There is a country in Europe whose citizens can freely choose which Covid-19 vaccine they wish to receive, whether the Western-made Pfizer-BioNTech or AstraZeneca, China’s Sinopharm or Russia’s Sputnik V.
Serbia – a landlocked nation in southeast Europe – has unexpectedly became a regional
February this year was marked by a heightened Russian naval activity in the Indian Ocean. Russian naval task groups drawn from the Baltic and Black Sea fleets took part in two international naval exercises – one with Iran and another as part of Pakistan-led multilateral exercise AMAN 21. Russia’
There has – rightly – been a strong reaction in Australia and more broadly to the Italian government decision, endorsed by the European Union and some of its leaders, not to permit AstraZeneca to export 250,000 contracted doses of its Covid vaccine to Australia.
Italian Foreign Minister Luigi
India’s annual summit with Russia was cancelled last year for the first time since its inception – the official reason, as was commonly blamed for many abandoned events, Covid-19.
The summit’s cancellation was a rare hiccup in what has otherwise been a traditionally close partnership. Moscow
The visit to Moscow by India’s Foreign Secretary Harsh Shringla on 17–18 February was his first overseas trip outside South Asia during the corona crisis, underscoring the importance India attaches to its strategic partnership with Russia. But it is a relationship where New Delhi must also be
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
Large street protests swept more than a hundred Russian cities in late January. The rallies were sparked by the arrest and jailing of prominent Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny and the release of his widely viewed “Putin’s Palace” corruption exposé video on YouTube. Unsurprisingly, security
European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell visited Moscow this month intending to lodge a strong protest against the treatment of dissident Alexei Navalny and his supporters in Russia. Not surprisingly, this was forcefully rebutted by Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei
In remarks delivered at the US State Department in early February, President Joe Biden championed the rule of law as part of “America’s abiding advantage” and spelled out his vision for a nation leading “not just by the example of our power but by the power of our example”. In its swing
For the better part of a decade, the United Kingdom has witnessed a deteriorating security environment, whether from a more aggressive Russia, a retreating United States or the implications posed by Brexit. It is for this reason that the British government has raised two important approaches.
In extraordinary times, ordinariness can be a virtue. That, in any case, is the hope of Armin Laschet, who was elected as the new leader of Germany’s largest party, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), on 22 January. A moderate Catholic from Aachen, Germany’s westernmost city, Laschet
Europe’s “forgotten war” between the Western-backed Ukraine and the Russian-sponsored, self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic and Lugansk People’s Republic over the energy-rich Donbass region of eastern Ukraine has been “on hold” for six years. Despite the formal truce declared in
When a business manager is willing to spend US$200,000 to send home five employees whose contracts have expired and bring five colleagues to replace them on the spot, later telling a reporter the cost was the least of their worries, you can be sure a crisis is involved.
In this case, it is on the
On 24 January, four days after his investiture, US President Joe Biden had his first official phone call with French President Emmanuel Macron. Commentators were quick to mention that Macron was the fourth leader to have this privilege, and the first one from the EU. The French communiqué mentioned
Vladimir Putin, who rose to power more than 20 years ago as symbol of youth, strength and vitality, is today confronting an uncomfortable truth. In short, his previously rock-solid regime is starting to look a bit tired.
The Russian government’s recent violent crackdowns against protesters
The recent takedown of a major hacking network has demonstrated the importance of international cooperation in fighting cybercrime. Defined as criminal activity that either targets or uses a computer network or an electronic device, primarily but not always for financial profit, cybercrime has been
Although it may not regularly make headlines, the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is an important multilateral institution. With its standard-setting capability, the organisation’s 300 committees and 3300-member secretariat have carved unique policy niches on trade,
Vladimir Putin is a master of keeping his political counterparts on their toes. After being among the last world leaders to congratulate Joe Biden on his victory in the United States Presidential elections, Putin had another surprise for the new administration – the withdrawal from the Open Skies
The dispute over the ownership of Diego Garcia and the rest of the Chagos Archipelago involves a complex array of legal, human rights, security and geopolitical issues. The United Kingdom wants to retain the islands it calls the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT). Mauritius wants to see the
Returning to the country of one’s birth is a common experience for many Australians. In the more than 45 years since I first arrived in Australia, though, I have never been more astounded and appalled by what has happened to Britain in my absence, or more grateful that I no longer live there.
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
Through a quirk in circumstances, I presently find myself sheltering from the pandemic in Iceland. I wouldn’t consider myself stranded like other overseas Australians. I am here due to personal necessity and because the country is a relatively safe place. While the recent success of my home city
While Australia is facing its own war crimes allegations in relation to Afghanistan, the UK is the focus of allegations with respect to Iraq. The trials of UK nationals for war crimes committed in Iraq would have been a positive development for the International Criminal Court (
Two recent naval exercises demonstrate the potential for Russia-China cooperation in the Indian Ocean, and how the two present a much greater threat to a continued US role and influence in the region than either would individually.
