I'm in the Middle East doing research for a forthcoming paper on Syria that I'm writing with my colleague Anthony Bubalo. My early impression is that there appears to be a complete absence of rational (let alone unified) policy views about what anybody wants or believes will be the case 'the day
Australia's Prime Minister Julia Gillard achieved a diplomatic breakthrough in Beijing today when she and China's Premier Li Keqiang agreed that Australia and China will forge a strategic partnership. There will be an official announcement from Gillard and Premier Li in the next few hours.
Defence Minister Stephen Smith and Foreign Minister Bob Carr have been in Jakarta this week for the annual 2-2 Australia-Indonesia talks. It was a business-as-usual dialogue, with few major announcements.
When your country is always on a war footing, how do you know you are on the brink of war? When your political leadership and government propaganda constantly remind that your enemies are plotting against you, how do you know that times are more tense than normal?