Published daily by the Lowy Institute

Hugh White

Hugh White is Professor of Strategic Studies in the School of International, Political & Strategic Studies at the Australian National University. He is a regular columnist for The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald. From 2001 to 2004 Professor White was the first Director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI). Before that he had served as an intelligence analyst with the Office of National Assessments, as a journalist with the Sydney Morning Herald, as a senior adviser on the staffs of Defence Minister Kim Beazley and Prime Minister Bob Hawke, and as a senior official in the Department of Defence, where from 1995 to 2000 he was Deputy Secretary for Strategy and Intelligence.

Articles by Hugh White (51)

  • The case for Japanese subs is based on dangerous assumptions about Asia

    ...the idea of the future being different from the present is so repugnant to our conventional modes of thought and behavior that we, most of us, offer a great resistance to acting on it in practice. — John Maynard Keynes, 1937 This line, quoted as an epigraph to the US intelligence community's Global Trends 2030 report a few years ago, has something to offer our debates today about Australian strategic policy.
  • Does Japan expect an alliance with Australia as part of a submarine deal?

    Sam Rogeveen's  post last week about the strategic aspects of Japan's submarine bid focused on exactly the right question: What does Japan want? This is much more important to the subs decision than the question many people seem to think matters most, which is what China wants us to do. Some think China's presumed opposition to closer strategic relations between Japan and Australia is reason enough to kill Japan's bid. For many others, Beijing's objections are the best reason to accept it.
  • It's time we talked about war with China

        Whether Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull intended it or not, his new Defence White Paper has been widely interpreted as sending a clear message that Australia is willing to join our allies in using armed force if necessary to defend the 'rules based global order' from China's strategic ambitions in Asia. Moreover, most people apparently think that's a good message to send. So it seems wise to ask whether this message is really true.
  • Australia-Indonesia relations: More than just management

    Those lucky enough to have worked with Ken Ward over his many years of government service will smile as they read his fine Lowy Paper on Australia's relations with Indonesia. It has just the same droll and occasionally mordant tone that characterised his work in DFAT and elsewhere, as well as his precise eye for detail and talent for exposition.
  • The failure of the TPP matters, but not for economic reasons

    It seems likely that President Obama's flagship Asian free-trade deal, the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), will sink in the US Congress. Those who worry about its implications in specific sectors like pharmaceuticals might think this is a good thing. But what would be the broader implications? That depends on what difference TPP would make if it floats. The answer comes in two parts. On the economic side, the answer is probably 'not much' overall.
  • Taiwan: US deterrence is failing

    Deterrence is a beguiling concept. It offers the hope that we can prevail over our opponents without actually fighting them because our mere possession of military power will be sufficient to compel them to our will. This seductive idea seems to be the basis of Michael Cole's view that deterrence will allow America and its allies to defend Taiwan from China with incurring the costs and risks of conflict, and that they should therefore commit themselves to doing so.