Tuesday 15 Jun 2021 | 08:10 | 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.

Will a female-led world be more peaceful?

Writing in the Wall St Journal yesterday to mark International Women's Day, Dr Melvin Konner answers this question firmly in the affirmative: There are not yet enough women heads of state to study them systematically, but there are enough in other governing roles. In a 2006 study, political

Movie trailer: No Escape

This reminds me a bit of the trailer for The Impossible, with a white Western family placed in peril in an exotic Southeast Asian location. I really hope No Escape offers more than the trailer suggests, because this looks like a movie that will play into a lot of unattractive prejudices about the

House of Cards: Is the original still the best?

We've all known that annoying dinner party guest who excels at cultural one-upmanship. If someone mentions a movie, they will say it's not a patch on the novel. If you mention that you just returned from Bangkok, they'll tell you it was better in 2006 when they spent a month there during the coup.

Quick comment: Leon Berkelmans on Greece

Just a few moments ago I talked with the director of the Lowy Institute's International Economy program, Leon Berkelmans, about this week's developments in Europe. An interim deal has been thrashed out to give Greece a four-month extension so that it can work out how to pay its creditors. But as

The disastrous Libya intervention

University of Texas academic Alan Kuperman, a specialist on humanitarian military intervention, has a scathing essay (paywalled) in the latest issue of Foreign Affairs: In retrospect, Obama’s intervention in Libya was an abject failure, judged even by its own standards. Libya has not only failed

Science and belief

The National Geographic has a great piece on why so many reasonable people refuse to accept the scientific consensus on issues such as water fluoridation, child immunisation and of course, climate change: We live in an age when all manner of scientific knowledge—from the safety of fluoride and

First thoughts on Abbott's National Security Statement

A few initial reactions to Prime Minister Abbott's National Security Statement, delivered this morning at AFP Headquarters in Canberra. 'The terrorist threat is rising at home and abroad', said Abbott in his introduction: this claim is really the bedrock of the speech and the various policy measures

Chan, Sukumaran, and the problem of aid

Yesterday I joined the chrorus of critics against Prime Minister Abbott's attempt to link Australian aid to the Chan-Sukumaran case. But today's Waleed Aly column prompts me to reconsider: ...perhaps Abbott didn't grasp the gravity of suggesting that Indonesia "reciprocate" for our aid with

Dealing with Indonesia in 2050

Mike Callaghan writes that, according to a new PwC study, 'Indonesia will likely be the fourth-largest economy in 2050'. By that time, Australia will rank 28th. How would a diplomatic dispute, such as the one occurring now over the impending execution of two Australians, play out if Australia was

Australia as policy entrepreneur

Last week Lowy Institute Executive Director Michael Fullilove bemoaned the state of Australian governance in a column for the Financial Times: It was not always this way. Between 1983 and 2007 Australia enjoyed a quarter-century of stable, effective government. Labor administrations under Bob Hawke

Is India's economy taking off?

On 2 February, Lowy Institute economist Leon Berkelmans said revised Indian GDP calculations suggested that: ...if we were to take these numbers at face value, then India is growing almost as fast as China. India could be the next hot economy. These revisions have made me more optimistic that the

Obama talks to Vox

Barack Obama's media advisers have always been pretty new-media savvy, and now they have their boss doing interviews with the relative newcomer Vox; a Buzzfeed interview is on the cards too. Here's a short video in which Obama explains his foreign policy philosophy, with distracting and gimmicky

Abbott's demise: CFR called it

Less than a month ago I somewhat incredulously noted a prediction from the Council on Foreign Relations' Joshua Kurlantzick that Tony Abbott would be ousted as Prime Minister in a Liberal Party revolt in 2015. Kurlantzick must be feeling pretty good about that prediction right about now. We'll see

Goodbye to The Dish

Some time tomorrow, Sydney time, Andrew Sullivan will post his final entry on The Dish, the influential and hugely popular blog he started in 2000. Most (not all) of the reaction in the US has been laudatory. In fact, Sullivan has been praised not just as a pioneer of a new form of journalism, but

Are the Liberals facing their own communist split?

International observers must be astonished that Australian politics is tearing itself apart yet again. With Prime Minister Abbott's leadership now seemingly in near-terminal decline in the wake of his decision to award a knighthood to Prince Philip, Australia's 'coup culture' has returned. In fact

Abbott's blunder won't hurt us in Asia

Of all the ink spilled on Tony Abbott's 'knightmare' over the course of the week, Greg Sheridan had what was, for me, the definitive take. I agree with every word. It truly was a diabolically poor piece of judgment, as was the original decision to re-introduce knighthoods. Abbott may have believed

Movie trailer: Timbuktu

This one is nominated for a best foreign-language Oscar. Gorgeous trailer:  Synopsis: Not far from Timbuktu, now ruled by the religious fundamentalists, Kidane lives peacefully in the dunes with his wife Satima, his daughter Toya, and Issan, their twelve-year-old shepherd. In town, the people

Don't counter China, co-opt it

Via The Browser, I find this excellent short essay on US China policy from former US diplomat and Assistant Defense Secretary Chas Freeman. This is powerful, persuasive stuff: So far, Chinese have been considerably more deferential to international law and opinion than we Americans were at a

A pause for Australia Day

Thanks for checking in with us, but today is Australia Day, a public holiday around the country. Check out the Weekend Catch-up for links to all the best posts from last week, and see you tomorrow. Photo by Flickr user Loulse

