With cruise ships banned from ports around the world, it would not be a stretch to wonder about the impact the coronavirus pandemic will have on future military movement as well. Such questions matter, for the practice of sending warships on visits to foreign ports has been an enduring feature of
Chaos is a ladder, said Littlefinger in Game of Thrones. Crisis is an opportunity, Sun Tzu didn’t say in The Art of War. Either way, in the United States, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and “infodemic”, political chaos is a clear and present danger, and an opportunity, in the covert and
In 1973 Charles Kindleberger wrote his now acclaimed book on the Great Depression. He argued that it was “great” because the global economic system had lost its hegemon – in less exotic terms, its system manager. In the interwar period, the UK was the system manager, but given the grievous
Big boys time
From media baron Rupert Murdoch to leadership rival Peter Dutton, Malcolm Turnbull’s new memoir* released this week is partly built on his self-assessment that he can size up a bully better than most.
“The one thing I’d learned with bullies is that sucking up to them is
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
Captain Brett E. Crozier, the recently deposed commander of America’s pandemic-stricken aircraft carrier the USS Theodore Roosevelt, was absolutely right when he told his superiors that “sailors do not need to die” from the Covid-19 outbreak onboard. But he was well off the mark in his
For years at the Shangri-La Dialogue, the pre-eminent meeting of defence ministers held in Singapore, successive secretaries of defence from the United States have repeated ad nauseam that Washington is a “resident power” in the region.It is becoming increasingly evident that the Covid-19
The coronavirus pandemic is a “black swan” moment: a rare and unpredictable event that could have momentous, system-wide, and unforeseen consequences. China deserves credit for having mobilised quickly, efficiently, and effectively after initial missteps to defeat the Covid-19 disease.
After he reluctantly advised Americans to stay off the streets and businesses to let their staff work from home, US President Donald Trump’s commitment to fighting the coronavirus outbreak is already wavering. Trump’s tweet late on Sunday night that “we cannot let the cure be worse than the
Back in 2008, the Democrats were excited about Senator Barack Obama’s run for US President, but he was also perceived as a newcomer and a change agent. When Senator Joe Biden – who first ran for President in 1988 – agreed to sign on as Obama’s nominee for Vice President, he provided a
The Covid-19 pandemic has thrown up some serious moral questions for society, including ones to do with decisions on treatment priorities for health workers under severe pressure. But another moral issue has arisen in the international relations field – in the midst of a pandemic, how appropriate
This is the third of a three-part series of articles examining the Democrats’ and America’s place in the world in the lead-up to the US presidential election. The first article can be read here, and the second here.
CPTPP: The trade agreement America loves to hate
The fate of the
Donald Trump doesn’t pretend to care about things he’s not interested in.
When Trump’s Secretary of Health and Human Services brought him warnings about the spread of the novel coronavirus Covid-19 in China in early 2020, the President readily agreed to institute travel bans, and then
Whatever else the rapidly evolving and increasingly global health crisis may or may not do, it’s shining an unforgiving light on the relative capacities of national health systems. Even more importantly in the longer-term, perhaps, it’s providing a searching examination of political leaders, and
This is the second in a three-part series of articles examining the Democrats’ and America’s place in the world in the lead-up to the US presidential election. The first article can be read here and the third here.
Throughout the Democratic Party primaries, the candidates have been
This is the first in a three-part series of articles examining the Democrats’ and America’s place in the world in the lead-up to the US presidential election. The second article can be read here and the third here.
The Democratic presidential contest unfolding in America presents the
In February, the United States imposed individual sanctions against Sri Lankan military chief Shavendra Silva, who is presently both the Acting Chief of Defence Staff and Commander of the Sri Lanka Army. The move essentially means that Silva and his family cannot enter the United States “due to
Mike Mazarr and I are debating the way Asia will be “governed” in future. That term needs to be placed in quote marks because international affairs aren’t analogous to domestic politics – there is no supreme sovereign authority with a monopoly on the legitimate use of force, so states
On Thursday afternoon in Boston this week, Senator Elizabeth Warren stood in front of her home with her husband Bruce Mann and dog Bailey to announce that she would be dropping out of the 2020 US presidential race.
This outcome hardly seemed likely just five months ago, when Warren was leading the
After a lacklustre start to the Democratic primary season in the race to select a candidate for the November presidential election, the results from the demographically diverse states of Nevada and South Carolina introduced some excitement with two dominant performances.
In Nevada, Senator Bernie
The recent descriptions of Russian interference in American politics, in both the Democratic primaries and the presidential campaign, are a stark reminder of the opportunities social media provides for information warfare.
