Tuesday 15 Jun 2021 | 08:09 | SYDNEY
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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.

Movie trailer: Bridge of Spies

Spielberg and Hanks taking on one of the classic stories of the Cold War, the shooting down of Gary Powers' U-2 spy plane — what's not to like? And yet, am I the only one a little underwhelmed by this trailer? (H/t Slashfilm

The Interpreter is looking for a deputy editor

The Lowy Institute has big ambitions when it comes to its digital presence, and to fulfill them we need talented, motivated and innovative people who know international policy and have a flair for presenting it in a highly competitive online environment. This new full-time position is an

Quick comment: Peter Hartcher on South China Sea tensions

An hour ago I spoke with Sydney Morning Herald International Editor Peter Hartcher on where South China Sea tensions are heading. I was intrigued by a phrase Peter used in his Monday column, where he referred to Beijing's land reclamation in the South China Sea as a 'creeping invasion of the region

Most Australians support aid budget cuts

The Lowy Institute has released new polling data about Australian attitudes to foreign aid. From the media release: New Lowy Institute polling released today shows  the majority of Australians are in favour of the recent cuts to Australia's overseas aid budget. Although nearly one in five express

Movie trailer: Pawn Sacrifice

An American genius on the edge of madness? A Cold War backdrop? It's A Beautiful Mind, Part II.  Or, to give it it's official title, Pawn Sacrifice, the story of chess master Bobby Fischer: Looks OK, but the Cold War thriller I'm really looking forward to, long rumoured but seemingly perpetually '

The Interpreter on terrorism and dual citizenship

Given yesterday's announcement by the Prime Minister that his Government would legislate within weeks to revoke Australian citizenship from dual-nationality terrorists, it is worth revisiting three Interpreter pieces on whether this is a useful weapon in the fight against terrorism. First, here's a

Indian development on two wheels

Courtesy of Marginal Revolution, a short video on the results of an experiment in India in which schoolgirls under 14 were given bikes. Did it lead to higher enrollments? Another big factor in girls' school attendance in India is sanitation. This Mahatma Gandhi Centre booklet claims 24% of girls

America, China and the limits of wordplay

Greg Sheridan writes today that, despite last week's controversy when Pentagon official David Shear 'misspoke' about US Air Force's B-1 bombers being placed in Australia, the bombers are probably coming to Australia anyway. I think that's right. As James Brown wrote at the time, the US–Australia

South China Sea: New footage of China's island-building

The US has taken its concerns with China's island reclamation efforts public by giving a CNN crew access to one of its brand-new P-8 surveillance aircraft as it monitors the South China Sea. You really do get a sense of how delicate the situation is, and how easily things could escalate from a

Quick comment: Bonnie Glaser on the South China Sea

Last Friday we got a sense of how fraught Australia's foreign-policy position is becoming between its major strategic partner (the US) and its major economic partner (China), when a senior Penatgon official declared that the US was going to put B-1 bombers on Australian soil. The official 'misspoke

Join us for the ultimate trivia challenge

There are a few tables left for The Interpreter's Ultimate World Politics Trivia Challenge at the National Press Club in Canberra on 28 May. You can book individually or for a group of up to 10 on the Lowy Institute website. It's only $15, which includes not only plenty of nibbles but also the

Budget video sends Australia over the cliff

The Government has posted short videos on its Budget Highlights web-pages to explain the key points of this year's budget. But judging by the video for the national security page, there presumably wasn't a lot of money available for the production, and there certainly wasn't much inspiration: You

Documentary trailer: The Look of Silence

Joshua Oppenheimer's Oscar-nominated documentary about Indonesia's 1965 anti-communist purge, The Act of Killing (see Catriona Croft-Cusworth's excellent piece on the controversy the film created), now has a companion piece: [vimeo:127067516] The synopsis: The Look of Silence is Joshua Oppenheimer

Stop trying to convince climate sceptics

So, prominent business figure Maurice Newman says in today's Australian that climate change is a hoax and that 'It’s about a new world order under the control of the UN. It is opposed to capitalism and freedom and has made environmental catastrophism a household topic to achieve its objective.' As

Test your knowledge of world affairs

The Interpreter is joining the real world! We're hosting a live event that we hope will bring together our large and loyal Canberra audience in a fun and informal setting. We're taking the pub trivia formula and giving it a spit-shine with The Interpreter's Ultimate World Politics Trivia Challenge

The faces of Nepal

To end what has been a tragic week in Nepal, a touching video portrait of its people (nb. this was filmed and posted well before the earthquake): [vimeo:84254870] If you would like to help the people of Nepal, there are any number of aid organisations that have launched appeals. But here's aid

Julie Bishop, ISIS and the Cold War

Earlier this week Foreign Minister Julie Bishop gave a speech at the Sydney Institute in which she made the rather startling claim that terrorism represents 'what I see as the most significant threat to the global rules based order to emerge in the past 70 years - and included in my considerations

Quick comment: Alex Rheeney on PNG politics

In August, Papua New Guinea's Peter O'Neill will mark three years in office as prime minister. The Australian's Rowan Callick recently described him as 'a remarkable figure' and 'the most powerful politician PNG has produced since Michael Somare'. Yesterday I had the chance to talk with the editor

The case for a US-China military balance

Last week, in an op-ed for Nikkei Asia Review, I made the argument that the US and China ought to settle for a military balance in the Asia Pacific. Such a balance will be difficult to manage and will probably not satisfy the ambitions of either country, but would be less dangerous than the

TPP: 'Complex, secretive, and anti-democratic'

