Monday 26 Aug 2019 | 11:34 | SYDNEY
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Rudd’s latest manoeuvre in the race to lead the UN

The indefatigable Kevin Rudd appeared in the news on the UN secretary-general (SG) race yet again in recent days. After denying that Rudd had sought out other countries to nominate him for SG, his spokesperson released a statement claiming that another government had approached Rudd about giving him

Syria: What are we going to do now?

As the media becomes full with images of the bombing of Aleppo, calls for military action by Washington to stop civilian deaths become louder and louder. As a former military planner though, I side with President Obama when he says that he hasn’t seen a military option that stops the civil war

Don’t blame globalisation

While Donald Trump plans to fix America’s economic malaise by blocking imports from Mexico and China, the latest IMF World Economic Outlook laments the slow growth of global trade. They can’t both be right. It is almost exactly 200 years since David Ricardo set out the advantages of countries

Kerry abandons diplomacy’s golden rule – for now

A cardinal principle of diplomacy is never to allow frustration over failed negotiations to prevent their eventual resumption. US Secretary of State John Kerry now appears to have done this overnight following collapse on 19 September of the Aleppo ceasefire he had painstakingly negotiated with

Obama and the Israeli story

President Barack Obama made what is likely to be his final trip to the Middle East as president on Friday to deliver a eulogy for Shimon Peres. It was full of personal memories of his conversations with Peres, who for most of Obama's presidency was his protocol opposite in Israel and, perhaps more

John Curtin's turn to America, 75 years on

This December will mark the 75th anniversary of one of the most momentous developments in Australian foreign policy, war-time Prime Minister John Curtin's famous turn to America. As we relax after Christmas and tune in to the Boxing Day Test, it may be worth reflecting on Curtin's New Year's

The Interpreter is taking a short break

Readers, Monday is the Labour Day public holiday here in Australia, so normal publication resumes on Tuesday. But look out for our usual weekly wrap tomorrow morning, and then at noon, a special Saturday article by the Shadow Foreign Minister, Senator Penny Wong, in what will be her first

Elon Musk's beguiling Mars vision

Earlier this week tech entrepreneur Elon Musk announced his company SpaceX's vision for human colonisation of Mars. Musk has been treated as something of a visionary in recent years for his leadership of the electric car company Tesla, but the company's planned takeover of SolarCity has been badly

What Malaysia has to gain from migration reform

By Rachael Buckland, an intern with the Migration and Border Policy Project, and Jiyoung Song, Director of the Migration and Border Policy Project. Asia is home to the most refugees and displaced people of any region, including the world's largest-known stateless group, Myanmar's Rohingya. Although

Reflections of a G20 scholar

Tomorrow will be the final official day of the Lowy Institute for International Policy’s G20 Studies Centre.  Australian Treasurer Scott Morrison will be speaking at the Lowy Institute tomorrow on the themes of trade, investment and immigration, all crucial dimensions to current discussions

Quick comment: Richard McGregor on Xi Jinping

It is rarely acknowledged that the list of Australian journalists working on China in recent times is pretty stellar. Just off the top of my head I can think of Jane Perlez (New York Times), John Garnaut (formerly Fairfax), Stephen McDonell (BBC), Chris Buckley (New York Times) and of course Richard

India's strategic restraint on Kashmir

Two weeks on from the worst attack on Indian soldiers in Kashmir for decades, the dust is starting to settle. Many Indian politicians, press, and analysts had struck a relentlessly hostile note, demanding that New Delhi take (in their view) long overdue military action against the Pakistani

TV trailer: Designated Survivor

This is a new series which has just started airing in the US and is available on Netflix here in Australia. It's a compelling premise for a series, and the reviews are generally positive. (H/t JG

West Papua high on Pacific Islands Forum agenda

The issue of human rights in West Papua was high on the agenda at the recent Pacific Islands Forum in the Federated States of Micronesia. Despite the sensitivities for member countries like Australia and Papua New Guinea, leaders at the forum also agreed the issue should stay on the agenda for

China's big dish is a big deal for Planet Earth

China has now started to operate the world's largest radio telescope. The 500-metre Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope (FAST) rests in a natural depression in Guizhou, and resembles the famous 300 metre Arecibo dish in Puerto Rico. Size alone does not speak of its power. The telescope's reflecting

Australia should take a stand on Veloso

In April last year, Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran were among eight people executed by firing squad in Indonesia. Their deaths brought the issue of capital punishment to the forefront of Australia’s consciousness and reignited debate over the practice on a global scale. 

Where economics fits in the security debate

The relationship between the intelligence and strategic communities on the one hand, and economists on the other, has a rich and storied history. Nobel Laurette Thomas Schelling perhaps exemplifies the interactions at their best. Schelling’s work on game theory and strategy influenced US

UN and Obama Summits: What's Next?

After years of refugee and migrant crises, for the first time in history this week 193 UN member states agreed to a unified approach. It was a consensus that was mostly talk with little action but it could yet be a platform for change. The Summit's main achievement was to adopt the New York

Fred Smith in conversation

If you have enjoyed the music of one-time diplomat turned musician and now author, Fred Smith, why not come and hear him in conversation with the Lowy Institute's research director Anthony Bubalo in Sydney tomorrow. Fred's acclaimed album Dust of Uruzgan evokes the two years he spent working

Measuring the value of digital diplomacy

Last Friday, I joined a panel discussion at the Young Australians in International Affairs Future 21 conference. The YAIIA is a great organisation, and if you have any interest in international affairs, you should check it out. Future21 was its first national conference and had a stellar line up of

Afghanistan conflict fuels desperate journeys

As planting season started in the northern Afghan province of Baghlan this spring, so did the fighting. One farmer, Ibrahim (he uses only one name), and his family had barely tilled their land when they had to leave. Fighting had been close by for most of the past year, but now it was in their

It's time for a new intelligence review

It has been five years since the release of the Independent Review of the Intelligence Community (or IRIC). Why do we need another review now? The IRIC endorsed the work the Australian Intelligence Community (AIC) had undertaken in response to the recommendations made by Philip Flood in his

How’s the Australian economy going?

Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. Australia ( the red line) has outperformed all the main advanced economies (which fall within the blue segments) for increase in GDP and per-capital GDP, is lower than almost all on unemployment (Japan is lowest, New Zealand a bit lower than

Quick Comment: M Chatib Basri on economics and Indonesia

Following today's eleventh annual Sydney Indonesia Update, Lowy Institute Nonresident Fellow Stephen Grenville sat down with former Indonesian Finance Minister and Thee Kian Wie Distinguished Visiting Professor at ANU M Chatib Basri to discuss all things Indonesia and economics, including where

North Korea: Reaching for Armageddon

North Korea does not naturally inspire optimism. Yet the tone among expert observers of the country's missile and nuclear programs has taken an unmistakably pessimistic tilt of late. Concern is mounting at Pyongyang's rapid technical advances. The frequency, sophistication and success rate of recent

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