The word that the extreme right use to describe the political radicalisation of newcomers to their worldview is “red pilling”. The metaphor comes from to the techno-dystopian film The Matrix. But its modern cultural usages refers to a radical political conversion or awakening, where individuals
Last week Paramount Pictures released the trailer for its much-hyped Top Gun sequel, Top Gun: Maverick. The new movie sees Tom Cruise reprise his role as Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, now an aging fighter pilot facing the political and technological realities of a world in which there may no longer
Influence operations in the digital age are not merely propaganda with new tools. They represent an evolved form of manipulation which present actors with endless possibilities – both benign and malignant. While the origins of this new form are semi-accidental, it has nonetheless opened up
Thanks to advances in digital technologies, open-source intelligence (OSINT) is playing an increasingly important role in the mix of intelligence collected by state and non-state actors. Now and then The Interpreter will publish OSINT links instead of the weekly Digital Asia links to capture the
Back in April, Fergus Hanson highlighted the glaring need for a global response to ISIS in the cyber domain, and welcomed the announcement of an $18 million initiative to counter extremist propaganda online from the Australian Government.
Last month Defence Minister Kevin Andrews announced the
Hegemon is a wickedly interactive multi-player/multi-round geostrategic game devised by the Potomac Foundation. Each player represents a country, fielding certain economic and military resources and possessing (secret) objectives.
Ranged across a gods-eye planetary gameboard, Hegemon is the '
On 27 July, three militants crossed from Pakistan into the Indian state of Punjab, according to GPS sets they were carrying. They planted five IEDs on a railway track, targeted bus passengers and holed up in a police station in Gurdaspur 20km from the border, eventually killing seven Indians. The
Long resisted by the US for its impracticality and because it was considered too big a concession to Turkish interests, the concept of a 'no-fly zone' in northern Syria now appears to have morphed into a so-called 'safe zone'. The plan, as far as it appears to have been enunciated, involves US and
To new readers, this is part four in a running debate between me and Van Jackson of Georgetown. Van (we are friends) originally argued that the group of countries pushing back on China in the South China Sea (SCS) could use South Korea’s extra weight. I responded that South Korea, as a middle
Sadegh Zibakalam is a prominent Iranian intellectual and political commentator and a Professor of Political Science at the University of Tehran. I spoke with him from Tehran:
Q. Is this a good deal for Iran? How significant are the concessions made by Iran to reach this agreement?
Monday's suicide bombing in the Turkish town of Sucuc on the Syrian border, blamed on militants from ISIS, marks a significant deterioration in Turkey's national security.
While not the first attack blamed on Islamist militants inside Turkey's borders, it was the deadliest in two years, killing at
It's now three weeks since the Abbott Government introduced a bill into parliament that would see dual-national terrorists forfeit their Australian citizenship.
But is popularity (as evidenced by public support for extending these powers to sole nationals) the rationale behind the pursuit of
Late last month, in conjunction with attacks at a beach resort in Tunisia and a 'lone wolf' attack in eastern France, a suicide bomber struck the Imam Al-Sadeq mosque in Kuwait City, killing 27 and injuring 222 people. In the days after the suicide attack, Government-sponsored billboards began
Last month on The Diplomat, Van Jackson made an important argument about South Korea's increasingly notable silence on freedom of navigation in the South China Sea (South China Sea).
Jackson, like many analysts, recognises growing Chinese misbehaviour there, most obviously the destabilising
Another seven days to reach an agreement; that's what the P5-1 decided this week when they weren't able to meet their 30 June deadline for a final deal on Iran's nuclear program. While some differences remain, both sides have come too far to walk away. The potential agreement achieves Western
Islamist insurrection has returned to Egypt. There has been a significant growth in the sophistication of the targeting, conduct and lethality of terrorist acts, a crisis of political legitimacy for the Egyptian Government, and the virtual abandonment of any separation of executive and judicial
The suicide bombing of a Shia mosque in Kuwait, shooting of Western tourists in Tunisia, and a beheading and attempt to blow up a chemical factory in France.
Three continents, three different attack methodologies and three different targets, but ultimately the same result. The death of innocent
North Korea's apparently successful test of a workable submarine launched ballistic missile (SLBM) was big news over the weekend.
Signs that North Korea had been working on designing and testing both an SLBM and a submarine with the vertical missile launch tubes capable of firing them have been
Over the past month, The Interpreter has hosted a debate on Australian defence strategy initiated by Alan Dupont's Lowy analysis paper, Full-Spectrum Defence.
The discussion so far has only glanced tangentially off the most brutal of the realities affecting defence strategy: the perpetually
While the world focuses on the dangers that a nuclear-armed Iran could present in the Middle East, a potentially more dangerous and unstable nuclear proliferation is occurring in the Indian Ocean.
In the coming years India, Pakistan, and perhaps China will likely deploy a significant number of
The first thing to say about Alan Dupont's recent paper is that he is absolutely correct about the dire condition of Australian strategic policy.
