The extraordinary rescue of crew from a stricken South Korean freighter off the US coast this week might have taken place on the other side of the world, but it serves as a reminder that safety of life at sea is a challenge everywhere. Closer to home, the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) has made
The Lowy Institute collects valuable data on how Australians view Asia, but equally important is how Asians see Australia, even if at times it makes for uncomfortable reading. Australia’s future depends crucially on the decisions Asians make: for example, on where to study, visit, live, buy and
There is more to be said about Martin Parkinson's speech on US economic diplomacy, and in particular how Australian attention has been diverted from the challenge of developing our relationship with Asia through region-based arrangements.
Parkinson says that 'what is striking about post-war Asia
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
After much internal debate and soul searching, the US has conducted its first 'Freedom of Navigation' operation in the South China Sea for several years. It will not be the last and we are fast approaching the point at which Australia needs to decide whether it will assert, with more than
Is the TPP an effort to contain China? If you've been reading the papers or glancing at social media recently, you could be forgiven for thinking so. The New York Times didn't quite use the word containment, but argued that the agreement was a 'win for the United States in its contest with China
US-India relations are in good shape. The personal relationship between Modi and Obama appears excellent, there are big, ambitious ideas in the pipeline – like US assistance to Indian carrier development – and the strategic dialogue is getting deeper in several ways.
But things are falling
Having a Catholic Pope and the General Secretary of the Communist Party of China descend on Washington at almost exactly the same time helped illustrate something important about diplomacy. When staging a high-level state visit, there is a simple choice: emphasise either the head or the heart. This
Just one day after China's V-Day parade was held under auspiciously azure skies, smog rolled back over Beijing, as if a reminder of the evanescence of great power. George Orwell wrote that 'he who controls the past controls the future.' China's parade was not only about a remembered past; it is
Delivering the 2015 Lowy Lecture in Sydney yesterday, General David Petraeus outlined a thought-provoking grand strategy for 'Greater Asia'.
Geographically, Petraeus defines Greater Asia along a maritime axis from the Mediterranean to the Sea of Japan, but also overland 'from Western Russia to
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
As was laid out in part 1 of this two-part series, barring major unforeseen developments between now and voting day on January 16, 2016, it is likely that Tsai Ing-wen will become Taiwan's first female president.
China stated in its recent defense white paper that 'the root cause of
It's increasingly clear that China intends to use its artificial islands in the South China Sea for military purposes.
Admiral Harry Harris, commander of US Pacific Command, delivered this assessment on a panel that I was privileged to be part of at the Aspen Security Forum last week. Harris
Over the last two months, there has been noticeable progress on three separate fronts in Japan's 30-year process of 'renormalising' its' approach to external defence:
Last week, the Abe cabinet approved the 2015 Japanese Defence White Paper after revisions were made to make it focus more
The great strength of Ken Ward's Condemned to Crisis? is that it confronts head-on some of the false constructs surrounding Australia-Indonesia relations. Although many of the arguments have been made by other Indonesia experts over the years, Ward's call for a more realistic approach to the
This month saw a super summit of two organisations that are significant for both Russia and China. The 7th BRICS summit and 15th Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit, both held in Ufa, Russia, included the typical member-state declarations confirming cooperation on major issues such as
The Pakistani newspaper Dawn declared that at least 1200 people had died in Karachi, capital of the worst affected Pakistani state, Sindh, during the recent week-long heatwave. The effects of the abnormally high temperatures have been exacerbated by local infrastructure that has struggled to cope;
Is China ready for a larger global role and should the outside world, in particular a regional partner like Australia, embrace this possibility? Evidently not, judging by remarks made by the Secretary of the Prime Minister's Department, Michael Thawley. 'China wasn't ready to take on the
This year's Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Heads of State Council Meeting, being held in Russia on 10 July, promises to be the most productive in years. Pakistan and India will likely be confirmed as full members (although ascension may not occur until 2016), a move Moscow has long
By Jackson Kwok, an intern with the Lowy Institute's East Asia Program. He holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree with specialisations in Chinese language, history, and foreign policy from the University of Sydney.
Reading through the Chinese media coverage of last week's US-China Strategic
President Barack Obama finally has authority from the US Congress for advancing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a signature foreign policy of his final term in office. The TPP aims to establish a free trade zone around the Pacific Rim covering 40% of the global economy, while excluding China
The China-Russia relationship is the world's most important, and the best between any two great powers, Xi Jinping told Vladimir Putin a couple of years ago. Last week, at the Kremlin's V-Day celebration, their ties were reaffirmed in grand style.
Some observers dismiss the partnership as an '
China and the US have both been described as countries that consider themselves to be exceptional. China, so much so, that some analysts argue it sees itself as 'uniquely unique'. What this means in China is that most Chinese understand themselves to be part of a culture that no-one else can truly
'Who lost China?' is perhaps the most dreaded question of modern American foreign policy. It reveals the historical dilemma that haunts Washington today: The rise of China will inevitably challenge America's longstanding presence in Asia; it doesn't matter whether American interests actively help or
For a long time American (and Australian) thinking about China has been dominated by a broad consensus that, despite many signs of growing assertiveness, Beijing does not pose a fundamental challenge to US leadership in Asia. The argument goes that, whatever they might say, China's leaders know
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has just completed a ground-breaking tour of the Indian Ocean, aiming to consolidate India's leading role among the island states and counter China's growing presence in the region.
