China’s application to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) just hours after announcement of the new tripartite AUKUS (Australia, United Kingdom and United States) security partnership may – or may not – have been coincidental.
There is an old saying that if you find yourself in a hole, the best course of action is to stop digging. If only Australia understood this wisdom. Abandoning the French submarine project, the government has decided to double down and design a new nuclear-powered sub with technology and assistance
As the United States, United Kingdom and Australia move to form a new AUKUS grouping, various reports have emerged of a “new Quad” led by China and featuring Iran, Pakistan and Russia. Iran’s imminent admission to the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), and plans for the four countries to
The French word déception means disappointment rather than deception, making it one of the infamous “false friends” the French language abounds in for English speakers trying to learn it. But when Naval Group, the French company that just lost what has been described in France as “
Australia is about to join an exclusive group of nations operating one of the most lethal military platforms ever conceived – nuclear-powered submarines. My initial thoughts on this extraordinary announcement are below. These are subject to revision as I think through the implications of what is a
In the 16th century the Portuguese were the first Europeans to navigate the South China Sea and lay eyes upon the thousands of islands and reefs that lay in these waters. Long years have passed since the days in which European navies played a major role in the seas of Asia. However, in recent years
Belarusian autocrat Alexander Lukashenko is under pressure and increasingly isolated. That makes him more dangerous. And it poses challenges, as well as opportunities, for his only ally, Russia.
In August 2020, mass public protests calling for political change engulfed Belarus. The
Lapped by clear waters, Chios is one of five main islands wedged in the northern Aegean Sea, a stone’s throw from Turkey. Seen from the plane, the island’s interior is dotted with quaint olive groves and walled medieval villages. On the jagged coastline stone watchtowers perch facing out to sea
The United Kingdom’s proposed “tilt” to the Indo-Pacific was met with plenty of scepticism, including from this author, when it was unveiled in March as part of a broader Integrated Review of defence and foreign policy.
Politicians and foreign policy analysts tend to obsess about
Pizza, kiwi, traffic light, Jamaica, Kenya or Germany?
This curious spectrum of possibilities currently tantalises and torments German minds. Based on the trademark colours of the country’s mainstay political parties, it refers to the bewildering constellation of potential coalitions on offer
The American withdrawal from Afghanistan offers some opportunities to Russia – but exposes it to greater uncertainty and risk.
Russia has long been ambivalent about the US/NATO force presence in Afghanistan. On the one hand, Moscow recognised, and valued, the stabilising role they played in the
Russia is one of the biggest suppliers of weapons to Southeast Asia, with Vietnam alone a major customer for Russia’s arms. While it is estimated that throughout the 1980s Moscow had provided Vietnam with an average of US$1 billion annually in military assistance and another US$1 billion annually
Sixty years have passed since the China-North Korea Treaty of Friendship, Co-operation and Mutual Assistance was signed on 11 July 1961. On the anniversary this month, China’s President Xi Jinping and North Korean chairman Kim Jong-un pledged to renew the Treaty for another 20 years, as China and
She was wading through debris left by catastrophic floods in the west of Germany. Outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel had, last week, come to assess the damage and promise help to survivors. So, too, had all three candidates in the race to succeed Germany’s long-serving leader after the federal
“The weak get beaten,” declared Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2004 after the Beslan tragedy.
Russia’s recently-unveiled new National Security Strategy bears the stamp of Putin’s world view.
