In this feature, we identify ten recurring propositions about the rules-based order and show it's evolution through national debate and government policy. Explore how the rules-based order has developed over time and in meaning with experts offering inside commentary along the way
Boris Johnson clearly has a soft spot for Australia.
No white bread politician, his whole manner is a breath of fresh air. Not only was he smart enough to renounce his dual citizenship, he has turned dishevelment into an art form.
He was at it again last night, delivering the 2017 Lowy Lecture
In her Fullerton lecture delivered on Monday in Singapore, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop gave a full-throated defence of the prevailing regional order. From what is conceptually speaking the most interesting foreign policy statement by a senior Australian official in a long time (even if it was
The former Member for Longman's surprise visit to Iraq is drawing plenty of criticism. The ALP's Penny Wong was perhaps the most savage, advising him that Iraq was not a 'place for people to act out their boyhood fantasies', while the foreign minister was also willing to criticise her former
As Australian digital diplomacy strives to catch up to rest of the world, these monthly links highlight the most creative and effective ways countries are leveraging the internet for foreign policy gain.
A fantastic blog post by @Lorey explaining how the UK's UN mission used Twitter (and
The 10th East Asia Summit this weekend promises to be one of the most interesting bits of summitry in some time. This, the last stop on Malcolm Turnbull’s five-nation tour which has included one-on-one meetings with the top three on Forbes' Most Powerful List, is also likely to prove the most
Shortly after the Abbott Government took office in September 2013, it overturned the decision by Labor Foreign Minister Bob Carr in 2012 to recognise Burma’s new official name, Myanmar. This had long been the country’s traditional name but it was only adopted as the official name in English by
A few days ago a suggestion was made on Crikey that DFAT, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, should be scrapped. I was tempted to ignore it, because as far as I can tell, the author, Jason Murphy, based his call largely on the fact that he just doesn't like free trade agreements
It's leaders' week at the UN. The 70th Session of the General Assembly is open for business under the Presidency of Mogens Lykketoft of Denmark. General-Secretary Ban Ki-Moon is presiding over his penultimate session; next year he will be replaced by an 'Eastern European woman,' if Russia's
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has just announced that Australia will bid for a seat on the UN Security Council in 2029-30.
That's 15 years from the end of our last Security Council seat (2013-14). But it compares against the 27 years between our fourth and fifth outings at the Security Council.
On Monday, Prime Minister Turnbull unveiled a new cabinet with sweeping changes to the front bench. The most important point for the Pacific is that Julie Bishop retains her position as Foreign Minister, with an improved status in cabinet as one of the kingmakers of the new Government.
As I wrote the other week, the Arab world, and the Gulf States in particular, have been happy to bat away any criticism of their complete refusal to resettle any refugees from Syria while leaving the West to deal with the tide of human misery.
Protests have been held in Europe debating the pros
By Ron Walker, currently a visiting fellow at the Asia Pacific College of Diplomacy at ANU. Ron is a former DFAT officer who worked for 20 years in Australia's nuclear diplomacy. Among the positions he occupied were the first Head of the Nuclear Safeguards Branch and Chairman of the Board of
The Australian Government has finally announced that it will increase its humanitarian intake by 12,000 places in the wake of the Syrian crisis. Amid the cacophony over which refugees are most in need of refuge, and the unhelpful 'Muslim versus Christian' discourse, there is a community that has
Following a community outcry over the plight of asylum seekers in Europe, the Australian Government has announced that it will resettle 12,000 Syrian and Iraqi refugees. This will be in addition to the annual refugee and humanitarian intake of 13,750. Prime Minister Tony Abbott has described the
Parliament's Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT) presented its report on the Australia India nuclear cooperation Agreement on 8 September after ten of months deliberation. JSCOT's advice must be 'taken into account' though not necessarily acted upon.
The Kudankulam nuclear power plant in
The Government's announcement yesterday that it would conduct air strikes inside Syria is notable more for what it didn't say than what it did. It was long on rhetoric, but short on detail, and lacked any semblance of strategic vision or acknowledgment of the potential impact on the situation inside
In terms of the world's financial markets, China is the centre of attention. Last week I argued that concerns about stock markets and exchange rate devaluations were minor and ephemeral issues. Attention should instead be on the longer-term challenges that China faces in keeping its growth rate
Over the weekend an Egypt court found Al-Jazeera journalists Peter Greste, Mohammed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed guilty on charges of operating in Egypt without a press licence and of ‘spreading false news’. Greste and Fahmy were given sentences of three years in prison; Mohamed was given three years
The US and Russia are reportedly promoting a concert-of-powers approach to new negotiations over Syria.
Although any movement toward a political solution will be limited by the unwillingness of ISIS and other Islamists to engage in such a process, recent intelligence contact between the Syrians and
Ken Ward is to be congratulated for a straight forward and sober analysis of the Australia-Indonesia relationship. In his own matter of fact style, Ken takes us through a complex relationship and provides unique understanding and insight.
His core point is that the Australia-Indonesia
Maybe it's just the title – Condemned to Crisis? – that gives Ken Ward's book such a downbeat despairing tone, as if the accident of geography has locked us in an unhappy marriage with Indonesia and there is not much we can do about it.
Of course we should be realistic: we won't ever have the
As part of the 'Sectarianism and Religiously Motivated Violence' Masters course run by the Lowy Institute's Rodger Shanahan at ANU's National Security College, students are asked to write an article on contemporary sectarian conflict. This piece by William Stoltz was judged the best of those
It remains too early to predict the collapse of the Assad regime, or the way in which it might end, although the possibility of 'catastrophic success' on the part of the jihadist opposition is weighing on minds in Washington.
