Wednesday 23 Sep 2020 | 08:21 | SYDNEY
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Global Issues

ISIS looks to prosper in a world distracted by the virus

The coronavirus pandemic has hit the heart of Europe. The severity of the virus has forced policymakers to shift their priorities almost exclusively to the home front. As a result, international security concerns, particularly the fight against the remnants of ISIS in Iraq and Syria, which had until

Missing in action: The G20 in the Covid crisis

As the Covid-19 pandemic deepens, the need for international cooperation to deal with the twin health and economic crises has been highlighted. While much is made of the failings of the World Health Organization, other international bodies have fared no better. In particular, the G20 – which

The case for the World Health Organisation

International organisations often bear the brunt of the blame when global progress is stalled ­– whether criticised for sapping the sovereignty of states in the name of common interests, or falling short of their stated goals and agenda. It’s a familiar story, and not entirely incorrect, when

The complex consequences of a plunging oil price

Oil made headlines around the world again today, with US oil prices falling below zero for the first time. So what does it mean? Three perspectives can help to make sense of the headlines. First, from an economic perspective it’s quite simple – the supply of oil has outstripped demand and

If this is war, that Zoom call is part of the battle

In recent weeks, several world leaders, including US President Donald Trump and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, have invoked combat-related terms to summarise efforts to contain and contest the novel coronavirus and its effects. As each day we track the progress of casualties, emergency

Safety of life at sea: Covid‑19 and naval operations

The potential impact of Covid-19 on naval operations has been highlighted by reports that over half of the 2,000-plus sailors aboard the French carrier Charles de Gaulle have tested positive for COVID-19. The ship left a NATO exercise ten days early and returned to port in Toulon to allow

The vanishing hegemon

Has the corona crisis already changed the world? Many people certainly seem to think so. From doomsday prognoses of a collapse into a bio-authoritarian dystopia to cheerful visions of a rejuvenated benevolent state, commentators the world over have already identified 2020 as the date on which a new

New Zealand: Life under lockdown and the view of outside

Where are we in the fourth week of lockdown in New Zealand? The borders are sealed. As I was writing this, the Flight Radar 24 app had only two domestic flights taking place across the entire country. There were no outbound international flights, and only three aircraft heading in. The

What price privacy? Contact tracing apps to combat Covid

Few in the West would have imagined two months ago that their government would consider tracking their personal mobile phones. But as Covid-19 rapidly sweeps through cities and incapacitates health systems, manual tracing of potentially infected individuals can no longer keep up. Even

In the US, a campaign with no trail

In the midst of a public health pandemic, the 2020 presidential election has receded into the background of American political life. Candidates have been forced off the campaign trail. There are no rallies for the press to cover and fundraising efforts are stalled. Most states with near-term

Covid-19: Why did global health governance fail?

The system that has been developed to provide a global response to epidemics and pandemics has failed miserably. Covid-19 has spread all over the world, shutting down entire countries. Governments, and even subnational governments, are now competing fiercely for scarce medical stocks, while critical

Covid-19 and Pacific labour

As borders close and globalisation contracts, consider the impact on the Pacific Island neighbours. Many countries in the region rely on labour mobility, with workers sent to Australian and New Zealand to help with fruit picking and work in regional areas. Workers on these schemes send around A$9,

As Africa prepares to fight Covid-19, China steps up

As China slowly begins to recover from Covid-19 and re-start its economy, it is seeking to position itself at the head of the global virus response and fill the void in humanitarian assistance created by Western paralysis. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Africa, where China has a long history

Covid-19: A war of words

Once upon a time in a United Nations press office, in a country where the routine threat of violence made armchair pursuits something of a sport, a group of colleagues started a collection of all the bureaucratic jargon and mumbo-jumbo we encountered in our daily dealings with official information

Cry the beloved world

The first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic unfolded in China starting in December last year. We watched on with growing alarm, but thought that it wouldn’t happen here. The second wave has been unfolding from mid-February onwards in the rich countries of the world (as well as Iran). Some have

WHO and China: Compounding politics and policy

This should be the greatest hour for the World Health Organisation, the UN’s Geneva-based body dedicated to fighting just such a global threat as Covid-19. Instead, WHO is struggling to defend its own credibility – while the impact of the contortions into which it has forced itself by adhering

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