It is not a revolutionary document, but builds on familiar themes identified in its 2015
Ukraine is attempting to improve its relations with China after the nation’s authorities, allegedly pressured by the United States, decided to halt the takeover of a local aircraft engine manufacturer by a Chinese company. Ukraine is typically seen as country inside a Western sphere of
Britain’s Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab made a whirlwind trip last week to Vietnam, Cambodia and Singapore – three key nations that figure prominently in the UK’s post-Brexit trade calculations. Raab boasted the Cambodia visit was the first to the country by a British foreign secretary in
The international cult-like fascination with Russian President Vladimir Putin, evident at various times among US Republicans during the Trump era, appears to have a foothold in Australia. The 2021 Lowy Institute Poll finds that Australia’s version of the “Putinistas” are more likely to be men
On a recent Saturday afternoon in Paris, thousands of protesters gathered at the Place de Clichy in the north west of the city in one of 140 so-called “Liberty Marches” across France that day in a statement against a perceived lurch to the right by mainstream politicians, especially President
Australian trade negotiators often enter talks with difficult demands and a comparatively weak hand. Agriculture, where they seek concessions from the other side, is politically sensitive meaning they are asking their counterparts to do what is hard. In exchange, they have little to offer because
At the conclusion of US President Joe Biden’s one-week visit across the continent and to the United Kingdom, Europeans appear to believe in the need to push back against the authoritarian China of Xi Jinping – a faith evident despite their mutual economic interests with Beijing along with a fear
In this episode of The Director’s Chair, Michael Fullilove speaks with the Brookings Institution scholar and Merkel-watcher Dr Constanze Stelzenmüller. Constanze holds the Fritz Stern Chair at Brookings
The third and final self-determination referendum in New Caledonia will take place on 12 December – the date settled after a week of ministerial consultations in Paris commencing last month between loyalists, independence advocates and the French government. This ballot will decide whether the
Worker vs worker vs student
Almost five million Kiwis have always been at least cousins. And Scott Morrison’s distinctive contribution to regional security has been his embrace of about 10 million other islanders as “our Pacific family”.
But in a week of rhetoric about international
Following Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and incursion into eastern Ukraine, the West imposed targeted sanctions on Russia’s energy sector, the most revenue-generating part of the Russian economy. The sanctions pinpointed the key vulnerabilities within the energy sector – high
In this episode of Lowy Institute Conversations, director of the Lowy Institute's Power and Diplomacy Program Hervé Lemahieu talks with Lord Adair Turner, chair of the Energy Transitions Commission, about global climate politics leading up to COP26 in Glasgow 2021
Europe doesn’t appear likely to reduce its dependency on Russian energy any time soon. The much-discussed, much-debated construction of the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline, linking Russia with Germany via the Baltic Sea, is now almost completed. And there are signs suggesting Moscow and
The United States and Russia are both carefully managing down expectations of any dramatic breakthroughs when US President Joe Biden meets his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Geneva on 16 June – their first face-to-face contact since Biden took office.
This is understandable and sensible.
France is showing signs of frustration as it exerts all efforts to underline the real consequences of independence for those long-standing New Caledonian residents who will vote in a third and final referendum before the 1998 Noumea Accord ends next year.
French Minister for Overseas Territories
There is a curious parallel between Hong Kong and London as financial centres in potential decline due to the recent loss of a unique position.
Historically both cities were crucial nodes in the global network of the British Empire. More recently both functioned at a critical junction between the
Russia and China’s verbal sparring with the US over competing visions of multilateralism last week in the UN Security Council exemplified the closer ties forged over recent years between Moscow and Beijing.
The burgeoning relationship undoubtedly offers mutual advantage for both countries –
Aware of China’s unprecedented economic and military rise and its ambition to become a global power, and recognising the shift in the centre of international political and economic gravity away from the Atlantic, the European Union is crafting a strategy for the Indo-Pacific, which it defines as
As India grapples with an apocalyptic Covid-19 crisis at home, the Modi government put a temporary halt on its “Vaccine Maitri” (vaccine friendship) program shipping millions of vaccine doses abroad.
India had set itself an ambition to become a regional and, indeed, a global
The Biden administration’s recent comprehensive package of sanctions against Russian individuals and organisations is probably the clearest indication yet of a US decision to use sticks to moderate Moscow’s adventurism. But do these measures go far enough, and what will the US need to do next if
Russia’s long-serving Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov shuttled between Beijing, New Delhi and Islamabad in recent weeks, putting on a diplomatic display that could be described as admirably adroit as much as it was divisive. From China and India, Lavrov fulminated against a hostile America’s
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