Speculation continues to mount that Nancy Pelosi will visit Taiwan during her trip to Asia this week. The schedule of the US Speaker of the House of Representatives, who arrived in Singapore on Monday, includes visits to some of America’s closest allies and security partners in the region,
The US Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe vs Wade has unleashed a frenzy of misogynistic lawmaking, with abortion bans now enacted or soon to be enacted in more than half US states.
Abortion bans will compel women and girls to give birth against their will and irrespective of their life
If there is a cumulative lesson from the past few years, it’s that the era of “polycrises” is firmly upon us. A polycrisis is defined as the net effect from the non-linear interaction of many systemic risks spanning several natural and human-designed systems. One is playing out right in front
Recently-elected Labor Prime Minister Anthony Albanese faces a dilemma on nuclear submarines. Having received only a single day’s notice, and wanting to avoid looking weak on China with an election looming, Albanese felt compelled last September to endorse his predecessor’s AUKUS deal to acquire
As NATO leaders prepare to meet in Madrid for a summit that will set a course for the next decade and beyond, the world’s most significant military alliance is facing its most fraught period since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has brought war to NATO’s
The importance of “peace and stability” across the Taiwan Strait featured in joint statements issued after US President Joe Biden’s meetings in May with South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. This was the second time in consecutive years that Taiwan
The hearings run by the “Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol” are proving to be an excellent showcase to understand the dividing line between acts of political courage and acts of self-preservation. For Democrats and Never Trumpers, the spectacle
Book review: Diplomatic: A Washington memoir, by Joe Hockey with Leo Shanahan (Harper Collins 2022)
In September 2015, Malcolm Turnbull toppled Tony Abbott as leader of Australia’s Liberal party, and consequently as the country’s prime minister. Turnbull immediately told Joe Hockey that he
Since its resurrection in late 2017, the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) between Australia, India, Japan and the United States has gradually become a centrepiece of Australian foreign policy. Every effort was made to ensure that an exhausted Prime Minister Anthony Albanese attended
China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi last month set out on a tour of the Pacific, carrying a plan for a big new region-wide agreement and scores of bilateral ones. At the same time Australia’s newly elected Foreign Minister Penny Wong conducted her own Pacific tour, just four days into the job.
North Korea at least waited until US President Joe Biden had left Asia before launching another volley of missiles to splash into the sea. American officials had braced for a potential show of force by Pyongyang as Biden toured the region last month for meetings culminating with the “Quad”
At the first in-person leaders’ summit of the Quad in Washington in September last year, the four member countries came forward with an ambitious space agenda. A working group was giving the task of advancing a number of key strategic areas, including the exchange of satellite data with the
The staff at the neighbourhood convenience store here in Tokyo are always amused when I drop by to pick up four or five papers in the morning. That I have done it twice this week has led to some laughs at the cash register. Monday was to look at the reporting of the Australian election result,
The second EU-US Trade and Technology Council meeting took place in Paris at the weekend. An outcome of the EU-US Summit in June 2021, the TTC was established to strengthen and coordinate transatlantic cooperation and develop values-based approaches to global trade, economic and technology issues
While Russia’s attempt to blackmail Poland and Bulgaria by cutting off natural gas supplies may seem a distant question for the nations of the Indo-Pacific, we believe it is relevant and urgent. Accordingly, the leaders of Australia, India, Japan, and the United States, the group known as “the
The clear intention of AUKUS is to tip the military balance in the Indo-Pacific in favour of the United States. The various initiatives in the pact between Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States are headlined by cooperation to develop a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines for Australia
US President Joe Biden hosted ASEAN leaders in Washington last week for a special summit to commemorate 45 years of US-ASEAN ties. Such a meeting was long in the making, having been mooted under the Trump administration but deferred due to the Covid pandemic, and then delayed in 2022 due to
Book Review: The Avoidable War: The Dangers of a Catastrophic Conflict between the US and Xi Jinping’s China, by Kevin Rudd (Hatchette 2022)
The rise of a strong and confident China has had more implications for Australia than perhaps any other advanced country apart from the United States
As the relationship between longtime allies Saudi Arabia and the United States becomes increasingly strained, China could cultivate a stronger bond with the Middle Eastern kingdom. In a recent phone call between Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (colloquially known as MBS) and China’s
Negotiations in Vienna to revive the Iran nuclear deal have dragged on through nearly a dozen rounds for more than a year now. The Biden administration’s hopes for a quick restoration of the 2015 agreement, unilaterally abandoned by Donald Trump, have been hampered from the outset.
Book Review: Democracy Under Fire: Donald Trump and the Breaking of American History, by Lawrence R. Jacobs (Oxford University Press 2022)
Joe Biden demonstrated in the 2020 presidential campaign that it’s still possible to build an electoral coalition on an appeal to shared values. But
Following Putin’s invasion of Ukraine in February, there has been ongoing controversy over the response by the Vietnamese government, which has refrained from naming Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war an “invasion”, abstained from the United Nations resolution condemning Russia’s
Someone famous once reputedly quipped “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes.” So there is a certain echo to the AUKUS arrangement, which brings together Australia, United Kingdom and United States to share vital defence technologies in an effort to stabilise the Indo Pacific
The essence of diplomacy is communication. Madeleine Albright excelled at delivering a message. And as a woman of firsts, she encountered the all-too-typical obstacles of a male-dominated field, suffering a focus on her dress and appearance.
