Wednesday 27 Jan 2021 | 17:23 | SYDNEY
What's happening on


China’s quantum satellite: Nothing is totally secure

Information warfare (or cyberwarfare) is the fifth domain of combat, after land, sea, air and space. That’s been clear for decades. Barely a month goes by without a major news story involving a major hack.  The need for secure communications has been with us for much longer, with codes and

Where Stiglitz errs

Contrary to what American Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz claims, the Euro was, and is, no mistake but rather an indispensable part of one of the world's biggest economic powers, the European Union.  Let’s recall why the single currency was introduced in the first place.

Afghans are running out of places to hide

It’s been another grim week in Afghanistan, one in which the continued descent into chaos is likely to prompt more Afghans to flee their country even though they know competition for a satisfactory end to a refugee journey is tough and getting tougher. An attack by gunmen on the elite

China and Myanmar closer to resolving dam dilemma

Earlier this month Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar's foreign minister and de facto leader, wound up her first state visit to China. During the five-day trip, Suu Kyi met with President Xi Jinping and other senior government officials, and discussed an agenda crowded with a range of pressing issues

The global trade slowdown: What can be done?

By David Gruen, Deputy Secretary, Economic and Australia’s G20 Sherpa, and Sam Bide, Economic and G20 Policy Adviser at the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet When the Prime Minister goes to the G20 Leaders’ Summit in Hangzhou late next week, it will be against the backdrop of

President Tsai's apology: Signalling the modern Taiwan

On 1 August, the new president of Taiwan, Dr Tsai Ing-wen, offered an apology to Taiwan’s indigenous peoples. In the presidential building, the apology began with a rite of offering of millet and spirits. Bunun community elder Hu Jin-niang blessed the ceremony, and Taiwanese religious leaders

Economists challenge Australia’s trade policy

By Bill Carmichael, former chairman of the Industries Assistance Commission, with the assistance of  economists named in the text below. A debate has raged for a decade about what we have gained from Free Trade Agreements (FTAs). We are now able to assess their contribution to future

What the G20 can do to advance cyber norms

The internet is now so central to the world economy (McKinsey estimates it contributed US$2.8 trillion to world GDP in 2014) we forget how weak the norms are governing behaviour online. In several areas these behaviours threaten to degrade and limit the internet’s future contribution to global

Report shows IMF in need of reform

The IMF’s Independent Evaluation Office (IEO) recently released its assessment of the IMF’s handling of the euro crisis. It was a damming report. The IMF has been heavily criticised for its response to the euro crisis, particularly its involvement in Greece. As Stephen Grenville has

The political dimension of Olympic success

There are times when national and sporting narratives seem almost to be perfectly synchronised. America’s success at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, which presaged the Reagan landslide later in the year, offered golden proof that the country’s long national nightmare of Vietnam and Watergate had

Japan's economy travels a narrow road

Desperate times call for desperate measures. The International Monetary Fund seems to have lost hope that monetary and fiscal policy can shift the Japanese economy out of its deflationary torpor. The IMF, usually the embodiment of conservative mainstream economics, has published this working paper

Documentary trailer: Do Not Resist

This is a trailer for a documentary about the fear of terrorism and the militarisation of the US police. There's a memorable shot near the end which seems to tell the whole story: a heavily armoured ex-military vehicle designed for counter-insurgency operations in Iraq drives down a suburban US

Syria: Pity the children

Given the widespread use of social media in the contemporary age, and the lack of basic humanity shown by both the regime and the opposition forces, the Syria conflict should on the face of it engender a feeling of repulsion at the actions of both sides. And to a degree it does. But one of the

India plays the Balochistan Card with China

Last week Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid down the gauntlet to Pakistan, sending a clear indication that India may be prepared to destabilise Pakistan’s fractious Balochistan province in response to perceived threats. While this represents a very significant change in India’s public

The National League for Democracy’s drug problem

Myanmar's Upper House of Parliament recently approved a proposal calling for 'prompt action' in eradicating drugs in Myanmar. Myanmar remains the second-largest poppy producer in the world (despite recent reports of reduction in output), and is an increasingly significant producer of

Against the grand political theory of everything

After the Australian election, I flirted with the notion of a worldwide trend away from globalisation, but on further reflection I am reluctant to embrace fully any grand theory about global political trends. First, the notion that Trump, Brexit, the EU crisis and even Australia's near miss with a

Bracing for the exodus from Mosul

Joint forces are planning a major military offensive to recapture the last major Iraqi city under Islamic State control - Mosul. Fierce fighting is already raging south of the city and the escalation in military activity is likely to have an even greater humanitarian toll than the battle for

Putin's plan to restore the Romanovs (Part 3)

Part two of this series examined the public rehabilitation of the Romanov Tsar Nicholas II. This part analyses what the restoration of the Romanovs might mean for Western policy. Could Putin really be planning a restoration of the Romanovs? Of Putin's three 'favourite' philosophers (Vladimir

Women in diplomacy: Look how far we've come

Last month, Frances Adamson was named as the new Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). DFAT Secretary Frances Adamson (Photo: Commonwealth of Australia/DFAT) I was delighted – partly because I know Frances and think this is a terrific appointment in its own

The anatomy of a political warning

We’re in a season of warnings. After six Chinese coastguard ships and over 200 fishing vessels sailed close to the Japanese-held Senkaku Islands (also known as the Diaoyu Islands) in the East China Sea, Japan cautioned China over its maritime adventurism. China, meanwhile, has delivered

Q&A: ABC's flagship soft-power program?

In her address to the Lowy Institute Media Award dinner, ABC Managing Director Michelle Guthrie emphasised the ABC’s soft power potential. Afterwards, Radio National presenter Mark Colvin asked her about what exactly her comments meant (Colvin's question can be heard in full from 38:27 in this

Kashmir uprising threatens the 'idea of India'

Just under eighteen months ago, Kashmir looked to be at a turning point. State elections in 2014 produced an unlikely coalition of hawks from the ruling BJP and doves from the local PDP. The BJP had historically taken a tough approach to Kashmir, while the PDP had been more sympathetic to Kashmiri

Weekend catch-up: Ausgrid, the ABC, asylum seekers and more

By John Gooding, Digital Editor at the Lowy Institute and Associate Editor at The Interpreter. On Thursday evening Jewel Topsfield of Fairfax Media won the 2016 Lowy Institute Media Award (and $20,000) for her reporting from Indonesia. At the ceremony the Institute was addressed by the new ABC

Applying the Duterte filter to US-Philippine relations

Many hoped  and others feared that US-Philippine relations would deteriorate under the Duterte Administration that came into power on 30 June. There are good reasons for this preliminary judgement. The relationship became much closer under the Aquino Administration, highlighted by the

Time for a whole-of-nation approach to asylum seekers

In a little over a month's time, a high level meeting to address large movements of refugees and migrants will take place at the UN general assembly in New York. President Obama will host the leaders summit that will call  for all member states to pledge their commitment to the international

More name games in Burma/Myanmar

Regular readers of The Interpreter will know that, over the past few years, this site has closely followed the Australian government's efforts to grapple with the diplomatic implications of the formal change of Burma's name in 1989 to Myanmar. The indications are that this saga may finally be over