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Cold front: Antarctica and its military future

Book Review: The Future of Antarctica: Scenarios from Classical Geopolitics, by J McGee, D Edmiston and M Haward (Springer, 2022) For a place that is agreed by treaty to be used only for peaceful purposes, scientific investigation, and conservation as well as use of its living resources, a lot of

History lessons from “The Great Crash”?

In J.K. Galbraith’s entertaining 1954 account of the stock-market collapse of 1929 The Great Crash (re-released by Penguin in paperback last year), the celebrated economist took delight in recording the madness of crowds, responding to the lure of easy wealth. Galbraith observed that, unlike

That 70s show for an Interpreter 2021 favourite

Our end-of-year series as the Lowy Institute staff offer their favourite books, articles, films or TV programs for 2021. More recommendations and reflections. –Eds A reader got in touch this year to recommend Christian Caryl’s Strange Rebels. The book charts the remarkable

Ear worms for The Interpreter’s 2021 favourites

Our end-of-year series as the Lowy Institute staff offer their favourite books, articles, films or TV programs for 2021. Watch for more recommendations and reflections in the days ahead. –Eds Nobody ever accused me of being an early adopter of new tech. At least a decade

Red obsession: The Interpreter’s 2021 favourites

Our end-of-year series as the Lowy Institute staff offer their favourite books, articles, films or TV programs for 2021. Watch for more recommendations and reflections in the days ahead. –Eds Staggering, saturated to the eyeballs in whiskey and cheap ale, a pair of untidy out

Twenty years of BRICS

It is 20 years since Goldman Sachs chief economist Jim O’Neill invented the BRIC economic grouping – Brazil, Russia, India and China – with South Africa added later to make up the BRICS. He celebrated this anniversary with a self-congratulatory article in the Financial Times, expressing his

Regulate against the machine

Book review: We, the Robots? Regulating Artificial Intelligence and the Limits of the Law, by Simon Chesterman (Cambridge University Press, 2021) From Tesla’s self-driving cars that can comfort your dog, to OpenAI’s large language model that writes decent essays and code, more and more

9/11: A President reacts on a day of fear and anger

Twenty years on, there are many different ways to remember 9/11. Many rightly focus on the families of the victims, as Jennifer Senior does in her remarkable article in The Atlantic describing the way grief echoed through the lives of a single family. The Lowy Institute has released a new

Did 9/11 change our world?

We asked six experts, “Did 9/11 define our world? If so, how? If not, what did?” After each of their responses to these questions, editor Lydia Khalil challenges the experts with questions that delve deeper into their rationales and reasons

Debating the alliance

Book review: Emma Shortis, Our Exceptional Friend: Australia’s Fatal Alliance with the United States (Hardie Grant, 2021) Depending on your perspective, Australia’s China debate might be relatively sophisticated, or resemble shell-churned ground in a war zone. Either way, it’s noisy and

Australia and LGBTQI rights

Less than a month into his term, US President Joe Biden issued a Memorandum on Advancing the Human Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex (LGBTQI) Persons around the World. Biden’s foreign policy focus on LGBTQI rights confirms that it is now time for Australia to step

Why politics and pandemics don’t mix

Book review: Michael Lewis The Premonition: A Pandemic Story (W. W. Norton & Company, 2021) Way back in October 2019, before most anyone had heard of Covid-19, a group of experts from the Nuclear Threat Initiative, Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and The Economist Intelligence

China debate not just a matter of hawks and doves

Book Reviews  Peter Hartcher Red Zone: China’s Challenge and Australia’s Future (Black Inc., 2021)David Brophy China Panic: Australia’s Alternative to Paranoia and Pandering (La Trobe University Press, 2021) If you wanted to give a political outsider a sense of

What to do after the Taliban take-over

I am not an emotionally detached observer of Afghanistan. The country was once my second home, and I still have friends and colleagues there. Frankly, I am gutted – it is hard to erase the kind of images that emerged from Kabul airport on Monday. Nor should we, this is what desperation looks like

Defending the liberal international order

Book review: G. John Ikenberry A World Safe for Democracy: Liberal Internationalism and the Crises of Global Order (Yale University Press, 2020) Big ideas about how the world works, and how it should work, are getting more attention as old assumptions are jolted by the pandemic, the Trump

China’s forced invisibility of LGBTQ communities on social media

This week, Chinese multinational technology giant Tencent shut down hundreds of accounts on WeChat linked to LGBTQ groups. Suddenly millions of queer people in China were confronted by a blunt message on their favourite social media accounts: In response to related complaints, all content has been

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

Ethiopia matters to the world

On 21 June, Ethiopians voted in long-awaited and twice-delayed parliamentary elections. These were the first polls held under the premiership of controversial Nobel Peace Prize winner Abiy Ahmed, in a country now embroiled in a civil war in the northern region of Tigray, a border dispute with

The battle for Africa

In his first overseas trip as US President, Joe Biden has flagged he intends to rally European allies in a critical “battle between democracies and autocracies”, and “make it clear to Putin and to China that Europe and the United States are tight”. Biden is not the only one in

An unwelcome wake up call

Australia’s chief spy-catcher revealed in March that a “nest” of foreign agents had infiltrated the community – chasing secrets, cultivating local politicians, and monitoring “their country’s diaspora”. But before anyone could cry “China”, the ASIO boss was quick to add that this

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

America and China: Imagining the worst

Book Review: Elliot Ackerman and James Stavridis, 2034: A Novel of the Next World War (Penguin 2021) The book begins with a clash in the South China Sea – an imagined conflict, this being a work of fiction, but the authors explain having felt compelled to write because, in the tradition of

Covid recovery, in Australia and the world

In much of the world, Covid-19 infections continue apace, but the global economy is rapidly recovering from last year’s slump. World trade volumes and industrial production were both higher in January than they have ever been, according to data collected by the Netherlands central bank. Releasing

Legalising same-sex marriage in Japan

Last month, a Japanese district court for the first time ruled that not allowing same-sex couples to marry is unconstitutional. The verdict by the Sapporo District Court was a result of simultaneous lawsuits against the nation demanding marriage equality as well as compensation for psychological

Ordinary Nazis

Book review: Robert Gellately, Hitler’s True Believers: How Ordinary People Became Nazis (Oxford University Press: Oxford, 2020) In the end, it was all about The Idea. Thus, the historian Robert Gellately explains why so many Germans passionately attached themselves to National Socialism. In

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