Thursday 30 Jun 2022 | 11:46 | SYDNEY
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What the Ukraine crisis means for the Indo-Pacific

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has overturned the post-1945 international system.  Attention has focused on the sea change in European attitudes to security threats, the defence spending that Russia’s aggression has produced, and the sobering challenge Russia’s invasion poses to accepted

Ukraine: The United States re-establishes its credentials

The Biden administration played a critical role in assembling the European and global coalition to punish Russia’s unprovoked invasion of neighbouring Ukraine, and in so doing displayed American diplomatic power at its best: leading without dominating.   The White House overcame well-

Putin and Xi: Surviving Ukraine

Polling by Russian Field at the end of February indicated that a majority of Russians (59 per cent) supported Vladimir Putin’s “special military operations” in Ukraine. Yet, the longer the war goes on in Ukraine, and the more restrictive international economic sanctions become, factors from

Reading Southeast Asia on Ukraine 

Southeast Asia doesn’t much matter to the outcome of a war far away in Europe. Yet Southeast Asian countries responses to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine offer an insight into the region’s ability to navigate sharpening major power rivalries. So how does the region’s response stack up so far

The Ukraine crisis and Timor-Leste

In the midst of an international crisis, it is remarkable when small countries still find the courage to adhere to their democratic principles. This time the Timorese government has chosen to respect its independence history and democratic values by condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine. This

Squaring the circle in Ukraine

Vladimir Putin proclaimed set of objectives for his newest invasion of Ukraine appear paradoxical. Putin noted Russia’s key aims for Ukraine were a replacement of Volodymyr Zelensky’s “Nazi” government, demilitarisation, rejection of NATO membership, recognition of the separatist states in

China needs to rethink its Russia policy

When the Chinese embassy in Ukraine hastily began the evacuation of its citizens much later than those of other nations, it seemed a sign that Beijing either wasn’t given advance notice of the Russian invasion, or at least failed to grasp the immediacy. In a call with Russian President Vladimir

Sanctions bite – but how dangerously?

Though not without precedent against lesser rivals, the decision to impose severe financial sanctions against a major economy – and a nuclear-armed great power – has been a dramatic step. Not only are Russian elites, and Vladimir Putin himself, being economically targeted following the

Ukraine: Winning online matters less on the ground

One week in, the information war that has accompanied, and to an extent framed, the military invasion of Ukraine has not gone as Vladimir Putin may have hoped. But it still might. So far, the use of social media during, and as part of, the conflict has been encouraging for those in Ukraine, in

The half-hour that fundamentally split Germany from Russia

If you want to see how Vladimir Putin’s aggression is reshaping the European mindset then Germany offers the best view. It’s remarkable how far strategic thinking has shifted in Berlin in just two weeks. As recently as 15 February, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz was in Moscow pursuing dialogue

Ukraine: what are Putin’s options now?

Vladimir Putin’s second invasion of Ukraine has not gone to plan. He has overestimated the capability of his own armed forces, while underestimating the strength of Ukrainian resistance, and the unity of the Western response. After failing to take Kyiv with a lightning raid that would have

Will cryptocurrency allow Russia to bust sanctions?

It wasn’t that long ago that sanctions busting was a relatively straightforward, if risky, gig. As Australian wheat exporter AWB showed when Saddam Hussein’s Iraq was under sanction in the late 1990s and early 2000s, it was a case of lining up a few officials, throwing in some kickbacks and

Russia is losing the information war

On the morning of 26 February, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky posted a short video on social media from outside of his office. His face looked exhausted after another sleepless night in the capital of Kyiv where Russian forces tried to enclose the government quarter. Zelensky is apparently

China and the Ukraine crisis

The 2008 financial crisis accelerated China’s emergence as a global power in ways that Beijing found unsettling. The economic mess in the North Atlantic world thrust the People’s Republic of China into a global position that it had thought would take a generation to reach. Suddenly China could

The election for the future of the internet

In September this year, UN member states will cast their votes for the next secretary-general of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). While elections for bureaucratic positions in obscure, technical UN bodies normally pass unnoticed, the ITU has emerged as the major battleground in

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

Putin seeks to rewrite history

Vladimir Putin has confirmed the grim news that Russian troops are readying to roll across the border into eastern Ukraine. But the sight of massive military convoys and changing facts on the ground in the days ahead should not overshadow the magnitude of the words Putin has used to justify his

Damage limitation and US nuclear strategy

Almost four years ago, I argued in The Interpreter that Vladimir Putin’s decision to pursue a range of weapons specifically designed to defeat America’s Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) system was irrational behaviour, being an expensive solution to a problem which did not exist. In particular

Putin’s choice

Whatever steps Vladimir Putin takes over coming days will be deeply consequential for the security of both Russia and Europe. What does Putin want? Firstly, he wants to bring Ukraine back within Russia’s orbit. This is partly for emotional reasons of national identity and imperial nostalgia:

The curious case of Blenheim Reef

A remote sandbank in the middle of the Indian Ocean, known as Blenheim Reef, is hitting the international news. The Mauritian government has sponsored an expedition to the reef to embarrass Britain in their long-running dispute over ownership of the Chagos Archipelago – which is home to the US

Military operations in a more transparent world

In the past eight years, little short of a revolution has occurred in the world of “OSINT” – that is, Open Source Intelligence, information gathered from publicly accessible data – and especially Imagery Intelligence (IMINT), which analyses images gathered by assets from satellites to spies

Europe can’t pass the buck on Ukraine

In President Vladimir Putin’s inauguration speech in 2000 he stated that Russia must “defend Russian citizens everywhere” and create a country which is “respected in the world”. Ever since, Putin has been committed to implementing his geostrategic plan of returning Russia to what he thinks

Mauritius sets sail to Chagos

On Tuesday, Mauritius made good on a long-standing threat to Britain and sent a boatload of officials to visit the Chagos Archipelago without permission. This action has placed Britain, which administers the disputed island territory, in a very difficult position. Touted by Mauritian Prime

Can the new German foreign minister make a difference?

It is less than two months since Angela Merkel stood down as chancellor of Germany, and a “traffic light” coalition government comprising the Social Democrats, Greens and Free Democrats was installed in Berlin. We are still getting to know the faces in the new administration. One of them,

How to speak green: Europe’s new energy taxonomy

It could “destroy the future of our children,” claimed Austria’s Environment Minister Leonore Gewessler. “We believe this technology is too dangerous,” said German government spokeswoman Christiane Hoffmann. Luxembourg’s Energy Minister Claude Turmes called it a “provocation”. Were

Living with a feared China and Russian-built chaos

To Western eyes, China’s wolf-warrior foreign affairs policy and Russia’s extravagant threats over Ukraine can appear cryptic. These seem designed not to make friends but rather to antagonise others. Moreover, Chinese and Russian actions don’t seem to be advancing their interests. Instead,

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

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