Sunday 07 Mar 2021 | 22:33 | SYDNEY
What's happening on
  • 5 Mar 2021 11:00

    Her brilliant career

    An entertaining and informative memoir about a woman’s career through a deeply patriarchal profession in diplomacy.

  • 5 Mar 2021 06:00

    Vaccine hesitancy and the risks in rural Papua New Guinea

    Another vaccine drive could cause resentment among those who feel they don’t need it because “they are not sick”.

  • 4 Mar 2021 14:00

    An endless game of whack-a-mole?

    The efficacy of proscribing extreme-right groups is debated. How to keep ahead of their evolution is also challenging.


IMF's Greece mea culpa does not go far enough

Mike Callaghan is Director of the Lowy Institute's G20 Studies Centre. The IMF recently released a self-assessment of its 2010 Greek bailout program. The media commentary is summed up in the Forbes headline, IMF on Greece: We Screwed Up, But it's Really the Eurozone's Fault. Is this an example

Long weekend for The Interpreter

Monday is a public holiday in this part of the world. Normal blogging resumes on Tuesday, but depending on circumstances, we may have some coverage of the outcomes of the Xi-Obama summit on Monday, so do check in with us. For readers who are about to have a long weekend, enjoy the break.

Aid after 2015: New donors show muscle

Philippa Brant is a Research Associate at the Lowy Institute. Danielle Romanes is a research assistant in the Lowy Institute's Myer Foundation Melanesia Program. Since the beginning of this century the aid provided by the developing BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) is

In conversation: Fullilove on US envoys

On Monday I talked with Lowy Institute Executive Director Michael Fullilove about his new book Rendezvous with Destiny: How Franklin D Roosevelt and Five Extraordinary Men Took America Into the War and Into the World. Every time I read a book about World War II I feel both lucky and slightly

Reader riposte: Australian cyber threats

Kate Grayson writes: Given the Minister for Foreign Affairs' recent reluctance to comment on cyber-espionage it is interesting to note that two years ago (2 June 2011) in Senate Estimates Hearings for Foreign Affairs and Trade, the then Secretary, Dennis Richardson, was far more forthcoming

Post-MDG development framework emerging

Garth Luke leads World Vision's analysis of government aid policies. Last Friday the next set of global anti-poverty and sustainability goals took a big step closer to agreement. The UN High Level Panel of Eminent Persons (HLP), chaired by the presidents of Indonesia and Liberia and the UK

'I guess it's more international'

Marília Garcez, a volunteer steward at the game, said she had mixed feelings. "It's more beautiful but somehow less Brazilian," she said. "I guess it's more international." That quote from The Guardian, by a Brazilian asked for her views about the recently refurbished Maracana stadium in Rio, is

Structural reform: Are we slow learners?

Mike Callaghan is Director of the Lowy Institute's G20 Studies Centre. The global financial crisis has resulted in the IMF saying that there is a need to rethink macro policy. Samuel Brittan from the Financial Times has reflected on how central banks were lured into thinking that stability had been

Insolvency: When countries go broke

The debt mess in the European periphery (Ireland, Greece, Spain, Cyprus and Italy) has been a reminder of how hard it is to sort out sovereign insolvency. Much damage is done to the international economy when there are no clear rules for sovereign bankruptcy, analogous to domestic bankruptcy

Polite gloss on maritime disputes

Along with cyber security, the other cut-through issue here at the Shangri-La Dialogue has been the territorial disputes in the South China Sea and East China Sea. Yesterday I was joined by CSIS Senior Asia Adviser Bonnie Glaser to talk over some of the dangers raised by these disputes,

The G20 Leaders’ process five years on: an assessment from an Asian perspective

One of the most significant developments in global economic leadership in recent years has been the development of the G20 Leaders’ Summit. After a positive start, particularly with the 2009 London G20 Leaders’ Summit, the G20 has more recently been criticized as losing focus and making

The internet circa 1991

Just found this lovely piece of internet history while looking for something else. The Ludington Times, incidentally, hails from Michigan, though a Google search suggests it no longer exists. No doubt it was put out of business by 'a computer network called Internet

Reader ripostes: Uranium, robots and terrorism

Steve Weintz responds to Michael Angwin's piece on the normalisation of Australia's uranium trade: I wonder whether Australian uranium concerns, with government backing, might bid on Urenco? Australia would then vertically command an important percentage of both feedstock and enrichment. On a

Carbon pricing: Let the jury decide

Nicholas Gruen is CEO of Lateral Economics, Chairman of the Australian Centre for Social Innovation, an entrepreneur involved in a number of internet startups, and a regular Fairfax columnist. I concluded my previous post on climate change (cross-posted at Club Troppo) by asking rhetorically

Cyber: Four Corners overcooks it

I've been mulling over Monday night's Four Corners report on cybersecurity, and I find that my feelings are captured nicely by a Bruce Scheier column from back in March: ...remember: none of this is cyberwar. It's all espionage, something that's been going on between countries ever since

In UN, dark shades of France's Pacific past

On 17 May, French Polynesian President Oscar Temaru (pictured) achieved a long-sought after goal. The UN General Assembly passed a consensus resolution to reinscribe French Polynesia on the UN Committee of Decolonisation's list of non-self governing territories. This means French Polynesia should

Debt paranoia

Global bond markets seem determined to fight the last war. Having ignored the debt build-up that brought down the US financial system in 2008 and crippled the European periphery in 2010, debt phobia is now imposing excessive austerity on key advanced countries which should be growing faster.

