Tuesday 18 Feb 2020 | 17:47 | SYDNEY
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The Cameron Government's secret courts

Cynthia Banham is a former diplomatic correspondent for Fairfax and a PhD candidate at the ANU. This is part 3 of her series on counter-terrorism after the 9/11 decade. Part 1 here; part 2 here. To get an idea of the level of concern in the UK over the Cameron Government's proposed Justice

Obama's targeted killings: Legal questions

Cynthia Banham is a former diplomatic correspondent for Fairfax and a PhD candidate at the ANU. This is part 2 of her series on counter-terrorism after the 9/11 decade. Part 1 here. There is a bleak irony in President Obama, who banned the use of torture upon taking office, finding it more

Reader riposte: More on West Papua

Andrew Johnson writes: Your reader George Darroch made no attempt to address the trusteeship issue which I raised. Whatever the Indonesians or the West Papuans are doing would likely become irrelevant if the United Nations accepts that West Papua is still a UN trust territory. And as readers

Counter-terrorism: After the 9/11 decade

Cynthia Banham is a former diplomatic correspondent for Fairfax and a PhD candidate at the Regulatory Institutions Network, ANU. The Open Society Foundation's recent report detailing the scale of the Bush Administration's extraordinary rendition program and the extent of cooperation by 54 allies

Reader ripostes: Whaling and Papua

Alisha Price writes: A short note to let you know that I am one of many who are in support of the anti-poaching work that Sea Shepherd is doing in the Southern Ocean as well as the other reserves and sanctuaries they seek to protect. I agree with the response Captain Paul Watson has written to

Free markets: Purity is impotence

Australia has a pretty consistent record of playing by the 'free market' rules in its international economic relations, with low tariffs, restrained use of anti-dumping restrictions, acceptance of international intellectual property norms and openness to international capital flows. By and large,

The power of decisive policy action

Mike Callaghan is Director of the Lowy Institute's G20 Studies Centre.   Comparisons between the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the President of the European Central Bank (ECB) Mario Draghi may be rare. But the two men do have something in common. They have both demonstrated the power

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

Indonesia: Signs of new thinking on Papua

Gary Hogan was the first foreigner to graduate from Indonesia's Institute of National Governance (Lemhannas) and was Australia's Defence Attaché to Indonesia from 2009 to 2012. The 21 February slaying of eight soldiers in two separate incidents by anti-government rebels in Indonesia's troubled

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 

Japanese whaling: Sea Shepherd doesn't help

Rear Admiral (ret'd) James Goldrick AO, CSC is a Nonresident Fellow at the Lowy Institute. I hold no brief for Japan's 'scientific' whaling effort. Apart from the environmental issues, it is an old fashioned rort conducted by vested interests in Japan with no consideration for either the Japanese

World economy: Keep optimism cautious

Earlier this month I noted that, after several years dominated by bad economic news, the start of the current year had brought hopes that we might finally see a degree of stability return to what has been a demonstrably unstable global economy. While some of this shift in sentiment could be put

Sliding towards China accommodation

Andrew Sullivan describes succinctly the dilemma that's at the heart of the US budget sequester: ...in a budget crisis, where the GOP is rightly demanding structural spending cuts, we have two big shiny objects to raid: Medicare, and defense...Now if Americans were to choose between taking

Southern Europe wounded, not defeated

Dr Daniel Woker is the former Swiss Ambassador to Australia and now a Senior Lecturer at the University of St Gallen. All is not well in southern Europe. Six months ago I wrote in this space about southern Italy's crumbling infrastructure and rotting structures. Italy's voters just presented the

Busting some myths about the G20

Hugh Jorgensen is a Research Associate in the Lowy Institute's G20 Studies Centre. While much of the G20 commentary in early 2013 has tended towards a diagnosis of doom for the forum, to borrow from Mark Twain, the reports of the G20's death 'are greatly exaggerated'. The latest G20 Monitor

Reader riposte: Retired military voices

Wing Commander Brian Dirou, DFC (Retired) responds to a debate we hosted in August of last year: Post-ADF formation in 1974, there was a mass exodus of personnel with embedded traditional military ethos and combat experience. Very counter-productive age/rank related mandatory retirement also

Asian cyber competition: What to do?