This is particularly worrying given both the mountains of reports
I was delighted to read Sam Roggeveen’s thoughtful reply to The Interpreter article by Ali Wyne and myself about the relative qualities of US and Chinese power. Roggeveen makes good points; I agree, for example, that US military power has been critical to the post-war order. But I remain convinced
The termination of the 1998 Philippines-US Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) initiated by the Duterte administration will mark a historic disruption of American power projection in the Asia-Pacific, and deal a serious blow to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea–based maritime order
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has announced his first trip to Africa, 15–19 February, with stops in Senegal, Ethiopia, and Angola. The choice of these three countries demonstrates that the US remains focused on security and economic investment issues in Africa, and, in the case of Angola, is
Last week late on Wednesday afternoon, the 134-day impeachment proceedings against US President Donald Trump ended with a near party-line vote in the Senate in favor of acquittal. While few ever doubted this outcome, there were times when it seemed possible that three or four Republican Senators
This year’s State of the Union address came as part of a tumultuous trifecta, given it was wedged between the Democratic Iowa caucuses vote count fiasco and the Senate impeachment verdict. Overall, Donald Trump decided not to diverge from the presidential tradition of using the last State of the
The State of the Union, the US president’s annual speech before a joint session of congress, is invariably a theatrical affair, replete with praise for a string of everyday heroes and inspiring figures.
Superlatives being the order of the day, the State of the Union is a perfect vehicle for
Joe Hockey, former Treasurer, has stepped down as Australia’s ambassador to the United States and will soon be replaced by another former cabinet minister, Arthur Sinodinos. In bureaucracies, changes in personnel should not matter, but in this instance the change will be palpable. The new
Next Tuesday night, US President Donald Trump will deliver America’s annual State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress – the Senate and the House of Representatives combined. The address descends from a requirement in Article II, section 3 of the US Constitution. Until Woodrow
Strategic competition between the United States and China has come to dominate US foreign policy debates. That competition is multifaceted – while rooted principally in a quest for economic pre-eminence and technological mastery, it possesses increasingly important military and ideological
US President Donald Trump was quite right when he declared the 15 January US–China “Stage One” agreement an “unbelievable deal” for the United States. Unbelievable it is, though not in a good way – and especially not for Australia.
The deal requires China to import $200 billion more
Recent revelations make it clear that Iran’s willingness to confront the US following the strike that killed Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani in Baghdad was not driven just by a mix of domestic considerations and a compelling desire to retaliate. Iran’s bluntly open challenge to the US may have been
In the immediate aftermath of the Soleimani strike, Iran’s first act of retaliation was to launch 22 missiles against the US base at the Ain al-Assad airbase, in Iraq’s Sunni-dominated Anbar province. Less publicised were the seven simultaneous Iranian strikes against targets
Two years ago, US President Donald Trump agreed to negotiate with North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong-un, opening a wave of speculation, if not exuberance, that some kind of major breakthrough was in the works. Today, little has come of all the hype, and there is much reason to think that the
Last Tuesday night, six of the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates met on a debate stage in Des Moines, Iowa. This meeting was the final debate before the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses on 3 February.
While Americans generally prioritise domestic policy concerns when choosing a candidate,
The US drone strike that killed Iranian General Qasem Soleimani dominated the political discussion in Washington last week. President Trump’s decision to target Soleimani – an escalatory move in the ongoing confrontation with Iran – was an unexpected development.
The conventional wisdom was
The killing of top Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani in a US drone strike on 3 January in Baghdad has sparked fears of a regional war between Washington and Tehran. Iranian military commanders have declared that Iran was in no hurry to retaliate and would choose its targets
Criticism of Donald Trump’s brazen assassination of Iranian Quds Force commander Qassim Soleimani has rightly focussed on the unprecedented nature of the killing and the escalation in the conflict between the two countries it presents.
Imaginations have run wild with the scale and horrors
Christmas and New Year came and went without a bang on the Korean peninsula, even though North Korea had warned of a “Christmas gift” for the United States and the horrendous consequences of missing its arbitrarily set “end-of-year” deadline in the months before. Despite its series of
With Donald Trump facing an impeachment trial in the Senate and a tough re-election battle, some US rivals see the president as politically weakened, risk-averse in exerting military pressure, and incapable of delivering on diplomatic commitments. The American drone strike killing General Qassim
For a region where the security environment was already fragile, Donald Trump’s decision to kill the head of Iran’s Quds Force, along with a senior Iraqi militia leader, has increased tensions with Iran to a point not seen in many years. And while Trump took office displaying little to no
In assessing the consequences of President Donald Trump’s assassination of Qasem Soleimani, the leader of Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force, the key is the Iraqi government’s reaction. The Iraqi parliament’s resolution overnight demanding expulsion of the US military
The Trump administration rolled into 2019 poised to continue its high-wire act balancing the US president’s penchant for “alternative facts” and rapid-fire contradiction against the actual fact of America’s diminishing influence around the world.
After mid-term elections in
As 2019 winds up, Lowy Institute staff and Interpreter contributors offer their favourite books, articles, films, or TV programs this year.
A comedian with a keen eye for the ridiculous, Hasan Minhaj could not have plotted a more paradoxical situation. Sitting outside the “Howdy Modi” (yes
It may go awry between now and the promised finalisation in January, but both the US and China now agree that phase one of the most difficult bilateral economic negotiation in recent decades is over.
Unusually for this negotiation, the two sides also seem to agree on what they have agreed – at
Who dominates global trade? It is well recognised that China has become the world’s largest trading nation. Less appreciated is the effect this has had in displacing the United States from its traditional dominance as a trading partner for other countries around the world.
We examined this using