Tuesday 15 Jun 2021 | 08:11 | 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.

Documentary trailer: The Other Man

This film, about the often overlooked contribution made by FW De Klerk to the abolition of Apartheid in South Africa, premiered at a Dutch film festival last month. Keep an eye on the official Facebook page for future screening details

Quick comment: Sean Dorney on Australia-PNG relations

It's a big week for Papua New Guinea in Australia. Prime Minister Peter O'Neil is in town for talks with Tony Abbott, there's a big PNG mining and petroleum investment conference underway in Sydney, and the Lowy Institute is hosting the Australia-Papua New Guinea Emerging Leaders Dialogue. Former

Chris Rock on US politics

If you're interested in comedy and the entertainment industry more broadly, this is great reading. But comedian Chris Rock also has some interesting things to say about US politics. On Obama's legacy, and Bush: Everybody wanted Michael Jordan, right? We got Shaq. That’s not a disappointment. You

Documentary trailer: Every Last Child

This documentary, about the growing popular suspicion towards the polio vaccine in Pakistan, debuted in New York last month. Here's an interview with director Tom Roberts, who saw some extreme opposition to the vaccination campaign while he was in Pakistan: “There was one Taliban at a rally,”

Why the climate problem is so hard

UPDATE: Here's an interview with China's chief climate negotiator on the US-China deal. In case there is any residual euphoria left over the China-US climate agreement, here are a couple of pieces to put a dampener on it. First, here's Alex Evans, a Senior Fellow at the Center on International

Why does China bother with coercion?

Hugh White's willingness to admit his mistakes and revisit his assumptions is admirable. His error in predicting that China would punish Australia by withholding final agreement on the FTA out of displeasure with the Abbott Government's pro-US and pro-Japan tilt is understandable. After all, Beijing

Thoughts on Merkel's global profile

As you can see above, the video of the 2014 Lowy Lecture, delivered on Monday by Angela Merkel, is now available, and I encourage you to take a look, particularly since her tough remarks on Russia are making news back in Europe. But I want to emphasise one moment in the video to expand on a point I

Is competition overrated?

Fascinating interview with Peter Thiel, the billionaire Silicon Valley identity behind PayPal. Here's a grab on competition: ...as a business, you should strive for monopoly...competition is very overrated. We live in a world where we're always told to compete intensely. It's how we're educated. It

Angela Merkel delivers the 2014 Lowy Lecture

Well, I suppose it was inevitable. After President Obama's performance in Brisbane over the weekend, whenever a foreign leader now talks about climate change on Australian soil — as German chancellor Angela Merkel did this morning in her 2014 Lowy Lecture — it will be read in the media as an

How important is the US-China climate deal?

There's a lot of talk in the media about how groundbreaking and ambitious the US-China climate deal is, but is that true? Here's how American economist Tyler Cowen (a conservative, but a mainstream figure and certainly not a 'denialist') greeted the news: Overnight, Cowen elaborated on this

A climate breakthrough in Beijing?

Well, this seems like a big deal. In fact, the NY Times is calling it a 'landmark agreement' that 'could galvanize efforts to negotiate a new global climate agreement by 2015.' After nine months of secret negotiations, the US and China have agreed to significant emissions cuts, and for the first

Zhuhai airshow: China's ambition on display

...large multinational corporations are an important form of strategic power for the reflection of the national will. For a large country such as China, its comprehensive national power must be supported by well-diversified, large-scale, multinational corporations...Only then will we have a say in

Documentary trailer: A Farewell Song

[vimeo:110980949]  Synopsis: Since 1949, China’s orchestras have been controlled and funded by the government. In the 1990s, state backing was slowly withdrawn and many orchestras closed. Luo Shoucheng, Tu Weigang, Weng Zhenfa and Chen Dawei are well known in the world of Chinese traditional

A sentence to ponder

Russia, probably for the first time since the early 1800s, has gone through a quarter of a century without leaving any trace on the international world of arts, literature, philosophy or science. This from a longer essay about post-communist transitions in eastern Europe. The conclusion: 'Only

John Kerry on US-China relations

Last night President George W Bush's National Security Adviser, Stephen Hadley, presented the Lowy Institute with his vision of US-China relations, and just a day earlier, Secretary of State John Kerry delivered a speech on US-China relations at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International

