Tuesday 15 Jun 2021 | 08:06 | SYDNEY
What's happening on
Sam Roggeveen's picture
People | experts Sam Roggeveen
Director, International Security Program
Lowy Institute
Sam Roggeveen's picture
Areas of ExpertiseChina’s military forces, US defence and foreign policy, Australian foreign and defence policy, drones and other military technology, blogs and online media.

Julie Bishop at the Lowy Institute

Yesterday the Lowy Institute hosted Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, whose speech focused largely on the Turnbull Government's economic diplomacy agenda. You can watch the full video below. The economic focus allowed Bishop to pivot into domestic debates from time to time, which is not surprising in

Brexit: Where are all the Leave pundits?

Daniel Woker writes on these pages that the Brexit campaign 'lack(s) any intellectually sound argument'. Judging by how difficult it has been for my colleagues and I at The Interpreter to find writers who favour the Leave campaign, it is tempting to agree. And The Interpreter is not alone: we have

Terrorism and the value of life

Anne-Marie Balbi says of the Orlando shootings that 'So intense and regular is media coverage of such incidents that the impact is being muted. The terrorists are failing in their goal of instilling fear because to feel fear we need to be human and each mass shooting diminishes our humanity.' But if

A long weekend for The Interpreter

  Along with the most of Australia, The Interpreter is taking Monday off (note to international readers: it's slightly embarrassing to say why Monday is a holiday; I mean even the Brits don't take a day off for the Queen's birthday). You will see some new stuff on the site on Monday but normal

Who has the best national anthem?

This morning I stumbled on an economics blog which claimed bluntly, and without much argument, that the Soviet national anthem was the best ever: I'm not saying this claim is wrong (the version in The Hunt for Red October is pretty stirring too, though the accents sound dodgy), it just needs some

South China Sea: Two things you should read

First, this speech by Singapore’s Ambassador-at-Large Bilahari Kausikan, delivered in Tokyo last week (thanks Merriden): The South China Sea (SCS) has emerged as something of a proxy for the adjustments underway between the US and China. I do not think either is looking for trouble. War by design

Calling BS on Donald Trump

My apologies for lowering the tone, but would it help if I told you that the term 'bullshit' has some academic pedigree, primarily thanks to a famous essay by the philosopher Harry Frankfurt? Here he is on the important distinction between bullshitting and lying: The liar is inescapably concerned

Leaders' debate: Why the world did not intrude

Admittedly, it is crashingly boring for policy analysts to complain that their pet issue gets too little attention from our political leaders. But last night's leaders' debate was notable for the fact that the outside world barely intruded into the discussion. Apart from a brief segue on border

The revolting male

Looking for a universal, all-purpose hypothesis for the weirdness that is Trump, Sanders, Brexit, Austria's near-miss with a far-right presidency, and the worldwide decline in democracy? How about neoliberal globalisation? The neofascist reaction, the force behind Trump, has come about because of

US claims unsafe intercept by Chinese jets

In light of the news that Chinese fighters conducted what the Pentagon calls an 'unsafe intercept' of one of its reconnaissance aircraft flying over the South China Sea on Tuesday (according to the US, the Chinese jets flew within 50 ft of the the American plane, forcing it to descend), it is worth

Is Trump sparking an election debate about the alliance?

Fairfax's Daniel Flitton today identifies four important areas of foreign policy difference between Labor and the Coalition: the East Timor boundary dispute, nuclear abolition, freedom-of-navigation exercises in the South China Sea, and Israel-Palestine. I  wonder if we saw a fifth factor open up

Donald Trump's reality-show campaign

Given how often we're now hearing about the parallels between Donald Trump's campaign and reality television (even President Obama is discussing it), it's worth highlighting this brilliant two-and-a-half minute evisceration of The Apprentice, the show Trump fronted for 14 seasons. It's a 2009 sketch

Movie trailer: Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk

This looks amazing: Ang Lee directing and Steve Martin in a dramatic role is is enough to whet my appetite, but it looks like the film also explores the phony 'thank you for your service' patriotism that the Lowy Institute's recent guest James Fallows has written about in 'The Tragedy of the

Movie Trailer: Snowden

It's an Oliver Stone film, so it's no surprise to see a trailer that reflects the paranoid-conspiratorial strain in Stone's political views. Stone has ideological enemies who made much of the director's historical over-reach in JFK (1991). The problem for those critics now is that Stone's wild

How Britain is (and isn't) just like North Korea

A clever YouTube user has mixed audio of a BBC report about a military parade to mark Kim Jong Un's birthday with footage of a military parade in honour of Queen Elizabeth II: Before you get on your high horse, I don't think the point here is to say that Britain is just like North Korea. Rather,

A pause for ANZAC Day

Today Australians pause to remember those who have served, and fallen, in wartime. Normal service will resume tomorrow on The Interpreter. Photo by Flickr user Department of Veterans' Affairs

Japan's submarine bid looks sunk

Yesterday the ABC's Chris Uhlmann delivered the scoop that federal cabinet had all but rejected Japan's bid to build 12 new submarines for the Royal Australian Navy. The Australian's Brendan Nicholson reinforced the story today, and last weekend Hamish Mcdonald had a piece along similar lines,