SOTU reax: The Bush shadow lingers

President Obama set the theme for this year's State of the Union address early: 'the shadow of crisis has passed', he declared, and throughout the speech he returned repeatedly to the idea that America is a 'strong, tight knit family' that has 'made it through some tough times.' So although this

The Liaoning story says much about modern China

The South China Morning Post has published a terrific series on the remarkable story of a near-derelict unfinished Soviet aircraft carrier which was rebuilt by China to become its first carrier, the Liaoning. Most incredible is the revelation that the ship, which is now the centrepiece of the

Defence White Paper shaping up

The AFR's John Kerin yesterday had the inside mail on the upcoming Defence White Paper, and his headline judgment is this: Notwithstanding having to mention the current anxiety about resolving maritime disputes in the South and East China Seas, this is a document that will view China as more friend

Solar and the end of energy scarcity

The Economist has a special feature on energy this week, and it is resolutely optimistic about renewables: Measuring progress is tricky: the cost of electricity from new solar systems can vary from $90 to $300 per megawatt hour (MWh). But it is clearly plummeting. In Japan the cost of power

China cyberspies target more than just F-35

The Fairfax papers have splashed big this morning on the latest tranche of Snowden leaks released by Der Spiegel. Specifically, Fairfax reports that China has engaged in industrial-scale cyber-espionage in order to learn the secrets of Australia's next front-line fighter aircraft, the US-built F-35

Asia predictions from CFR

Joshua Kurlantzick from the Council on Foreign Relations looks at the year ahead and predicts that Thailand's military rulers will delay elections, Jokowi will face internal and external opposition to his new maritime doctrine, Aung San Suu Kyi will not become president of Myanmar, and Thai economic

Letting the urgent overwhelm the important

Although it's a few weeks old now, it is definitely worth drawing your attention to this John Garnaut column, especially since it appeared in the media dead-zone between Christmas and New Year. The piece features quotes from former Lowy Institute Executive Director Allan Gyngell, who reviews the

World powers emerge reluctantly

The Obama Administration has taken some heat for sending a mere ambassador to last weekend's march in Paris in solidarity with the victims of the  Charlie Hebdo massacre, and commendably, it has fessed up to the error. The whole episode prompted security analyst Dhruva Jaishankar to wonder why the

Getting better all the time

In case you missed Bill and Melinda Gates' 2014 end-of-year letter about global development, a few highlights: The global picture of poverty has been completely redrawn in my lifetime. Per-person incomes in Turkey and Chile are where the United States level was in 1960. Malaysia is nearly there, as

...and, we're back

I hope you enjoyed our summer 'Best of 2014' series. The Interpreter is back live today, so stay tuned for Australia's best mix of opinion and policy analysis on Asia and the world. As I wrote before signing off in December, 2014 was a big year for The Interpreter; we plan to make 2015 even bigger

2014 in review: Aaron Connelly on Indonesia

Indonesia's election dominated news from Southeast Asia this year, and demonstrated the consolidation of the country's remarkable democratic transformation. Or did it? Aaron Connelly expresses some misgivings in the interview below. We also talk about President Jokowi's maritime doctrine, and his

Five things everyone should know about world politics

I found a great list of '122 things everyone should know about investing and the economy'. Some of the points are so perfectly applicable to the study and practice of international relations that they can be listed here under the above heading. When you see the word 'investing', just change it to '

Back next week, and back next year

Like much of Australia, The Interpreter is winding down for the Christmas-New Year break. We will be back for the first half of next week with less-than-the-usual number of posts, and after Christmas we will have daily posts featuring some of The Interpreter's best material from 2014. That's until

The Interpreter talks to terrorism expert Adam Dolnik

Minutes ago I talked with the Adam Dolnik, a brilliant terrorism expert who I have known since I was working on WMD terrorism in the Australian intelligence community. I attended a presentation he gave at a conference and saw immediately that he was an original and penetrating thinker. Adam has

The role of new media in terrorist incidents

Like the rest of Australia, we at the Lowy Institute are watching the unfolding siege in Martin Place, just a couple of blocks away from our building. The Australian media is covering this story thoroughly — the ABC has turned off its geographical blocking for its News24 station, so get your

Does provincialism matter?

Peter Hartcher's The Adolescent Country is centred on the claim that Australia suffers from a provincial reflex that demotes international affairs to a subset of domestic politics and prevents our leaders from embracing a more ambitious and expansive view of Australia's role in the world. Peter goes

Torture report: Emotion is poor basis for policy

As we take in the appalling details of the newly released US Senate report on CIA torture, it is worth reflecting on Jeffrey Goldberg's words that blame must go beyond government. The public mood of the post-9/11 times facilitated the abuses committed by America's intelligence agencies. American

Stiglitz on the Chinese century: False reassurance

Given what is happening at the venerable The New Republic, events which so richly symbolise the tumult in serious journalism in the US (if you've missed this story, try Andrew Sullivan's coverage for a passionate and not-at-all balanced take), maybe it's passé to attach special significance to a

Stiglitz on the Chinese century: False reassurance

Given the recent turmoil at The New Republic, which so richly symbolises the tumult in serious journalism (if you've missed this story, try Andrew Sullivan's coverage for a passionate and not-at-all balanced take), maybe it's passé to attach special significance to a new essay by a senior figure in

Stiglitz on the Chinese century: False reassurance

Given the recent turmoil at The New Republic, which so richly symbolises the tumult in serious journalism (if you've missed this story, try Andrew Sullivan's coverage for a passionate and not-at-all balanced take), maybe it's passé to attach special significance to a new essay by a senior figure in