As he suggests, we lack a coherent answer to the most basic question of all: 'What do we want our armed forces to be able to do?' Until that question
This week’s Quick Comment podcast is with the new head of ANU’s National Security College and Lowy Institute Nonresident Fellow, Professor Rory Medcalf, who last night delivered a speech in which he argued that Australia needs to rethink how it approaches and considers national security and
Since 2010, Boko Haram has acquired increasingly sophisticated weaponry, grown its ranks, and expanded its capacity to attack a variety of targets, primarily in northeastern Nigeria.
Boko Haram´s links to international networks, including al-Qaeda, became known to the Nigerian public in March
ISIS and submarines are the two big fashionable defence and national security concerns at the moment. When combined, they make it evident that there is need for a considerable rethink about how Australia approaches defence and security.
Today we seem stuck around notions of fighting an sea-air
In this Analysis, Alan Dupont argues that successive Australian governments have failed to define an effective national defence strategy. Australia needs a defence strategy that counters threats across multiple domains, is based on more diverse regional defence relationships, and is underpinned by
My generation doesn't think much about nuclear weapons, disarmament and the consequences of nuclear-weapons use. Some certainly do, but generally, the cause of nuclear disarmament is being carried on by an older generation.
I think that's a problem. Nuclear weapons seems like an old issue, from
For most of my professional life I have been addicted to Middle Eastern politics. In recent years, however, I have started to kick the habit, so I had not planned to get up at 3am Sydney time to watch Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu deliver his much anticipated and controversial address
At a forum held at the Parliament of New South Wales last Tuesday evening, the General Secretary of Lebanon's Future Movement party, Ahmad Hariri, forcefully condemned terrorism in the name of Islam. Flanked by pictures of two former Lebanese prime ministers, the slain Rafik Hariri and his son Saad
On Tuesday New Zealand Prime Minister John Key announced in parliament that New Zealand would deploy a non-combat military mission to Iraq as part of the US-led coalition against ISIS. The 'Building Partner Capacity' mission to help train the Iraqi Security Forces will be part of a joint (albeit
Should the West arm Ukraine against Russian-backed rebels? That's a question guaranteed to generate earnest debate among armchair foreign policy pundits. But it also found its way into the just-concluded 51st Munich Security Conference.
Chancellor Angela Merkel, Munich Security Conference, 8
A scientist and WMD expert with the Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO), Dr Robert (Bob) Mathews, has been honoured by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) for his contributions to chemical weapons disarmament in a ceremony on 1 December in The Hague.
China recently tested its WU-14 hypersonic device, marking its third flight test this year. These tests have elicited analysis for their impact on Beijing's military capabilities, including their potential to break through missile defences.
They merit even closer attention, however, for what they
An ambitious Chinese initiative to build a series of strategic maritime distribution centres, west to Africa and beyond, has been revealed. This is an extension of the Maritime Silk Road, which in turn complements a plan to revive the terrestrial Silk Road through central Asia.
Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope (Ret.) is a former First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff, Royal Navy. This is an extract from a presentation to a Lowy Institute international workshop on sea-launched nuclear weapons and strategic stability, held in Singapore earlier this year.
The role of nuclear
By Rory Medcalf, Director of the Lowy Institute's International Security Program and James Brown, Military Fellow
Debates on Australia's defence policy have long oscillated between two schools: one focused on the physical defence of Australia's territory and its immediate maritime approaches, the
In November of every other year, aviation experts descend on the Chinese city of Zhuhai for a rare look at the future of China's air power. Over the last ten years, the International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition has charted the progress of China's drone fleet from concept art to functioning
As several participants in our debate have argued, nuclear ballistic missile submarines (SSBN) can have a positive effect on strategic stability in Asia and globally. But they do not exist in a vacuum. New military capabilities, and strategies that take advantage of them, are being developed and
I picked up my tickets for tomorrow's AFL Grand Final the other day. My team, the Sydney Swans, is playing and I should be excited to be going. Instead, I have been infected by the unease gripping Melbourne. I ask myself, am I taking a risk by attending the game?
We are told by our political
It has become commonplace to lament the arms races underway in Indo-Pacific Asia.
China's military modernisation over the last two decades has helped provoke heightened political tensions and growing concern in capitals from Tokyo to New Delhi to Washington and Moscow. North Korea's continued
Don't believe anything you read on the cyber espionage spat between US and China. Depending on who's talking, the US is a 'thief crying stop thief' and a 'mincing rascal'; or China's 'scale of commercial hacking is immense', perhaps the 'greatest transfer of wealth in history'.
Revelations about mass intelligence gathering by the US and its allies serve the useful purpose of highlighting the need for, and proper role of, intelligence oversight in democracies. This essay provides a conceptual overview of some of the ideal types of democratic intelligence oversight.
In an opinion piece in The Sydney Morning Herald, Lowy Institute non-resident Senior fellow Alan Dupont writes of the need for Australia to integrate all aspects of its national food policy to guarantee future food security
The outbreak of SARS in late 2002 has alerted the world to the potential economic costs of epidemics. The purpose of this paper is to provide an assessment of the global economic impacts of the SARS disease as well as provide a more comprehensive approach to estimating the global consequences of