a new cabinet with sweeping changes to the front bench. The most important point for the Pacific is that Julie Bishop retains her position as Foreign Minister, with an improved status in cabinet as one of the kingmakers of the new Government. Steven Ciobo

Australia-South Korea 2+2 delivers ambitious agenda

One week ago – a long time in politics – the South Korean and Australian foreign and defence ministers held a '2-2' meeting in Sydney. This high-level biennial conclave for the first time included a detailed Blueprint for progressing the bilateral defence and security partnership. That the

Reader riposte: Australia-India nuclear deal

By Ron Walker, currently a visiting fellow at the Asia Pacific College of Diplomacy at ANU. Ron is a former DFAT officer who worked for 20 years in Australia's nuclear diplomacy. Among the positions he occupied were the first Head of the Nuclear Safeguards Branch and Chairman of the Board of

Australia's foreign policy and refugee resettlement

Following a community outcry over the plight of asylum seekers in Europe, the Australian Government has announced that it will resettle 12,000 Syrian and Iraqi refugees. This will be in addition to the annual refugee and humanitarian intake of 13,750. Prime Minister Tony Abbott has described the

Syria: It's what isn't being said that's of interest

The Government's announcement yesterday that it would conduct air strikes inside Syria is notable more for what it didn't say than what it did. It was long on rhetoric, but short on detail, and lacked any semblance of strategic vision or acknowledgment of the potential impact on the situation inside

To effectively counter ISIS online, we need a narrative

Back in April, Fergus Hanson highlighted the glaring need for a global response to ISIS in the cyber domain, and welcomed the announcement of an $18 million initiative to counter extremist propaganda online from the Australian Government. Last month Defence Minister Kevin Andrews announced the

Meet Julie Bishop's 'text buddy', Retno Marsudi

The relationship between Australia and Indonesia's Foreign Ministers has progressed to 'text buddies', according to Julie Bishop's assessment of the thawing relations between the two countries. Bishop held 'warm and constructive' talks with her Indonesian counterpart, Retno Marsudi, over breakfast

Passive-aggressive rivalry deepens China-Japan tensions

By Yanmei Xie, International Crisis Group’s Senior China Analyst, and Rachel Vandenbrink, graduate student at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy of Tufts University. China’s unsuccessful invitation to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to attend the 70th anniversary celebrations of the

Australia–Papua New Guinea relations: Could do better

By Jenny Hayward-Jones, Director of the Lowy Institute's Melanesia Program, and Jonathan Pryke, Research Fellow. While it's managing its response to serious economic challenges brought about by a budget deficit and drought, Papua New Guinea is preparing to host the Pacific Islands Forum leaders

Papua New Guinea: Keep calm and muddle through?

By Jenny Hayward-Jones, Director of the Lowy Institute's Melanesia Program, and Jonathan Pryke, Research Fellow. Papua New Guinea has been in the international spotlight a lot in the last month and it has been almost all bad news. Revelations of a record budget deficit, the emerging worrying impact

Greste, the West and 'the republic of darkness'

Over the weekend an Egypt court found Al-Jazeera journalists Peter Greste, Mohammed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed guilty on charges of operating in Egypt without a press licence and of ‘spreading false news’. Greste and Fahmy were given sentences of three years in prison; Mohamed was given three years

Address by Peter Varghese AO - An Australian world view: A practitioner's perspective

On 20 August 2015, the Lowy Institute hosted an address from Peter Varghese AO, Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Mr Varghese presented his perspective on key themes in Australia’s Foreign Policy

How did Chinese media react to Abe's World War II speech?

By Marie-Alice McLean-Dreyfus, an intern with the Lowy Institute's East Asia Program. According to Chinese media outlets, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's speech on 14 August commemorating the 70th anniversary of Japan's surrender at the end of World War II did not go far enough in

Iran nuclear deal opens door for Syria diplomacy

The US and Russia are reportedly promoting a concert-of-powers approach to new negotiations over Syria. Although any movement toward a political solution will be limited by the unwillingness of ISIS and other Islamists to engage in such a process, recent intelligence contact between the Syrians and

Indonesia: We don't have to be condemned to crisis

Ken Ward is to be congratulated for a straight forward and sober analysis of the Australia-Indonesia relationship. In his own matter of fact style, Ken takes us through a complex relationship and provides unique understanding and insight. His core point is that the Australia-Indonesia

Indonesia: Too many 'unforced errors'

Maybe it's just the title – Condemned to Crisis? – that gives Ken Ward's book such a downbeat despairing tone, as if the accident of geography has locked us in an unhappy marriage with Indonesia and there is not much we can do about it. Of course we should be realistic: we won't ever have the

Australia's PNG solution: The seeds of sectarianism?

As part of the 'Sectarianism and Religiously Motivated Violence' Masters course run by the Lowy Institute's Rodger Shanahan at ANU's National Security College, students are asked to write an article on contemporary sectarian conflict. This piece by William Stoltz was judged the best of those

Syria: World dithers as new refugee crisis looms

It remains too early to predict the collapse of the Assad regime, or the way in which it might end, although the possibility of 'catastrophic success' on the part of the jihadist opposition is weighing on minds in Washington.  What is clear, however, are grounds for serious concern about the

Iran nuclear deal: Surrendering to grim reality

The conclusion of the Iran nuclear deal – or the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, to give it its formal title – has already guaranteed us one thing: mutually assured hyperbole. Barrages of outrage were being fired even before the deal was signed. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Who are you calling radical, radical?

Fear of ISIS, faltering economies and resentment over rising immigration from war-torn Iraq and Syria has resulted in a surge in right-wing populism in Europe and the UK.  Here in the UK, following the departure of three sisters with their nine children to join ISIS, and the emergence of the first

How America failed the Waterloo test

Two hundred years ago last Friday, British and allied troops defeated Napoleon at Waterloo. Exiled in April 1814 to Elba after his defeat by the Sixth Coalition, by March 1815 Napoleon had escaped and returned to Paris. Much of the army of Louis XVIII, the newly installed King of France, deserted to

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