Modi is now breaking some long-standing taboos in Indian foreign policy.
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
In the continuing debate between Hugh White and Shaskank Joshi regarding US-India strategic cooperation, I would associate myself closely with the views of White and what he sees as the eventual limits of the relationship.
But I would take it one step further. In the long-term, an anti-US
Should Australia join the Chinese-sponsored Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB)? As often happens in international affairs, the answer is not found in the technical pros and cons of the proposal, but in the politics.
America seems to have strongly encouraged its close Asian friends (Japan
In his latest contribution to our debate, Shashank Joshi raised some excellent points against my sceptical view of the emerging India-US strategic partnership. But I'm still unpersuaded.
To explain why, it helps to step back and clarify the question we are debating here. It is not whether
Conflict has broken out across Asia. Militaries aren't involved and there are unlikely to be human casualties, but this conflict is already re-shaping our most important partners in Asia.
Last week, under very different circumstances, two documentaries went viral online and now the Chinese and
Over the past month, Hugh White and I have exchanged opposing views on the meaning of the US-India relationship on The Interpreter.
Hugh first argued that President Barack Obama's January trip to New Delhi failed, 'because India is not willing to make the preservation of US primacy its principal
Shashank Joshi makes a good case for the importance of Obama's visit to India last month, and against my view that there is much less to the US-India alignment than meets the eye.
My argument is that their underlying strategic objectives remain too different for real strategic alignment. Shashank
One of the most important aspects of the recent dramatic shift in US-India relations has been the convergence in the two states' narratives about Asia. It's easy to forget that this change is palpable not just over a four-decade period, but even in the past six years alone.
In 2009, early in his
Despite China's long-standing diplomatic principle of non-intervention in the internal affairs of other states, Beijing cannot completely control its citizens' involvement in terrorist activity abroad. Whether China likes it or not, it is being drawn into the conflict against ISIS.
In 1965, a Pakistani military delegation traipsed to Beijing in hope of replacing equipment they'd lost in the previous year's war with India.
Premier Zhou Enlai, meeting the delegation, was bewildered by their request for only 14 days' ammunition. 'How can a war be fought in that short time?' Zhou
It has been a busy year for India in the Asia Pacific. From multilateral summits to bilateral diplomacy, the Modi Government has deliberately moved to step up engagement with its East and Southeast Asian partners.
At this year's India-ASEAN Summit, Prime Minister Modi announced his intention to
A couple of days ago I laid out the arguments for a US withdrawal from South Korea. Today, I lay out the arguments for staying.
This topic is rarely discussed. In the US, the foreign policy consensus for hegemony, forged between liberal internationalists on the left and interventionist
The four excellent responses to my post on China-Japan relations all present important points about Japan's situation and its options in the face of China's growing power. Just to recap, my piece questioned whether Chinese political and military pressure on Japan in the East China Sea is as
Over at War on the Rocks, Christopher Lee (a former officer in the US Forces Korea [USFK]) and Tom Nichols (of the US Naval War College) have gotten into a useful debate on whether US forces should remain in Korea. This issue is not widely discussed, which is surprising given the end of the Cold
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,
Prime Minister Abe's carefully crafted speech to the Australian parliament gave credence to Prime Minister Abbott's much tut-tutted claim that Japan is Australia's best friend in Asia. The historic speech also clearly helped dispel one doubt about Prime Minister Abe: that he was unwilling to
In the world of international relations theory, the realist paradigm reigns supreme. In large part, this is because it has core features that exert strong appeal beyond the academy: explanatory parsimony and the use of historical analogy. Realists place great emphasis on Europe's experience of
The Korea-Japan dispute over history is back yet again, with the Japanese Government this week releasing a 'review' of the drafting of the 'Kono Statement.'
That statement is the 1993 Japanese admission, by Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono, that the Imperial military during the Pacific War
The rapidly escalating situation in Iraq is a major test for US foreign policy. President Obama, who outlined in his West Point address a policy of selective US engagement and sharply circumscribed US military power, now faces unpalatable decisions about reengaging in Iraq.
But there is a
Last week saw the publishing of Robert Kagan's latest essay for New Republic magazine: 'Allure of Normalcy: what America still owes the world'. It is a magisterial contribution that will enter the realm of 'classic' US foreign policy essays.
There have been a number of such essays since the end
Amid tensions in the South China Sea and new alarm about a China-Russia alignment, President Obama's speech at West Point sends some confusing signals to the countries of Indo-Pacific Asia.
To be fair, the speech was not meant to be principally about Asia. It was intended to draw a final line
Last week, Brad Glosserman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies made the smart observation that China has recently chosen a surprisingly hard course in its foreign policy. It has lately picked a series of fights with its neighbours which threaten to derail the 'peaceful rise'