Movie trailer: Zero Motivation

Zero Motivation is an office comedy set in the Israeli Defense Force, and the trailer is a gem: Looks like the movie itself measures up too, judging by the reviews. It started showing around Australia yesterday

How the Soviets planned to go to war with America's navy

A Soviet Backfire bomber escorted by a Norwegian F-16, 1988. (Wikipedia.) My thanks to colleague Anthony Bubalo for alerting me to this extraordinary 2013 paper published by the US Naval War College all about how the Soviet Union planned to hit America's aircraft carrier fleet in the event of war (h

Movie trailer: Diplomacy

Diplomacy is a French-German film set in 1944 about Hitler's order that Paris be destroyed before it can be retaken by the Allies. It centres on the intense discussions between the German general who has to give the order and a Swedish diplomat trying to dissuade him. The New Yorker's David Denby

The US Marines and the pivot

This VICE News video of the 2014 RIMPAC exercise (the largest international maritime exercise in the world), held in June this year, is worth 14 minutes of your time. It includes (from 8:24) a tour of the Chinese hospital ship Peace Ark, but focuses mainly on the US Marine Corps' attempt to return

Quick Comment: Jokowi should enjoy the party while he can

As Catriona Croft-Cusworth’s commentary and photos showed, there is a celebratory mood in Jakarta this week with the inauguration of Jokowi as Indonesia’s new president. In the spirit of reconciliation, Jokowi’s defeated opponent Prabowo Subianto even showed up for the ceremony. For this week

Gough Whitlam's China legacy

Lowy Institute Non-Resident Fellow Murray McLean began his association with Asia in the early 1970s when he was a language student in Hong Kong, from where he played a small part in then-Opposition Leader Gough Whitlam's groundbreaking 1971 visit to China. In 1973 he was posted to Beijing with the

Rural wages in Asia: Good news to end the week

The Overseas Development Institute has a new report out on rural wages in Asia which is not exactly being overwhelmed with attention but which, as Oxfam's Duncan Green argues, has momentous implications (my emphasis): Rural wages are rising across much of Asia, and in some cases have accelerated

The Middle East doesn't matter

Could someone please explain to me where Justin Logan's argument is wrong? The American foreign policy elite is obsessed with the Middle East. Despite President Obama’s rhetoric about a “pivot to Asia,” the United States remains bogged down in the region, now at war in Syria in addition to

The Middle East doesn't matter

Could someone please explain to me where Justin Logan's argument is wrong? The American foreign policy elite is obsessed with the Middle East. Despite President Obama’s rhetoric about a “pivot to Asia,” the United States remains bogged down in the region, now at war in Syria in addition to

The Middle East doesn't matter

Could someone please explain to me where Justin Logan's argument is wrong? The American foreign policy elite is obsessed with the Middle East. Despite President Obama’s rhetoric about a “pivot to Asia,” the United States remains bogged down in the region, now at war in Syria in addition to

Fukuyama on ISIS and the Middle East

Much good sense in this interview with New Statesman: “The one thing that both the Iraq and Afghan wars should have taught us is that, even with a very heavy input in boots on the ground, and nation-building, and the trillions of resources poured into these countries, our ability to bring about a

Negotiating with terrorists

Fascinating article by Jonathan Powell: We usually delay talking to armed groups too long, and as a result, a large number of people die unnecessarily. General David Petraeus admitted that, in Iraq, the US left it far too late to talk to those “with American blood on their hands”. We delay

Movie trailer: American Sniper

The latest in a long line of American movies about the experience of US soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan is American Sniper, directed by Clint Eastwood. Great trailer. But the focus on the lives of soldiers is pretty safe territory for Hollywood. It would be great to see a feature on the decision-

The meaning of golf in China

An LA Review of Books essay on Dan Washburn's The Forbidden Game: Golf and the Chinese Dream: ...although construction of new golf courses has been banned in China since at least 2004, more than 400 were built between 2005 and 2010, making China the only place in the world experiencing a golf boom

Can Germany ever escape its past?

