Sunday 07 Mar 2021 | 22:59 | 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.


Cyprus and the euro: The first domino?

We now have a new deal for Cyprus, one that looks a fair bit closer to what the first deal should have been and what the IMF originally proposed. In particular, it backs away from the attempt to impose a levy on depositors covered by the EU-wide €100,000 deposit insurance and instead puts the

Fragile shifts in carbon tech and diplomacy

John Connor is CEO of the Climate Institute. As John Howard put it, the period from 2005 to 2007 represented a 'perfect storm' for climate action. Domestically, bushfires, water shortages in capital cities and calls from leading businesses for long, loud and legal carbon pricing built pressure

Documentary trailer: We Steal Secrets

Judging by the trailer, We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks is an admirably balanced treatment of the subject. If I have a concern, it's that it sounds like there's a lot of splicing in the audio. Understandable, on one level, since the people who put together these trailers need snappy

When countries go broke

Every country has detailed procedures to govern private sector bankruptcy. These allow the residual assets of the insolvent company to be divided equitably between creditors. The insolvent party can begin again, reputation damaged but at least able to move forward with the slate wiped clean. But

Zombie-like international institutions

This week I was involved with the OSCE-Asian Partners annual conference in Adelaide. The experience reminded me of one of the less studied and commented upon international policy dynamics: the resilience of existing international organisations that have lost their original drive, and the

Reader riposte: Describing the alliance

Nick Bisley, Head of the Department of Politics, Philosophy and Legal Studies at La Trobe University, responds to Sam Roggeveen's piece noting President Obama's description of the US-Israel alliance as 'eternal': Don't forget that in her speech to the US Congress, Gillard also struck the

MSG disaster response force? Not likely

Donald Gumbis is a lecturer in political science at the University of Goroka and an intern at the Lowy Institute. Former PNG Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare used the occasion of his visit to Fiji for the 25th anniversary celebrations of the Melanesian Spearhead Group to propose the

Reader riposte: political violence on film

Alex Burns responds to Sam Roggeveen's post on political violence in film: My list — apart from the films mentioned, and a bit broader than political violence — would include: The original mini-series version of Edge of Darkness for its study of the nuclear state, Special Operations,

Iraq an intelligence failure? Not quite

The worst mistake we can make in the aftermath of the ill-conceived decision to invade Iraq in 2003 is to draw the wrong lessons from it. Paramount among these wrong lessons is the view that the Iraq intervention resulted from an intelligence, rather than a policy, failure. Sam's earlier post

The avoidable Iraq insurgency

A warm welcome to new readers who may have just discovered our site via The Daily Beast, which has now syndicated the article we ran yesterday by former TIME magazine and CNN correspondent Michael Ware. Thanks also to Andrew Sullivan for drawing his readers' attention to the piece, and to the

Reader riposte: Australia Network

Richard Broinowski writes: I endorse strongly Annmaree O’Keefe’s five criteria for a credible Australian overseas television service – credibility, financial security, legislative protection, strategic direction and longevity. When I was with the ABC in the early 1990s, I helped prepare

America's BFF: Obama calls it

A couple of weeks ago I noted the deft rhetorical sleight of hand used by US presidents and senior policy makers to make foreign governments feel good about their relationship with the world's superpower without making other countries feel bad. The 'America has no better friend than...'

Reader riposte: Jim Molan and the Iraq debate

Sue Wareham from the Campaign for an Iraq War Inquiry writes: Maj Gen (ret’d) Jim Molan's implication that Iraq is better off now because of the 2003 invasion goes beyond incredulity. Molan appears oblivious to the memory of the likely hundreds of thousands of innocent people who have died, and

Rule 303 and political violence on film

Political Violence at a Glance is an excellent blog and they have produced a post which I am powerless to resist: a list of the best and worst movies about political violence. I don't agree with the dismissal of The Dark Knight Rises but I did appreciate the reference to the now forgotten 1998

Cyprus: More pressure on eurozone

Cyprus, Aphrodite's Island, is in trouble. And it's trouble that could further set back sentiment in a eurozone that's already been damaged by last month's inconclusive Italian elections. Now Cyprus' parliament has rejected the terms of a €10 billion bailout from Brussels and instead may have

Deconstructing reconstruction

Naima Lynch was a researcher for MSNBC and worked in media and communications in Yemen and Afghanistan. The final report from the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGUR), Stuart Bowen, was published last week. It seeks to account for the US$60 billion in American taxpayer

Iraq violence appalling by any standard

I admire Jim Molan for his dynamism and command experience, however I was left scratching my head over his pronouncements regarding the legacy of violence that Iraq suffers from ten years after the invasion.  When he claimed that 'the violence in Iraq today is far less than during Saddam's time

Reader riposte: Still more on Reagan and Gorby

Gregory MacCallion responds to two earlier posts: The most concerning aspect in regards the retouching of history is the aesthetic privileging that Reagan receives. Reagan is placed on the left, the first to be seen when reading the banner, left to right. By centralising Reagan, the size of

The decline of consent in international law

Marie-Eve Loiselle is a member of the Security Council Analysis Network, a research group focused on the work of the UN Security Council during the period of Australia's membership 2013–2014. International scrutiny of the North Korean and Iranian nuclear programs always has a strong legal

Reader riposte: More on Reagan and Gorbachev

Simon Gladman responds to Sam Roggeveen's post: Regarding the Reagan-Gorbachev image... The failure was not in forgetting to move Gorbachev's flag pin and watch, but instead in the decision by the Lowy Interpreter to even doctor the iconic image in the first place. Surely, it's not appropriate

Who is to blame for austerity?