James Lewis is Director of the Technology and Public Policy Program at CSIS, Washington, DC. This is the last in a five-part series on Asia in the age of cyber threats. Part 1; part 2; part 3; part 4. Conflict and competition in cyberspace is part of a larger shift in the international security

The unavoidable global tax problem

Mike Callaghan is Director of the Lowy Institute's G20 Studies Centre.   Tax is a dry subject. It may be one of the certainties in life, but it is extremely complex, few fully understand it, and most individuals feel they pay too much of it. But therein lies a problem. Some large corporations

US defence budget battle: Sequestration 101

Erin Hurley has nearly ten years of experience working in US politics in New York and Washington DC, and served as a legislative affairs officer within the US Department of Defense. As Washington careens from one budget crisis to another, many analysts rightly point out that America's elected

The man who saved the world

Last week, former Soviet air defence commander Stanislav Petrov was awarded the Dresden Prize for preventing a nuclear war. Back in 1983, he determined that warnings of an incoming US nuclear missile strike were a false alarm as a result of a 'rare alignment of sunlight on high-altitude clouds

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

Currency wars and lost opportunities

In 2010, Brazil's finance minister complained that his country was the victim of a 'currency war'. Following the 2008 crisis, the advanced countries set their interest rates close to zero and implemented quantitative easing. These policies caused their exchange rates to depreciate and encouraged

Movie trailer: Save Your Legs

I guess any mainstream Australian film about a distant and exotic country is going to lean on the odd cliché or stereotype about that place. How else do you make the movie feel accessible to a broad audience that knows very little about the country in which your story is set? That's a

Cyber criminals and cyber spies active in Asia

James Lewis is Director of the Technology and Public Policy Program at CSIS, Washington, DC. This is the second of a five-part series on Asia in the age of cyber threats. Part 1 here. Cyber espionage involves the illicit extraction of information; cyber crime is the illicit extraction of money.

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

Cyber: Unclear and present danger

James Lewis is Director of the Technology and Public Policy Program at CSIS, Washington, DC. This is the first of a five-part series on the world of cyber. The focus is Asia and particularly the role of China. There is widespread concern about strategic competition in cyberspace, including cyber

Reader riposte: Zero Dark Thirty

Trish writes: You recently asked if anyone had a riposte for the Rolling Stone blog rave against ZDT. It was interesting but totally unsurprising that none of your regular expert contributors took up your invitation — but I certainly sympathise with such reticence. However, here is

Meteors: Strategic and political risks are serious

Morris Jones is an Australian space analyst. The recent fall of a meteor over Russia, which injured more than a thousand people, has captured news headlines and came unexpectedly as the world watched a more distant and benign asteroid fly past earth. While such events are fairly rare, they do

On 'minilateralism': Why we need the G20

Mike Callaghan is Director of the Lowy Institute's G20 Studies Centre.  On the eve of the G20 Finance Ministers' meeting in Moscow on 15-16 February, Moises Nain commented in the Financial Times that he had given up on the G20. The problem, as he sees it, is the diversity of interests: 'when

Our Africa perceptions are dated and narrow

Joel Negin worked on development issues in Africa and is now senior lecturer in international health at the University of Sydney. Just as Australia settles into its UN Security Council seat, new African crises have arisen as the first emerging challenges of Australia's two-year role. Over the

Japanese FDI: Asia + China

My previous post on the cooling economic relations between Japan and China sent me to look at statistics on Japanese FDI outflows to Asia to see if there was any noticeable decline in outflows to China yet. The answer is 'no'. Japanese outflows to China as a share of total outflows to Asia stayed

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

My favourite blogs

I just received an email from a reader in response to a recent Links post asking: I was just wondering what blogs do you have in your favourites list? First of all, it's worth clarifying that I do in fact have a favourites list. Some people prefer to aggregate the content from their

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

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