The Wilson Center's Peter Gumbel looks at the social media reaction to Germany's 7-1 World Cup defeat of Brazil and concludes that, when it comes to Germany, 'the usual rules of political correctness don’t apply': For example, Binyamin Applebaum, a Washington correspondent for The New York Times

Interview: Stephen Hadley on Obama's ISIS strategy

Earlier this morning I spoke with the Lowy Institute's 2014 Telstra Distinguished International Fellow Stephen Hadley about the situation in Iraq and Syria. You can listen to the interview below. Hadley, who was President George W Bush's National Security Advisor from 2005 to 2009, will be in

The best books about modern China, part 2

Yesterday I posted the first responses to our Mandarin Code give-away, asking you to nominate your favourite novels about modern China for a chance to win a copy of the new political thriller by Steve Lewis and Chris Uhlmann. Here are some more of your responses on Twitter:    Two Lowy Institute

Movie trailer: Fishing without nets

Slashfilm writes: In Captain Phillips we saw a bit of the story of men caught up in Somali pirate rings, and now Fishing Without Nets offers a much deeper exploration of the lives of men who take up criminal activities on the seas

Terrorism and climate change: Obama's long game

For all the immediate challenges that we gather to address this week -- terrorism, instability, inequality, disease -- there’s one issue that will define the contours of this century more dramatically than any other, and that is the urgent and growing threat of a changing climate. That's

The best books about modern China: First responses

Our Mandarin Code give-away is well underway. On Monday I asked you to nominate your favourite novels about modern China. This is for a chance to win a copy of the new political thriller The Mandarin Code, by Steve Lewis and Chris Uhlmann, a novel set in Canberra but immersed in today's debates

Sidney Jones on ISIS and Indonesia

On Monday the Lowy Institute,  in cooperation with the Indonesia Project at the Australian National University, hosted its regular Indonesia Mini Update, a half-day event bringing together experts to discuss Indonesia's politics, economy, security and foreign policy.  One of the guests was Sidney

Chris Uhlmann and Steve Lewis on The Mandarin Code

For the staffers, journalists and policy wonks who populate Canberra, the time has come to ask yourselves a big question: are you and your sleepy town in danger of becoming cool? Australian TV viewers are used to seeing their political class satirised (from the Gillies Report to Shaun Micallef's

Documentary trailer: Red Army

Synopsis: Red Army is about the Soviet Union and the most successful dynasty in sports history: the Red Army hockey team. Filmmaker Gabe Polsky tells an extraordinary human story from the perspective of its captain Slava Fetisov, the friendships, the betrayals, and the personal dramas, which led

How we talk about terrorism

This morning on ABC radio Attorney General George Brandis said something quite mundane yet absolutely critical in regard to the apparent ISIS-related terrorist plot disrupted by police in Sydney yesterday: I want to emphasise the point, and it can't be stressed enough: yesterday's police operation

Presidential trivia

Two anecdotes I have stumbled on recently from reviews of Rick Perlstein's The Invisible Bridge, a new book about the US conservative movement. First, did you know Richard Nixon invented the term 'Missing in Action'?: The ’70s also marked the high tide of the American Right. Much of the country

Iraq and the 'availability cascade'

This passage comes from Nobel Prize-winning economist Daniel Kahneman's2011 book, Thinking, Fast and Slow: An availability cascade is a self-sustaining chain of events, which may start from media reports of a relatively minor event and lead up to public panic and large-scale government action. On

Two China think-pieces: Fukuyama and smart censorship

A couple of pieces I have stumbled on in the last 24 hours which rearranged my mental furniture a little. First, on China's 'smart' censorship: ...you can say pretty much anything you like on Chinese media, providing that it does not lead to any kind of action. “Chinese people can write the most

In his own words: Obama on 'perpetual war'

 President Obama's speech to the US National Defense University, May 2013: We cannot use force everywhere that a radical ideology takes root; and in the absence of a strategy that reduces the wellspring of extremism, a perpetual war — through drones or Special Forces or troop deployments —

How big is the threat from returning jihadists?

ASIO* Director-General David Irvine last night told the ABC's 7:30 program that he is considering raising the terrorist threat level in Australia from Medium to High: I would say that, at the moment, it is at a very elevated level of medium and I'm certainly contemplating very seriously the notion