The concerted global fiscal stimulus of 2009 is an example of excellent policy-making, the more outstanding because subsequent policies have been ineffectual in addressing the weak recovery in advanced economies. Why did success morph so quickly into the fiscal policy lethargy of the past three

Reader riposte: Reagan and Gorbachev

Gareth Evans responds to a piece flagged in last Thursday's Links: Re: 'The story behind Peter Marlow's iconic image of Reagan and Gorbachev in Vienna, which you see in our banner image.' So which image is the right way round, and which has been photo-shopped or whatever? Intrigued as to how

Is the US holding back IMF reform?

Mike Callaghan is Director of the Lowy Institute's G20 Studies Centre.   Is US leadership in the IMF and on global financial issues under threat? Over 100 former US senior policy advisors and academics think so. They wrote to Speaker of the US House of Representatives John Boehner on 11

Why is hosting the G20 important to Australia?

Hugh Jorgensen is a Research Associate in the Lowy Institute's G20 Studies Centre. This is going to become a politically vexing question for the Prime Minister ahead of the September federal election, as this year's G20 summit in St Petersburg is being held one week before Australians head to the

Pope Francis I, economic crusader

Crispin Rovere has done research on Australia-Holy See relations and is now a PhD candidate at ANU's Strategic and Defence Studies Centre. He recently wrote on Ratzinger the Reformer. The past few weeks have been a persistent break with Vatican tradition. Pope Benedict retired, being the first to

Habemus Papam

The Conclave in the Vatican surprised with its election as Pontiff Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Archbishop of Buenos Aires. Pope Francis represents a number of firsts for the Roman Catholic Church. He is the first Pope from South America, the first non-European in 1200 years, the first Jesuit, and the

Why the papal election matters

Why should international policy observers care about the election of a new pope? If you're a realist, the answer is not obvious. The Catholic Church, after all, has no divisions. But Dan Drezner offers a realist answer: ...the biggest reason the Pope matters from a power perspective is that,

What 'food industry' actually means

This clip from the film Samsara really does put the 'industrial' in 'food industry'. As Jason Kottke observes, 'The chicken picker machine hoovering up chickens and depositing them into drawers is one of the most dystopian things I've ever seen.' I've expressed scepticism previously about '

60 Minutes goes to Baghdad

Major Gen (Retd) Jim Molan is author of Running the War in Iraq. Sam Roggeveen has invited Interpreter readers to 'talk about their views of the Iraq War ten years after the invasion'. Several weeks ago, 60 Minutes invited me to Iraq to make a segment addressing this topic. After some discussion, I

Reader riposte: More on TNI reform

Edmund McWilliams writes: Gary Hogan's March 11 comment on my recent letter critiquing his article fails to address the central points of that critique. For more than a decade those who have sought to defend the TNI and presumably to encourage stronger ties between that military and other

Emerging countries go with capital flow

It goes without saying that the 2008 financial crisis altered the way capital flows between countries. Cross-border capital flows fell by 60% between 2007 and 2012. We now have enough perspective to evaluate how this might affect future flows to emerging economies. Risk perceptions altered

Whaling: A sanctuary is a sanctuary

Captain Paul Watson is founder of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.  Michael Heazle proclaims both Rear Admiral Goldrick and myself to be wrong. That is his right. Like everyone else, he has an opinion and the freedom to express it. His viewpoint is that Sea Shepherd is not upholding

The dangers of policy complacency

Mike Callaghan is Director of the Lowy Institute's G20 Studies Centre. The markets are taking in their stride the uncertain outcome from the Italian election and the continuing fiscal impasse in the US. If held last year, an Italian election with the same uncertain result would have likely

Football diplomacy redux

Last Friday the Lowy Institute released a new Policy Brief from Research Director Anthony Bubalo which urges the Australian Government, business and community groups to use Australia's hosting of the Asian Cup in 2015 to strengthen Australia's broader engagement with Asia. In this video, Anthony

Fiji police brutality: World is watching

Graphic video footage of police brutality in Fiji which emerged last week is attracting international condemnation. The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has condemned the incident and the New Zealand parliament is due to vote this week on a motion to condemn the brutality

Movie trailer: No

Synopsis: After fifteen years of military dictatorship, the public are being asked to vote in the national plebiscite of 1988 on whether General Augusto Pinochet should stay in power or whether there should be an open presidential election a year after. René works as part of a team to create

Indonesia: Yes, TNI has changed

Gary Hogan was the first foreigner to graduate from Indonesia's Institute of National Governance (Lemhannas) and was Australia's Defence Attaché to Indonesia from 2009 to 2012. When I first saw that Edmund McWilliams had apparently read my post on a changing of the guard at the top of Indonesia'

Whaling: Watson and Goldrick are both wrong

While I certainly support Rear Admiral Goldrick's condemnation of Sea Shepherd's actions in the Antarctic, I do not agree with either his representation of Japan's whaling ambitions or the link he makes between whaling and Japan's territorial tensions with China. Japan's refusal to stop whaling is

In defence of the UK Justice and Security Bill

Paul Madden is the British High Commissioner to Australia. Cynthia Banham's Interpreter article yesterday about the UK's Justice and Security Bill was rather one-sided. It's not an easy policy area. Any liberal democracy wants to uphold justice and the rule of law, but also safeguard our most

Violence: PNG's women face a crisis

It's not often in international affairs that a story about sorcery makes the headlines or that I find myself being interviewed about it. The horrendous public execution of Kepari Leniata, a young woman accused of using sorcery to cause the death of a young boy in Mount Hagen, Papua New Guinea,

Conservative governments divorcing big business?

Dr Daniel Woker is the former Swiss Ambassador to Australia and now a Senior Lecturer at the University of St Gallen. Tax may be a dry subject but Mike Callaghan's 25 February piece was anything but. Mike highlighted a recent OECD report to the G20 Finance Ministers' meeting in Moscow on '