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Weekend catch-up: South China Sea, Theresa May, AAA, and more

By John Gooding, Digital Editor at the Lowy Institute and Associate Editor at The Interpreter. This week the Permanent Court of Arbitration delivered a ruling in a case brought by the Philippines in 2013 over China’s claims in the South China Sea. The tribunal ruling favoured the Philippines and

South China Sea: A course-correction needed

Tuesday's South China Sea adjudication demonstrates that the UNCLOS framework is totally unsuited to sorting out the complex conflicting claims in the South China Sea in a way that the relevant parties will accept. By effectively announcing the Philippines as winner and China as loser, the tribunal'

Creating PNG jobs: The role of young entrepreneurs

By Jonathan Pryke, Research Fellow and Director of the Aus-PNG Network, Melanesia Program, and Anna Kirk, Research Associate, Melanesia Program. Although the focus today in Papua New Guinea is very much on events in parliament, the Pacific nation faces stark economic realities, particularly when

The migration-security nexus in Asia and Australia (part 5)

In my earlier posts in this series on the migration-security nexus in Australia and Asia (see part 1, part 2, part 3 and part 4), I’ve identified human insecurity as the major source of migration from Asia to Australia, and explained some commonly held human security concerns, or rather myths

Toppling Saddam: The view from Kuwait

Almost everybody seems to now agree; the second Iraq War (started in 2003 with the intention to force regime change in Baghdad, and still ongoing as a civil and sectarian war with heavy foreign involvement) was a grave mistake at best and an illegal, unnecessary and immoral act at worst. The war

Kim Jong-un sanctions: Why the US is targeting the man

On 6 July, the Obama administration introduced a new set of North Korea-related sanctions: this time, the North Korean hereditary dictator Kim Jong-un is targeted personally. Announcing the new measures, a US Treasury official said:' Under Kim Jong-un, North Korea continues to inflict intolerable

Chilcot: Australian dimensions

After seven years and at a cost of about $20 million, the report of the Chilcot Inquiry into the UK involvement with the 2003 Iraq War was released last week. At 2.6 million words it is almost five times longer than Tolstoy’s War and Peace but, unlike Tolstoy’s epic, it has  very

Abe's surreal election victory

On 10 July, Shinzo Abe’s ruling coalition won an impressive victory in Japan’s half-upper house election. Having campaigned on the need to stay the Abenomics course, Abe stated in his victory speech that he would convene commissions on the constitution in both houses of parliament.

One ruling, four very challenging tests

The ruling by the Arbitration Tribunal that is comprehensively in favour of the case filed by the Philippines in January 2013 poses four separate tests, none of them easy. 1. The test for China The biggest test is that posed by the ruling for China. It is also the most difficult. Now, if China

The bolt from The Hague

Yesterday’s unanimous Award by the five-member tribunal of the Permanent Court of Arbitration was three years in the making, but for the Philippines it was worth the wait. Of the 15 cases submitted by the Philippines in its dispute over China’s excessive maritime claims in the South China Sea

Chilcot: Intelligence, policy and war

Sir John Chilcot’s report had an impressively long gestation. The eventual release of 12 volumes totalling over two and a half million words amounts to a comprehensive indictment of British Prime Minister Blair’s unilateral decision to support the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. More than

The G20 stalls on fossil fuel subsidies

G20 countries agreed to phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies in 2009. Seven years later, they are still making the same promise with no agreement as to how and when they will achieve this goal.  There have been some important developments in global energy since the 2009 Pittsburgh G20

What THAAD deployment in South Korea means for China

Last week South Korea and the US confirmed their decision to deploy the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system on South Korean soil. This deployment is a joint response to North Korea’s continual testing of new medium- and long-range ballistic missiles and to its belligerent

What's next for ISIS in Indonesia

What if there was a suicide bombing in Central Java — and no one cared? That is effectively what happened a week ago, on 5 July, the last day of Ramadan, when yet another inept Indonesian terrorist killed himself and no one else at the municipal police command in Solo. Unlike the Jakarta

What does Putin want?

It's a tough question, with various layers, and might make Putin himself pause. Here's an attempt at an answer. Putin wants to win; he wants victory. So how he would he define victory? First, he must be able to rule securely till 2024, as a constitutional amendment he enacted allows. Securing that

John Howard and the Chilcot Inquiry

Last night all two million plus words of the Report of the Iraq Inquiry (otherwise known as the Chilcot report) were released to the general public. The Chilcot Inquiry found that Iraq did not present an imminent threat at the time of military action, that diplomatic efforts seeking disarmament had

'The Pivot': Yes, it is all about China

Thanks to Kurt Campbell for his prompt and thoughtful response to my review of his recent book The Pivot. Kurt’s post helps to clarify the key areas of difference between our views on the nature of America’s policy challenge in Asia today, and the adequacy of the Pivot policy as a

What an existential threat looks like

Politicians often talk loosely about terrorism as an 'existential threat', which is a vast overstatement — terrorists don't have the capability to undermine the character and essential functions of advanced nation-states. Unless those terrorists have nuclear weapons. Here's a short video

Chilcot Inquiry: What Blair knew in the rush to war

The Chilcot report into the invasion of Iraq will be released later this evening (AEST), and it should be a devastating indictment of how Britain was misled into an illegal, unnecessary, unpopular, foolish and ultimately disastrous war in 2003. Why do I say this? Because almost all the relevant

Why we should go to G20, minister or no minister

The Australian Financial Review's Lisa Murray and Angus Grigg have identified one consequence associated with the drawn-out election results. Australia may not have our Trade Minister represented at upcoming two-day G20 trade ministers meeting in Shanghai on 9-10 July. But, assuming we are in a

President Duterte takes the stage

Want to know why the rest of the world is  a bit nervous about the new president of the Philippines? In this quick comment, Lowy Institute nonresident fellow Malcolm Cook discusses the 'known unknowns and unknown unknowns' of the new Duterte administration that are occupying many in

China ramps up information warfare operations abroad

China’s participation in and sponsorship of international conferences, closed-door trilateral meetings and other forms of academic exchanges has exploded in recent years. From the near absence of Chinese participants a decade ago, the conference circuit is now swarming with panelists, observers

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter: The analyst's grief

Israel has entered the 'age of the fifth generation combat aircraft'. Its first F-35I 'Adir' was rolled out at Lockheed-Martin's facility in Ft. Worth, Texas. Israel's new Minister of Defense, Avigdor Liberman, attended, and the Israeli media was filled with superlatives: 'deadlier than any other

Islamic State demonstrates its deadly reach

The shocking attack by three terrorists on Kemal Ataturk airport has justifiably horrified us all.  And on the assumption that it has been carried out by Islamic State (the target selection of a tourism hub & lack of claim are similar to other such attacks) it reinforces the view that IS is

The implications of offshore balancing for Australia

After this year's US election, the incoming president will have an opportunity to reset the default position of US grand strategy from liberal interventionism to something more pragmatic, such as offshore balancing. It's an argument I made in an article for the London School of Economics US Centre,

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