Wednesday 22 May 2019 | 11:48 | SYDNEY
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Global Issues

The Global Issues program examines themes that lie at the intersection of global political trends and Australia’s interests, specifically US foreign policy, global migration & multilateral institutions.

The program has published ground-breaking papers on diasporas, the provision of consular assistance to Australians overseas, and Australia’s asylum-seeker policy.


Latest Publications

Friday funny: The longest day care

Since it's Oscars week, why not showcase one of the nominees from the Best Short Film (Animated) category, Maggie Simpson in 'The Longest Daycare'? Much like watching any recent episode of The Simpsons, I found this a slightly melancholy experience. The political humour is still there: we get

Never easier to see the world

This piece about falling US airline ticket prices in The Atlantic (short version: they've fallen 50% in the last 30 years) reminds me of one of my favourite personal stories about globalisation. In early 1990 I had just finished high school and was embarking on the rite of passage that so many 

Trailer: The Reluctant Fundamentalist

The performances and visuals look promising, but my, don't they lay on the political symbolism with a trowel. The quote near the end ('Yes, I'm a Pakistani, yes I'm a Muslim, but that's not all I am') is particularly unsubtle (and does any real human being actually say 'You're gonna get us both

Zero Dark Thirty: Airbrushing torture

Cynthia Banham is a former diplomatic correspondent for Fairfax and a PhD candidate at the Regulatory Institutions Network, ANU. For three years I've been researching the use of torture by liberal democracies after September 11, and my thinking about the subject has changed. I used to

Reader riposte: More on Zero Dark Thirty

Gregory MacCallion, a PhD Candidate in the Department of International Relations, Australian National University, has thoughts on Zero Dark Thirty (WARNING: spoilers follow, below the fold): This is just a quick thought on yesterday's Zero Dark Thirty comment. It might get some discussion

Reader riposte: Africa and Australia

Peter Jennings, Executive Director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, writes: I have been taken out of context by Joel Negin, who refers to me in a recent Interpreter blog on the importance of Africa in this way: The Executive Director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute

Development: Measurement matters

A new Hans Rosling presentation is always worth featuring on The Interpreter. The man behind Gapminder and one of the break-out stars of TED, Rosling here demonstrates the incredible progress made by African countries and the importance of data and measurement to chart future progress: Bill

Mike Callaghan on 'relaunching' the G20

With a G20 leaders' meeting happening in Russia this weekend, it's an opportune time to catch up with the Lowy Institute's G20 Studies Centre Director, Mike Callaghan.   At the end of January, Mike authored a new Lowy Institute Analysis, Relaunching the G20, which was quickly picked up in

Ratzinger the reformer

Crispin Rovere previously undertook academic research at the Vatican on Australia's political relations with the Holy See, and is now a PhD candidate at the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, ANU. 'Reforming progressive' is not a phrase frequently cited to describe Pope Benedict XVI. Repeated

New pope's global spiritual empire

With Pope Benedict announcing his retirement, all eyes turn towards his successor. The position of pope carries with it enormous power, for he is in effect an autocrat ruling over a global spiritual empire that is as heavily bureaucratised as any temporal empire ever was. Some articles talk of

More on 'Frank Gehry diplomacy'

Alan Davies, who writes Crikey's invaluable The Urbanist blog, has responded to my musings on Hillary Clinton's call for 'a new architecture for the world, more Frank Gehry than formal Greek.' I thought this analogy raised a number of questions about the new diplomatic architecture now operating

Tone-deaf dictatorships

RCW helpfully compiles the three ways Iran has embarrassed itself recently, most notably by revealing a laughable fiberglass model of a supposed stealth fighter. North Korea's propaganda doesn't pass the laugh test either. The regime recently uploaded the above video to its official website

Frank Gehry diplomacy?

I can understand Hillary Clinton's sentiment, but I gotta quibble with the metaphor: “We need a new architecture for this new world, more Frank Gehry than formal Greek,” Clinton said, after describing the system dominated by the United Nations, NATO and several other large organizations

Hagel nomination shows Obama's realism

Tom Switzer is research associate at the United States Studies Center at the University of Sydney and editor of The American Review. When Chuck Hagel appears before the US Senate Armed Services Committee overnight, he is likely to face tough questions about his past positions on Iran (he prefers

Surveillance for all, of all

The Pentagon recently released new details about a 1.8 gigapixel surveillance camera it has mounted on a drone. Here's an extract from a PBS documentary that gives you an idea of what that means in practice: On first viewing, there is a certain 'gee whiz' factor to this camera and its

Why Mali matters for France and Europe

Dr Daniel Woker is the former Swiss Ambassador to Australia and now a Senior Lecturer at the University of St Gallen. Mali might not be Afghanistan, but a country just south of the empty Sahara is geographically much closer to Europe. Refugees and, with a certain delay, economic migrants from

Documentary trailer: The Act of Killing

I'm sorry to spring this disturbing trailer on readers as you wind down for the weekend (a long weekend in Australia), but this film looks too astonishing not to share. Here's part of the synopsis: When Sukarno was overthrown by Suharto following the tragic 30 September Movement in 1965,

The parochialism of the present

From British Prime Minister David Cameron's speech announcing his proposal for a referendum on Britain's membership of the EU: What Churchill described as the twin marauders of war and tyranny have been almost entirely banished from our continent. Today, hundreds of millions dwell in freedom

Reader riposte: Airport symbolism

Steve Weintz responds to Sam Roggeveen's post on airports as national symbols: The Architecture - Design Museum in Los Angeles is currently running a major retrospective on Earo Saarinen, the designer of Dulles International and the TWA Terminal at JFK in New York. Like Oscar Niemeyer,

Henderson's head-scratcher

Interpreter alumnus Andrew Carr does sterling work on Twitter today, drily recounting Gerard Henderson's 'scoop' in the SMH: Here are the opening two paragraphs of Henderson's column, which Andrew refers to: The fashionable left-wing view of former president George W. Bush is he invaded

Thoughts on Obama's second inaugural

It was short! That’s the first thing that struck me about the transcript; apparently he got through it in 20 minutes. The second thing that occurred to me is that this is was a fine enunciation of two defining Obama traits: political liberalism and temperamental conservatism. Andrew Sullivan's

New Zealand beer diplomacy

Thanks to the folk at the Asia New Zealand Foundation for alerting me to this world exclusive from Beer & Brewer Magazine. It's the New Zealand Foreign Ministry's reply to an FOI requests asking for 'a list of every New Zealand beer brand served at each New Zealand Embassy, High Commission or

From privateers to a private navy

Simon Palombi is a Research Associate at the Lowy Institute. Earlier this week, Simon Murray, the chief of global commodities trading firm Glencore, announced the creation of a private navy funded by a consortium of UK businessmen under the company name Typhon. This private navy will use a 10,

Skyfall: Bond takes a neocon turn

I realise it's slightly late to be reviewing the latest Bond caper, but I saw Skyfall over the festive season, and since I haven't yet seen any reviews that tackle one particular political aspect of the film, I thought I would raise it. Some spoilers follow, so I'll put the remaining text below