Soryu-class submarine arrives in Sydney

My colleague Euan Graham snapped these grainy shots of the Japanese Soryu-class submarine SS-503 Hakuryu from the ferry as he made his way to the office earlier today. As Euan points out on Twitter, this is history in the making — the first Japanese submarine to pass through Sydney Heads since the

Why robots are not coming for your job

Fascinating post about the economics of artificial intelligence (AI) from economist Tyler Cowen: The Artificial in AI can sometimes mislead so let’s start by getting rid of the A and asking instead whether more NI, Natural Intelligence, will decimate the middle class. For example, will

The China crackdown: Shaping opinion at home and abroad

In the New York Review of Books, Orville Schell describes a disturbing trend towards tighter suppression of opinion by Chinese authorities, who are not stopping at the border: ...what has been perhaps most unexpected about this trend is the way that Beijing has begun to extend its claim to control

The US presidency, on screen

The US president is seemingly everywhere as a fictional character these days, but let's bring together some more recent developments in the sub-genre. First, a trailer for Bryan Cranston's depiction of LBJ in All The Way: The latest season of House of Cards started screening on Netflix this month

Between the lines of Malcolm Turnbull's Lowy Lecture

The mood was pretty sombre at last night's annual Lowy Lecture delivered by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, with events in Brussels on everyone's mind. The presence of Belgium's ambassador to Australia, Jean-Luc Bodson, was acknowledged with a warm round of applause, and the Prime Minister seemed

What Japan wants from the submarine deal

Last week while I was in Japan I shared a few thoughts about what I heard locally regarding the submarine project ('What the Submarine Contract Means to Japan'). This contract obviously means a great deal to the Japanese Government, and that judgment goes well beyond its economic value. As I said

Obama on China, weak and strong

There is a lot of fascinating reading in Jeffrey Goldberg's cover story for the latest issue of The Atlantic, which is centred on a long interview with President Obama about his foreign policy. After you've finished it, be sure to also read this companion piece by NY Times commentator David Brooks

What the submarine contract means to Japan

I'm on a short visit to Japan this week courtesy of Japan's Foreign Ministry, and it will not shock you to hear that submarines have been a prominent topic in my discussions with Foreign Ministry and Defence Ministry officials. It has been interesting to note that these officials are not at all shy

We're looking for more women to write for The Interpreter

International Women's Day is a good opportunity to reiterate a call I put out last year at this time for more female contributors to The Interpreter. That piece got a lot of reaction, and some terrific pieces came out of it. I hope we can do the same this year, and we're particularly on the look-out

At the heart of the Turnbull-Abbott dispute is...China

Well, you can't say we couldn't have seen this coming. Early last week former PM Tony Abbott wrote an op-ed for The Australian basically saying that his support of the Turnbull Government's defence white paper, due to be released later that week, was conditional on the Government maintaining the

Abbott sets benchmark for Turnbull's Defence White Paper

The Government is set to finally release its Defence White Paper later this week, with the document having been delayed a few times under former Prime Minister Tony Abbott and then set back several months when he was replaced by Malcolm Turnbull. Abbott has written an op-ed on the White Paper for

Video: What a Trump rally is like

I confess I didn't sit through the whole 20 minutes of this film, all filmed with shaky phone cameras, though nicely edited. But I did find parts of it revealing: [vimeo:153723787] You sense from his supporters that Trump's campaign is almost pure emotion. Most of those interviewed in this film cite

Immigration: The key to economic success

For those interested in the themes raised by Michael Fullilove in his Boyer Lectures on A Larger Australia last year, I would recommend George Megalogenis' latest book, Australia's Second Chance, which makes the case that the periods of greatest Australian prosperity are linked directly to high

I fear for Stephen Colbert

I bow to few in my admiration of Stephen Colbert, a brilliant comedian as well as a rather fascinating human being. But I wonder if his big move from Comedy Central, where he inhabited the character of a right-wing blowhard pundit on The Colbert Report, to CBS, where he took over from the legendary

Does Obama's 'level set' underestimate China?

When President Obama turned to foreign policy in his final State of the Union speech yesterday, he used a phrase that seems to come from a maths textbook. Here's the relevant passage, with emphasis added: No nation attacks us directly or our allies because they know that’s the path to ruin.

Taking North Korea seriously

Great insight here from Joel Wit, who spent 20 years negotiating with North Korea and is the founder of the North Korea website, 38North: Americans and the international community have a comic book image of North Korea. We simply don’t take them seriously... ...I have been meeting with North

Update on recent Chinese military developments

The December-January holiday period was a memorable one for China military watchers, with two important developments. The first was photos (see above, courtesy of Chinese Military Aviation) of what is widely believed to be the first production version of the J-20 heavy stealth fighter. Readers

See you in 2016

Readers, this is where The Interpreter says goodbye for another year. My thanks to Emma Connors and Brendan Thomas-Noone, who put The Interpreter together each day, and to the many others at the Lowy Institute and at Twisted Pear who support the site in various ways. Of course, my thanks to the

Look out for 'The Big Short'

Back in September I featured a trailer for the a new film about the US financial crisis, The Big Short. On the evidence of the trailer, I wondered what direction the film would take: 'Will it look for a villain (greedy bankers), which is easy and emotionally satisfying for a movie audience, or will

Pages