With Japan now inching closer to agreement on the US-led Trans-Pacific Partnership, some strong stuff from Timothy Lee in Vox: Trade deals like the TPP have grown so complex because the global trade community has figured out how to solve a problem that has bedeviled philosophers and political

In defence of Kevin Andrews

Kevin Andrews was appointed Defence Minister with question marks over whether he was even interested in the portfolio. So as I watched his interview on the ABC's 7:30 program last night on the deployment of additional Australian troops to Iraq, I was impressed by how well he seemed to be across his

Documentary (?) trailer: The Great European Disaster

The trailer looks dreadfully overwrought, and when the film was first shown on the BBC last month it got such a chilly reaction from UK critics that it prompted this response from one of the film-makers. The BBC, which co-produced this film, describes it as a 'documentary by Italian director

Hillary Clinton on Asia

With Hillary Clinton now having officially announced that she is running for president, let's take a stroll through the Interpreter archives to get a sense of her foreign policy views, particularly as they relate to Asia. As US Secretary of State (2009-13), Clinton developed a reputation for

Climate change: Good news on the solar front

Regular readers may have noticed that I oscillate between optimism and pessimism when it comes to climate change and energy. So let's call this a glass-half-full day, in which I highlight two related pieces from the FT's energy writer, Nick Butler, who writes that 'Almost all the major oil and gas

North Korea has an operational ICBM?

It's very much worth listening to the podcast (below) of yesterday's Lowy Institute panel session on the Iran nuclear deal, not least because at around 21:00, The Australian's foreign editor Greg Sheridan links the Iran negotiations with North Korea, pointing out that the US has numerous times

Peak globalisation?

Here's entrepreneur and thinker Peter Thiel in conversation with economist Tyler Cowen: I would bet on globalization slowly being in abeyance. I think with the benefit of hindsight, we will realize that 2007 was not just the peak year of the finance boom, but also the peak year of globalization,

More on Ashton Carter's rebalance speech

My Tuesday piece criticising US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter's speech on the US rebalance caught the attention of CSIS's Bonnie Glaser and Ely Ratner from CNAS: I can see Ely's point. Trade liberalisation is a notoriously hard sell in the US Congress, so the Obama Administration has to pitch the

Ashton Carter on the TPP and rebalance

New US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter is embarking on a week-long visit to Japan, Korea and Hawaii, a visit which he previewed with a speech in Arizona. It's worth extracting some remarks, starting with this, on the US-backed regional trade initiative, the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP): TPP

The Interpreter's Easter break

Along with most of Australia, we're taking a break over the Easter period, so posting will be light tomorrow and Monday, and will return to normal next Tuesday. Best wishes for the season. Photo by Flickr user Jan Herbert

Pakistan submarine deal won't please India

A couple of weeks ago, after a visit to India, I wrote an op-ed for the Indian weekly Open with my impressions of the Indian strategic debate. The biggest take-away was how openly suspicious the Indians are about China and its intentions in the Indian Ocean. That suspicion got another boost

Development and air conditioning (part 3)

Here is part 1 and part 2 in this series. My thanks to Stephen Fallon for alerting me to the documentary series now getting a run on the ABC, How We Got to Now, which addresses the link between air conditioning and development: Marginal Revolution has more links on this topic too

Development and air conditioning (part 2)

Last week I was one of many who highlighted an old Lee Kuan Yew quote in which he argued that Singapore's development had a lot to do with air conditioning, because it made 'development possible in the tropics. Without air conditioning you can work only in the cool early-morning hours or at dusk.'

China and the politics of smog

This piece by Chinese academic Wu Quiang on the domestic and international politics of China's smog problem is compelling. A few vignettes, the first of which goes to a topic I have touched on previously, which is that the chances of a meaningful international emissions deal in Paris at the end of

Quick comment: Milton Osborne on Lee Kuan Yew

Yesterday afternoon I sat down with Lowy Institute's Non-Resident Fellow and distinguished historian of Southeast Asia Milton Osborne to talk about the legacy of Lee Kuan Yew. We discussed Singapore's beginnings as part of the Malaysian Federation, its reputation abroad in the 70s and 80s, and Lee

Development and air conditioning

With Lee Kuan Yew having just passed away, an old quote of his has resurfaced: Question: Anything else besides multicultural tolerance that enabled Singapore's success? Answer: Air conditioning. Air conditioning was a most important invention for us, perhaps one of the signal inventions of history

Malcolm Fraser and the Lowy Institute

With the passing of Malcolm Fraser, herewith some highlights of his recent appearances and interactions with the Lowy Institute. More coverage to come of Mr Fraser's legacy for Australian foreign policy. In July last year, Fraser appeared with Lowy Institute Executive Director to talk about his book

Jaishankar: India becoming a leading power

Crispin Rovere wrote on The Interpreter yesterday that India sees itself 'as an emerging great power.' Those words carried extra resonance for me here in New Delhi, where I am attending an India-US 1.5 track conference arranged by the Atlantic Council and the Vivekananda International Foundation.

Observations of India

I'm four days into a whirlwind tour, my first ever visit to India, having touched down in Chennai, Mumbai and now Delhi. I've been a bit reluctant to record my observations so far. I'm delighted to report that The Interpreter clearly has a sizeable and loyal readership among the Indian foreign and

The Interpreter is looking for more female contributors

To mark International Women's Day in 2015, the Lowy Institute is hosting a special 'Women in Foreign Policy' panel on Thursday.  An all-female panel (journalist Lauren Williams, Elaine Pearson from Human Rights Watch, Jenny Hayward-Jones from the Lowy Institute and the ABC's Geraldine Doogue) will