Published daily by the Lowy Institute

James Bowen

James Bowen is a writer, editor, and analyst of international affairs. He is based at the International Peace Institute in New York, where he edits The Global Observatory. James has also contributed to outlets including The Atlantic, The Diplomat, World Policy Journal, World Politics Review, New Europe, The National Interest, and Radio National Australia. He is a former speechwriter with the Australian and West Australian governments.

Articles by James Bowen (29)

  • CIA torture report: Where to from here?

    The landmark five-year, US$40 million Senate investigation of the official US torture regime at the height of the War on Terror elicits something that might be described as a horrifying sense of familiarity. While the sane among us knew the CIA had waterboarded far more than the three people once claimed by the likes of Dick Cheney, most would have been unaware of the prevalence of other arcane and humiliating practices such as 'rectal hydration' and 'rectal feeding' that interrogators used to e
  • US midterms: A system badly in need of reform

    As is customary, today's US midterm elections have been construed as a vote on the incumbent president's record as much as it is a judgment on those senators, house representatives and governors actually facing a decision on their futures. On that count, it is abundantly clear that Barack Obama will not emerge from the day with anything approaching a winning smile, with Republicans heavily tipped to wrest control of the Senate and tighten their grip on Congress (the GOP has already banked some e
  • The reinvention of Rudd continues

    Remember Kevin Rudd? The former prime minister might no longer be foremost in Australian minds — particularly in a week in which a more historically significant Labor leader passed — but his presence continues to grow in the US. The New York-based Asia Society today announced that Rudd would serve as the first permanent president of its nascent policy institute, which is focused on the rise of Asia.
  • Conviction and vigour in Obama's IS speech

    There were relatively few plot twists for a prime time television spectacle but you have to hand it to the leading man: he hasn't put in such a convincing performance in a long time. The main points of Barack Obama's widely telecast speech to the American public tonight did not depart significantly from those which had already been released to the media and the wider public earlier in the day and week.
  • Obama and ISIS: Snowden leaks reveal tough choices

      Though the US President will be the last to trumpet it, a revelation from the Edward Snowden National Security Agency dossier unveiled late last month might provide some context for the difficulties he faces in plotting a course of action to counter the threat of the Islamic State (IS) movement. The revelation concerns the extent to which the US military has provided the Turkish Government with information on the Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK), which Ankara considers to be a rebel terrorist gr
  • Is Hillary Clinton really a foreign policy hawk?

    We are in strange times indeed when a presumptive US Republican presidential candidate can hope to score political points by accusing his likely Democratic rival of being a war hawk, but this is apparently the world we inhabit in 2014. The accuser in this case was Kentucky Senator and leading light of the libertarian movement, Rand Paul, who was targeting former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in his comments to the Meet the Press program last weekend.
  • MH17: Could a re-energised Europe rescue the Obama Doctrine?

    It is always morbid to talk of what ground nations might gain from disasters such as the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17, but international politics has never been a place for the squeamish. For US President Barack Obama, the attack has provided him with atypical room for patience as, curmudgeons like John McCain aside, many of his typically loudest Republican detractors seem willing to let investigators in Ukraine come to some definitive conclusion on the nature and extent of Russian i
  • US drone policy: Little prospect of rethink

    A new report on the consequences of America's increasing use of drones as a counter-terrorism tool caused quite a stir in US national security circles last week, largely because it was written by a task force made up of many individuals who formerly reported to the Obama Administration. Most prominent among them was the study's co-chair John Abizaid, a former US Army General and leader of Central Command in a region where the vast majority of President Obama's — and before him President Bush's 
  • Iraq crisis: What do Americans want?

    By this point in his presidency, Barack Obama had hoped to be firmly focused on withdrawing troops from Afghanistan, one of two wars he inherited from the Bush Administration. Instead he faces the task of reintroducing several hundred of them to the other battlefield, of which he had seemingly washed US hands only three years ago when the last US troops pulled out. How did it come to this?