Reader riposte: The US tilt in our media

Ralph Evans responds to Sam Roggeveen: You are quite right about the American tilt in the media.  An extreme case was in 2007 when Cyclone Gonu struck Oman. It was a category 5 super-cyclonic storm, in a desert country where such things are unknown. 600mm of rain fell in a day in Muscat,

Martin Wolf's climate pessimism examined

Nicholas Gruen is CEO of Lateral Economics, Chairman of the Australian Centre for Social Innovation, an entrepreneur involved in a number of internet startups, and a regular Fairfax columnist. I was contemplating writing a post on Martin Wolf's latest Jeremiad on climate change when Sam

London: Was it terrorism?

I'm not surprised to see a debate flaring up over the weekend about whether to call the brutal murder of British Army Drummer Lee Rigby an act of terrorism. See in particular the discussion between Andrew Sullivan and Glenn Greenwald, and this and this. There are arguments on both sides. My

US surveillance drones for Andamans?

In last year's National Defense Authorization Act, the US Congress instructed the Pentagon to commission an independent assessment of the overseas basing presence of US military forces. Last month, a team from RAND released the conclusions of that report. Broadly, the report considers the

Lifting Asia's economic voice

Mike Callaghan is Director of the Lowy Institute's G20 Studies Centre. One of Australia's objectives when it chairs the G20 in 2014 should be to lift the voice of Asia in global economic forums. A step in this direction would be for Australia to coordinate a joint statement by the six Asian

Friday funny: For foreign policy nerds

The 5 Best Tumblrs for Foreign Policy Nerds, reads the title of a recent post that might have been written with Interpreter readers in mind. Personally, when I first saw the post I felt a bit derelict in my duty to you, dear readers. How could I have missed International Relations as

An end to the war on terrorism?

On the face of it, President Obama's speech calling for an end to the 'perpetual' war on terrorism could not have been timed much worse. Obama's political opponents could easily accuse him of retreating in the fight against terrorism just as terrorists make another brutal statement of intent on

Reader riposte: More on pro-US media bias

Sinclaire Prowse, a Lowy Institute intern and post-graduate student with the US Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, writes: There is definitely an uneven distortion towards the US in Australian international news coverage, but it is interesting to note that this isn't an issue in

Martin Wolf's climate change column

Further to the thread I started on Monday about Martin Wolf's pessimistic column, I've had an email from economist John Quiggin which goes directly to the source of Wolf's (and my) pessimism. For Wolf, the problem is that the case for acting against climate change is always based around privation

Reader riposte: Australia's consular obligations

Andrew Farran writes: A comment on the item Australia's Consular Conundrum in Dubai, in particular the concluding observation: 'There is no doubt that the Australian Government, and its diplomats, will do their best to assist Mr Joyce and his family. But there is a doubt that their efforts will

Two documentary trailers

Approved for Adoption tells the story of Jung Henin, a Korean boy adopted by Belgian parents who becomes obsessed with Japanese pop culture. The story is told partly in live action and partly animated, and will screen at this year's Melbourne International Film Festival. The second trailer,

Reader riposte: Pro-American news bias

Rob McKay responds to Sam Roggeveen's post about the Australian media's bias towards American stories: While no doubt there is a cultural bias and it is one of the main drivers for the amount of US news Australia gets, a supply aspect is also at play and the two are connected. Also it comes

Bankers humbled in St Gallen

Dr Daniel Woker is the former Swiss Ambassador to Australia and now a Senior Lecturer at the University of St Gallen. The St Gallen Symposium, held annually at the University of St Gallen, Switzerland (my report on the 2012 edition) is smaller, more intimate and, thanks to its large student

Reader riposte: Countering Krugman

James Bloomfield writes: If you are going to link to yet more Krugman on austerity, you should also link to the contra argument, namely Tyler Cowen, Steven Pearlstein, Larry Summers, Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers, and finally N Gregory Mankiw. And I didn't even get near the Chicago Boys (

Uranium, just like any other resource

Michael Angwin is CEO of the Australian Uranium Association. The normalisation of Australia's uranium policy is almost complete. Uranium is now close to being dealt with like any other resource: on its merits for development purposes, with an informed appreciation of its properties and an

Climate activism: Bill Gates' answer

Yesterday I asked: ...if political activism is pointless and 'greening your lifestyle' is tokenistic and sends the wrong message about how the climate change problem will ultimately be addressed, what options are left for concerned citizens? What's the most meaningful thing an individual can

The global macro policy experiment

Mike Callaghan is Director of the Lowy Institute's G20 Studies Centre. The world is going through a macroeconomic policy experiment, with many countries having very high levels of public debt, short-term interest rates close to zero, and central banks with balance sheets bloated with public debt

Climate change: After activism

Martin Wolf got my weekend off to a dreadful start. I read his latest FT column (Why the World Faces Climate Chaos) on Friday, and it's been on my mind ever since. Wolf is hardly the first to lay out the reasons why climate change is such a diabolical policy problem. But if, like me, you

Australia-PNG: Maintaining momentum

Papua New Guinea has been the beneficiary of an awful lot of love from Australia of late. Our nearest neighbor has been treated to visits from the Governor-General, new Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs Matt Thistlethwaite, Foreign Affairs Minister Bob Carr, Prime Minister Julia