What is clear, however, are grounds for serious concern about the
The conclusion of the Iran nuclear deal – or the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, to give it its formal title – has already guaranteed us one thing: mutually assured hyperbole.
Barrages of outrage were being fired even before the deal was signed. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Overall, Australians continue to feel secure in the face of rising instability in the world and terrorism threats at home, according to the latest Lowy Institute poll.
But that sense of security is declining. 80% of those asked how safe they feel about world events responded positively in 2015.
The latest round of negotiations for the UN's Framework Convention on Climate Change closed in Bonn last Friday with mixed results. With ten formal negotiating days left until crucial climate negotiations resume in Paris later this year, the clock is ticking.
Bonn Climate Change Conference, 1 June
Danielle Cave has argued that Australia could benefit from a less cautious approach to digital diplomacy. For example, the increasing informality of Foreign Minister Julie Bishop's Twitter presence has led to new audiences. Would Buzzfeed have bothered to interview Bishop if she hadn't agreed to
The recent contributions on the 1951 Refugee Convention from Khalid Koser and Jane McAdam are heartening. It is good to read rational and reasoned discussion by two experts on the international refugee regime and the challenges it faces.
If timing is anything to go by, Khalid Koser has hit the
At a time when international cooperation on refugees is most sorely needed, countries are instead resorting to increasing unilateralism. Australia is at the forefront. Retreating inwards by trying to seal off borders to people in search of protection is both unrealistic and unsustainable.
The differences between the recent crises of boat arrivals in Europe and Australia are far greater than their similarities. There is not a civil war brewing 200km from Australian territory, and neither is the worst refugee crisis in the last half century being unleashed within striking distance.
Australia's approach to digital diplomacy is second-rate and entirely inadequate for a nation that sees itself as 'a top 20 country'. Despite an expanded social media presence, Australia continues to lag far behind other countries – large and small – that are investing serious resources into
After a decade of swimming against the tide, the Australian Government is slowly engaging in the world of digital diplomacy.
The term 'DFAT the Dinosaur' no longer applies, a label slapped onto our foreign affairs department in 2010 after a series of public refusals to incorporate the internet
Failure to pay proper, high-level attention to negotiations under the UN's climate convention (UNFCCC) seriously endangers Australia's national interest in areas beyond climate change. This is the important headline conclusion from a timely Lowy Institute paper by Howard Bamsey and Kath Rowley.
'Camp out on the school oval under the stars like the ANZACS did 100 years ago,' says the flyer sent home from my son's school last week.
On 24 April 2015, 100 years after the ill-fated Gallipoli landing, our school children are invited to bake damper around the camp fire, make craft poppies and
When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for early elections last December there was a schizophrenic character to a lot of the analysis. Most observers thought Bibi would probably win again; but there were also predictions that perhaps Bibi had started to run out of political puff.
Australia's likely decision to become a founding member of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) marks the loosening of America's 70 year command over global governance.
US Secretary of State John Kerry and World Bank President Jim Yong Kim at the African Growth and Opportunity Act
On 3 March, Australia's Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said, 'We must use the celebration of International Women's Day to highlight the plight of women still fighting for freedom and equality, for when that is achieved it will be for the betterment of us all.'
That fight is ongoing in the Asia-
As we learned from a recent Lowy Institute poll, 62% of Australians oppose the use of the death penalty in the case of Bali Nine members Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran in Indonesia. But what do Indonesians think about the case?
While I have yet to find a similar survey of Indonesian public
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
The Australian Government's announcement that 300 additional troops will be sent to Iraq to help train the Iraqi Army has brought forth the usual public commentators, myself included. My view is that all those who see ISIS as evil should be prepared to commit military and other resources to oppose
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
It's hard to believe that just four months after President Jokowi swept to power on a wave of disillusionment with Indonesia's politics, his predecessor Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is now openly displaying schadenfreude.
President Jokowi's disastrous handling of the appointment of a new police
South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill has announced the establishment of a Royal Commission to consider Australia's, and specifically South Australia's, possible future role in nuclear energy.
He has invited comments on the terms of reference of the Commission, which are to be finalised in March
When King Salman bin Abdulaziz succeeded King Abdullah last month, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia edged one step closer towards a succession crisis.
US Secretary of State John Kerry with Omanu Sultan Qaboos bin Said, May 2013. (Flickr/US State Dept.)
There remain two more sons in the house of
The Australian parliament's Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT) will soon review the proposed treaty between Australia and India on Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy, signed by Prime Ministers Abbott and Modi in New Delhi on 5 September 2014.
A 1984 cartoon on Australia's
The UN is the go-to organisation for virtually every forgotten international crisis.
While the West has struggled on in Afghanistan and Iraq, the UN and its peacekeeping missions have been deployed to just about everywhere else: Congo, Central African Republic, South Sudan, Darfur, Mali, Liberia
On 24 December 2014, two decades of campaigning and several years of negotiations culminated in the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) entering into force as an internationally legally binding instrument, having been ratified by 50 countries.
The ATT aims to provide a minimum international benchmark for
Last month I spent time in a tank thinking about think tanks. Admittedly it was a very architecturally interesting tank at The Graduate Institute Geneva, which this year hosted the Global Think Tank Summit with the Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program at the University of Pennsylvania.