So Albright took the challenge and flipped it,
Right from the beginning of the Russian invasion, Ukraine’s deputy prime minister Mykhailo Fedorov has walked both sides of the new global divide over digital currency that the war has exposed.
On 26 February he launched his much higher profile campaign for donations of Bitcoin,
Is it possible for the United States to be both righteous defender of Ukraine’s right to self-determination and prudent decisionmaker? The combination of an experienced president and a well-informed US Congress bode well for ongoing crisis management. But judging likely outcomes requires a
After North Korea conducted a spate of missile tests in January, it was argued that the country had ended its self-imposed 2018 moratorium on testing intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) and possibly also nuclear weapons. Even the UN Secretary-General claimed that a test on 30 January had
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine had posed difficult questions for Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates and exposed the costs of pursuing a more diversified series of diplomatic, economic and military relationships. The two Gulf states are in effect experiencing the “diversification dilemma
According to its members, the Quad – a group comprising the United States, Japan, India and Australia – seeks to present an inclusive vision for the Indo-Pacific region, and its members seek to work with a range of countries. Despite this rhetoric, the group hasn’t established any clear
Aside from Donald Trump’s bluster about “fire and fury” and Kim Jong-un’s similarly theatrical replies in the manufactured “crisis” of 2017, serious nuclear threats made during an international crisis have been happily MIA for the better part of the past 40 years. Not so now. Less than
The enemy of my enemy is not necessarily my friend. Likewise, there may not be an instinctive alignment of my two adversaries.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s reference to “arc of autocracy” and the “instinctive” alignment between Russia and China in the address at the Lowy Institute was
Last Friday, on 11 March, the world’s first millennial president was sworn in – Gabriel Boric. A leftist of 36 years of age, he will govern Chile until 2026. He is the youngest president and received the highest vote in Chile’s history. Boric was also one of the first left-wing leaders to
The Biden administration played a critical role in assembling the European and global coalition to punish Russia’s unprovoked invasion of neighbouring Ukraine, and in so doing displayed American diplomatic power at its best: leading without dominating.
The White House overcame well-
Vladimir Putin’s ruthless bid to erase Ukraine’s nationhood and redraw the map in Europe is a direct attack on the foundations of the post-war rules-based order, from which Australia has benefitted more than most. A Russian fait accompli in Ukraine would also boost the idea that might makes
Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has seen a return to the political alignments of the 20th century, with the United States as the leader of a grouping of democracies against a Russian dictatorship uneasily partnered with China.
But Donald Trump has offered a radically different response,
Wooing the neighbours
The Morrison government has committed almost $700 million to new non-Covid initiatives in Southeast Asia over the past two years, seeking to rebuild regional ties largely in response to uncertainty about China.
While that spending wasn’t specifically aimed at boosting
In September this year, UN member states will cast their votes for the next secretary-general of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). While elections for bureaucratic positions in obscure, technical UN bodies normally pass unnoticed, the ITU has emerged as the major battleground in
Almost four years ago, I argued in The Interpreter that Vladimir Putin’s decision to pursue a range of weapons specifically designed to defeat America’s Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) system was irrational behaviour, being an expensive solution to a problem which did not exist.
In early January this year, US military bases in Okinawa, Japan, were again the subject of criticism after the Omicron variant of Covid-19 was detected among US base personnel and subsequently spread to locals. Hostility towards the presence of the bases has existed since the 1950s and the anti-base
The United States has just released an Indo-Pacific Strategy document, reiterating the importance of the region under President Joe Biden. Even though the document states the United States “will focus on every corner of the region, from Northeast Asia and Southeast Asia, to South Asia and
Antony Blinken’s visit to Fiji on Saturday will be the first by a US Secretary of State to the island nation in 37 years. The timing of this trip is not the most convenient for the region. While Blinken has invited leaders of neighbouring Pacific states to Fiji to participate in his visit, it is
The German naval chief, Vice Admiral Kay-Achim Schönbach, lost his job during a visit to Delhi last month. During an interaction where he went woefully off-script, he urged the West to offer “respect” to Russian President Vladimir Putin and keep the focus trained on China, a “not so nice
US President Joe Biden’s regrettable and somewhat rambling comments on the tense situation in Ukraine during a 19 January press conference understandably drew the attention of America’s allies and foreign policy analysts. But for those of us with the patience to listen to two hours of “pure,
While “strategic competition” between China and the United States is now regularly presented as a given, what is missing from much of this discussion is a focus on Chinese attitudes – both official and unofficial. In both Washington and Canberra the prevailing view is that tension with the
The buzz about an impending big announcement started the night before. But when the leaders from Australia, the United Kingdom and United States stood in a virtual press conference on 16 September to reveal Australia would eventually acquire nuclear-powered submarines, Sam Roggeveen’s first
US officials regularly present China as an aggressive and expansionist military power while Chinese state sources criticise the United States in similar terms. The verbal sparring has only increased concern about the prospect of a future war between China and the United States, with Australia as a
The jury in New Delhi is still out on AUKUS, the new trilateral security agreement between the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia. Three months after its announcement, the issue continues to split India’s security experts, with little consensus over whether it benefits New Delhi or is
Not content with sabre-rattling amid a menacing large troop build-up around Ukraine’s borders, Russia last week issued sweeping demands for legally binding new security guarantees from the United States and NATO. If implemented, these would constitute a significant revision of post-Cold