Wednesday 28 Jul 2021 | 11:50 | SYDNEY
What's happening on
  • 28 Jul 2021 11:30

    India: A very colonial hangover

    The Pegasus spyware saga puts a spotlight, again, on a lack of parliamentary accountability for intelligence agencies.

  • 28 Jul 2021 06:00

    Merkel and beyond

    With grace under pressure, Angela Merkel has led Germany through several emergencies. What of the next Chancellor?

  • 27 Jul 2021 10:00

    The connectivity trade-off from social media misinformation

    Countries of the Global South hold the greatest potential for new internet users. But also the spectre of violence.

Global Issues

Postcard from Tokyo 2020+1

My university campus sits amid several Olympic venues and the international media centre, down by the ports on Tokyo Bay. From my tenth floor office, I can observe the construction of the second Olympic flame plinth and across the port, the island where canoeing events will be held. On the other

The G20 “diplomacy dividend”

The last 18 months have been trying times for the Group of 20 (G20). The Covid world continues to challenge the effectiveness of multilateralism – the practicalities as well as the policy issues. While the government-to-government track of the G20 appears held together by a hybrid of in-person and

Sun, surf and a sandbox escape from a pandemic

Before the pandemic, Thai island Phuket offered visitors the perfect blend of sun, beach and seedy-but-fun nightlife as one of the region’s best-known tourist destinations. Now, it offers visitors something much more novel: a quarantine free holiday. As of the start of July, fully vaccinated

Afghanistan, Australia and the visa conundrum

With the advance of the Taliban in parts of Afghanistan and the withdrawal of coalition forces, the question of how to help Afghans who worked intimately with Australian forces has become a significant media and political issue. Former Prime Minister John Howard, who dispatched Australian troops to

Whatever happened to the South China Sea ruling?

Five years ago on this day, an international tribunal in a landmark ruling dismissed Beijing’s claim to much of the South China Sea. The Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague said on 12 July 2016 that there was no evidence that China had exercised exclusive control historically over the key

Covid crisis deepens in junta-ruled Myanmar

A worsening third wave of Covid-19 is a cruel new blow in Myanmar, still reeling from the human costs of the coup on 1 February, and with a military junta more focused on combatting dissent than combatting the virus. Thousands of new cases have arisen since late May, and the Delta, Alpha and Kappa

Lowy Institute Diplomat Database

This Lowy Institute interactive uncovers the changing face of Australia's diplomatic network, tracking 47 years of Australian diplomatic appointments overseas. The data reveals the way issues such as political affiliation, gender, family background, and education have shaped Australia’s

Staying ahead in global tech leadership

On the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party, President Xi Jinping reiterated the longstanding Chinese goal of strengthening science and technology to help achieve national rejuvenation. China’s advances in areas such as 5G, artificial intelligence, and facial recognition have already

Aiding the Pacific during Covid: An update

More than a year into the Covid-19 pandemic, how much outside financial support is the Pacific receiving and how far does this go in helping the region weather the crisis? This time last year in The Interpreter we took stock of the provision of Covid-19 related external financial assistance to the

Rules-based order: What’s in a name?

The rules-based order (RBO) concept is a bit like the Australian property market – just when it seems to have peaked, it surges again. The RBO has endured despite its extremely uninspiring name and the return of “great power competition”. Observers might expect that this competition would

A Cold War deal on ice: The Antarctic Treaty at 60

The Antarctic Treaty is celebrating an important anniversary. Negotiated in 1959, the treaty entered into force on 23 June 1961. The first meeting of the treaty parties was held at (Old) Parliament House in Canberra on 10 July 1961. There were only 13 original state parties: Argentina, Australia,

Economic diplomacy: Trade deals for a fast-growing family

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

New push for WTO trade reform

With the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Doha Round of negotiations stalled nearly 20 years after its launch, it takes an optimist to see the prospect of the multilateral rules-based trading system being brought back from the brink. Dramatic shifts in geopolitical and economic weight across the WTO

R2P: An idea whose time never comes

In May, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution to include an item about “the Responsibility to Protect” on the Assembly’s annual agenda. On one view, the resolution is not a big deal. There are more than 100 standing items on the annual agenda, on topics ranging from

Scholar, advocate, judge: James Crawford 1948–2021

James Crawford, who passed away on Monday, was the most influential Australian international lawyer of all time. Many of us in the field hope for some measure of success as scholars, advocates, or perhaps as a judge. Crawford’s greatness in all three areas might have been infuriating had he not

Gab’s gift to the far right

As major social-networking platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have increased their efforts at moderation to crack down on hateful and extremist content, they have become less attractive to adherents of the far right. In response, new platforms belonging to the right-wing alternative-technology

Is Southeast Asia ready for a US-China tech decoupling?

Recent developments suggest that both China and the United States are taking steps towards unravelling or “decoupling” their technology ecosystems. Nowhere has this been more evident than in the semiconductor industry, which manufactures the chips allowing everything from smartphones to cars to

Putting the pandemic in perspective

Book Review: Fareed Zakaria, Ten Lessons for a Post-Pandemic World (Penguin, 2021) Perhaps the most original contribution of Fareed Zakaria’s new book Ten Lessons for a Post-Pandemic World is his “general theory” of Covid-19. Zakaria looks back 20 years to the political

Thailand’s overcrowded prisons hit by Covid-19 surge

Thailand emerged from the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic as one of the best performing countries in the world in terms of minimising cases and deaths. But 2021 has been a different story. A surge in infections since the beginning of April has seen thousands of new cases each day and a spike

South Korea’s green goals

Last year, South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in launched a climate-change policy branded as a “Green New Deal” as part of a wider stimulus package for the country’s pandemic-afflicted economy. This sat alongside a commitment to achieve a net-zero carbon emissions target by the year 2050

PNG can’t turn a blind eye to the conflict next door

A video recently surfaced on social media in Papua New Guinea, featuring a group of about 20 men, gathered around their apparent leader, declaring war on Indonesia. “People of East Sepik,” the leader says, referring to one of the two provinces which stretch along PNG’s northern coastline

Why did Australia sign the Moon Treaty?

International space law has again become a theatre of geopolitical competition. Unlike the bipolar space race of the Cold War era, a proliferating cast of countries and corporations are developing spacefaring capacity, testing the limits of existing law. China recently matched the United States in

Violent extremism: The ghost or the machine?

The Australian parliament’s Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security is currently holding an inquiry into extremist movements and radicalism in Australia. It is only the second issues-based inquiry that this particular committee has conducted; the first was into the politically charged

Lessons from the recent cyclone in Timor-Leste

The cyclone which hit Timor-Leste on 4 April was traumatising. We were awakened at 3 am by heavy rain and winds gusting at more than 125km/hour. Water began to flood into our house, and 15 minutes later we had to escape by swimming. The water reached almost two metres. Throughout, I had to keep

When border control goes over the line

The failure of the Australian government to return citizens and permanent residents from New Delhi on the first repatriation flight to Darwin since the recent shutdown of air travel from India amounts to an Australian policy failure and a breach of international law. A travel ban on direct flights

Patent waiver for vaccines is a plus, but no panacea

The United States has thrown its support behind demands from developing countries to temporarily waive intellectual property (IP) rights for Covid-19 vaccines. Other rich countries, including Australia, that are yet to change their position at the World Trade Organisation should also do so with the

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