Last year, South Africa hosted a maritime exercise with
In November, the French Senate unanimously voted to return a small selection of pre-colonial African artefacts to Benin and Senegal that were looted by colonial forces. Benin will receive 26 artefacts from the former Kingdom of Dahomey, while Senegal will receive a sword and scabbard belonging to a
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
While the world’s attention in recent weeks has been firmly fixed on the United States’ presidential race, Russia under Vladimir Putin has made a number of surprising moves. One was a swift deployment of its peacekeepers to the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, putting a stop for now to a bloody
The Netherlands recently published its first official strategy paper for the Indo-Pacific, just ten weeks after Germany had brought out its own. The two countries are now part of a club of three in Europe, after France led the way in 2018.
In the diplomatic world, this feels like lightning speed
Moscow’s muted reaction to Joe Biden’s election victory is unsurprising, and speaks volumes. The Kremlin is likely bracing itself for more confrontation with Washington, as US policy towards Russia hardens.
That’s saying something. Since Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea and revelations
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.
Six weeks of renewed fighting between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh ended last week after Russia brokered a trilateral agreement with the warring parties. Baku is trumpeting its victory on the field of battle and at the negotiating table, while Yerevan is
The decades-old dispute between Russia and Japan over the status of the Kuril Islands is far from over. Tokyo, which refers to the islands as the Northern Territories, still insists on a peace treaty with Moscow that would result in Russia’s return of at least two out of four islands to Japan,
In the last five years, the French city of Nice has been targeted twice by jihadist terrorism. Both times the perpetrators were young men from Tunisia, the smallest country in North Africa, situated between Algeria and Libya.
The first incident came on Bastille Day in 2016, when an attacker
Twenty years ago, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 1325, a landmark to formally recognised the disproportionate impact of conflict on women and girls. Yet this year, there is no new resolution to mark the anniversary of what became the Women, Peace and
A new infrastructure connectivity initiative in Central Europe is the latest stage for a geopolitical contest. A diverse group of European Union member states in the traditional “buffer zone” between Western Europe and the East have long suffered lagging living standards and weaker economies.
Unrest is roiling Russia’s near abroad, from its western flanks in Europe to the “’Stans” of Central Asia on China’s doorstep. For all their local particulars, these nations share a common historical legacy which continues to undermine stability in various ways.
The re-emergence of conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan in September 2020 over the contested region of Nagorno-Karabakh has taken a much more deadly and destabilising turn than in previous recent outbreaks. A seemingly intractable conflict, dating back to well before the Soviet occupation of the
Kyrgyzstan, a former Soviet republic seen as Russia’s most loyal ally in Central Asia, has been rocked by unrest after a disputed parliamentary election held on 4 October. Moscow’s reactions to the Kyrgyz crisis have so far been relatively ambivalent, even though the nation hosts a Russian
On Sunday, nearly 181,000 voters from New Caledonia, a French archipelago colonised in 1853 and just 1,500 kilometres off the cost of Australia, were called to the polls to answer whether or not they wanted “New Caledonia to achieve full sovereignty and become independent”.
This was the second
In this episode of COVIDcast, Lowy Institute Research Fellow Alexandre Dayant sat down with Professor Yanis Varoufakis to discuss Europe and the future of capitalism. Yanis is currently a member of the Hellenic Parliament and served as Greece’s minister of finance during the government debt crisis
Thirty years ago, Francis Fukuyama sprang to international prominence by suggesting that history might be at an end. Ever since, lesser academic lights have queued up to tell anyone who would listen why he was wrong. Less thought has been given, however, to what Fukuyama was actually right about,
Twenty-five years after brokering the Dayton Peace Accords, which effectively ended the Bosnian conflict, Europe’s bloodiest war since the Second World War, Washington is once again acting as a de facto security guarantor in the Western Balkans. This comes despite more than seven years of (ongoing
Rallies in Russia’s Far Eastern city of Khabarovsk have been overshadowed by the protests in Belarus, as well as the alleged poisoning of opposition figure Alexei Navalny. Although anti-Kremlin protesters in the city of 600,000 still hold weekly demonstrations, demanding Russian authorities return
Three main points show that Boris Johnson’s “Australian solution” – what we might call a hard-Brexit with loss of access to the single European market and not even a free trade agreement – will put the UK on a slippery slope to economic disaster and political oblivion.
The first and most
2020 was supposed to be a transformational year in China’s relations with the European Union. Next to the annual bilateral summit, an extraordinary gathering of all 27 EU heads of government and China’s leader Xi Jinping scheduled for September 14 in Leipzig was
The explosion and fire on board a supertanker off Sri Lanka this month, following closely on last month’s disastrous oil spill in Mauritius, serve as a reminder that environmental security threats are front and centre of security concerns among many Indian Ocean states. This issue will become only
In the aftermath of Islamic State’s defeat, it was anticipated that fighters and other members of the group would appeal to the very court system of a liberal democracy whose laws they rejected and whose way of ordering society they sought to supplant when they joined the terrorist group. And in
How will Covid-19 affect electoral democracy in Australia and around the world?
The pandemic has starkly revealed two fundamental aspects of successful democracy: the extent of a given society’s trust between its citizens and their government, and the capacity of those same governments to