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Weekend catch-up: recovery in Sulawesi, more

Trump "in love" with Kim, NAFTA to USMCA, and a military base in Fiji: the week that was on The Interpreter.

Balaroa village, Palu, Central Sulawesi (Photo: Azwar via Getty)
Balaroa village, Palu, Central Sulawesi (Photo: Azwar via Getty)
Published 6 Oct 2018   Follow @lowyinstitute

The week that was on The Interpreter.

How can Australia best help Indonesia recover from the tsunami Central Sulawesi? Peter McCawley:

We should be flexible in the type of aid we are ready to provide. We should be ready to disburse assistance to survivors quickly in the form of cash. It might seem strange to offer cash transfers in the midst of a natural disaster. But experience in many other countries suggests that whether cash or commodity-type aid is appropriate depends entirely on the situation.

Reports emerged recently that Australia has agreed to fund a new military base in Nadi, Fiji. Christopher Mudaliar:

Fiji’s place in the region appears to be at a caught between the expansion of China’s BRI and Australia’s re-engagement within the Pacific. Although Australia secured the spot of sole funder of Black Rock, China’s links with Fiji are undoubtedly stronger than they once were.

Murray Ackman, Anna Naupa and Patrick Tuimalealiifano on the Boe Declaration, which was recently adopted by the Pacific Islands Forum in Nauru:

Shifts in the international order, increasing transnational organised crime, cyber-attacks, changes in the environment and even weapons of mass destruction are all playing out in the Pacific. Some of these fears were outlined by Pacific Island leaders last month at Nauru during the Pacific Islands Forum. Leaders agreed on an “expanded concept of security” to cope with threats the Pacific faces today and will face tomorrow.

We have just passed the one-year anniversary of the nuclear weapons ban treaty. John Carlson:

The ban treaty proponents were looking for a quick outcome and decided against seeking an inclusive approach with the nuclear-armed countries, which would require a sustained effort over many years. Realistically, however, nuclear disarmament cannot be imposed. Nuclear weapons can be eliminated only with the agreement of the nuclear-armed countries.

Sukhmani Khorana on the political engagement of Indian migrants in Australia:

There is still relatively little empirical research on this group and its political involvement in the home and host nations, especially compared to equivalent populations in the US, the UK and Canada.

India’s airlines have grown rapidly but face serious safety concerns. Aarti Betigeri:  

India now scores just 57% on the ICAO Safety Oversight Audit Program, which looks into whether countries have consistently implemented a safety oversight system. Last year it was at 66%. The low score does not bode well for the Indian aviation industry.

Jeffrey Robertson asks what role ambassadors play in modern international relations:

Ambassadors are becoming more representative of the state rather than representative of the executive. States are seeking to transform their appointments to better represent gender equality, as well as professional, ethnic, linguistic, and socio-cultural diversity. Ambassadors are becoming “brand ambassadors” of the soft-power their country holds.

Canada, Mexico and the United States recently concluded a new free trade agreed, replacing NAFTA with the USMCA. Mike Callaghan:

A particularly significant feature of the USMCA is that it does not just cover trade among the three members of the agreement, but impacts on their ability to enter into trade deals with other countries. If a member of the USMCA negotiates a trade deal with a non-market country – read China – it can be kicked out.

US President Donald Trump trolled a large portion of the world by saying he has “fallen in love” with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Robert Kelly:

It is painfully obvious to any serious observer that Trump has no idea what he is doing on North Korea (or most policy issues). Had any other US political figure said he was “in love” with the dictator of North Korea, he would have been laughed out of politics or seen as a creepy apologist for the world’s worst tyrant.

Taylor Dibbert on the Interim Report of the Office on Missing Persons, investigating post-war justice in Sri Lanka:

The OMP may prove to be an efficacious entity, but we aren’t there yet. More broadly, let’s keep in mind that the government’s decision to establish the office is almost certainly a result of international pressure and the human rights and transitional justice commitments Colombo felt compelled to make at the UN Human Rights Council. The political will to implement a broad transitional justice agenda simply doesn’t exist in present-day Sri Lanka

Angela Merkel’s coalition in Germany is creaking under the weight of a surging far-right movement and internal ructions. Marcus Colla:

The Coalition, it seems, is held together by fear alone. Yet the willingness of Germany’s leaders so flagrantly to foreswear all principle for the sake of power is only part of the story. The other, more fundamental, part concerns the increasing inability of mainstream politics – and especially centre-right conservatives – to deal with a surging far-right.

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