Wednesday 17 Jul 2019 | 17:55 | SYDNEY
What's happening on


Chinese innovation: More than a fast follower? (Part 1)

The first part of this two-part series examines China's sustained prioritisation of innovation,  a relatively new factor in the global knowledge economy that for the last half century has been dominated by the Western countries and Japan, and to a smaller extent in recent years by South Korea and

Unpacking Rudd's strategy in the race for UN chief

Argentina's Susana Malcorra and Slovakia's Miroslav Lajcák, newcomers to the race for UN secretary-general (SG), are in New York this week for their 'informal dialogues' with the UN General Assembly. Other SG candidates — António Guterres, Vuk Jeremi?, and Igor Lukši? — were in London last

Carter stakes out high ground at the Shangri-La Duel-ogue

The challenge for US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter at the 15th Shangri-la Dialogue (SLD) this year was to deliver an address sufficiently convincing on US security commitment to the region that it would reassure Washington's allies and partners, without appearing unduly to raise the temperature of

Time for Team Washington to change the script

Recently two high-level dialogues involving China were held and at both, China and its interlocutors largely talked past each other, achieving very little genuine communication or progress. The continued determination of both Beijing and Team Washington (for want of a better collective description

Old Burma hands write on the 'odd man out in Asia'

The recent release of former ambassador Trevor Wilson’s book, Eyewitness to Early Reform in Myanmar, prompts a brief look at other diplomatic memoirs by Australians and, in particular, those written by officers posted to Australia’s embassy in Rangoon (now Yangon) since it opened in 1956.

The migration-security nexus in Asia and Australia (part 2)

Australia has always relied on migrants to help fuel the nation's growth.  Currently, only a small proportion of permanent migrants are accepted on purely humanitarian grounds. Much of the heated discussion around this humanitarian migrant stream is focused on border security issues but, as I

The multipolar Asian century (part 2): Contestation or competition?

By Samir Saran, Senior Fellow and Vice President and Ashok Malik, Senior Fellow, both of the Observer Research Foundation. Part 1 can be found here. In the seven decades since 1945, the US largely succeeded in scripting some significant rules that still survive, and they have guaranteed the

The multipolar Asian century (part 1)

By Samir Saran, Senior Fellow and Vice President and Ashok Malik, Senior Fellow, both of the Observer Research Foundation. Part 2 can be found here. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the global political and economic architecture has been undergirded largely by one superpower, which set the

A glimpse into South Korea's new naval base on Jeju island

Four years ago I wrote about South Korea’s strategically far-sighted but locally controversial plans to construct a new naval base on Jeju island. After speaking at last week’s Jeju Forum I couldn’t resist an invitation from the Korean Institute for Maritime Strategy to slip away between panel

Australian media deals are a victory for Chinese propaganda

By John Fitzgerald, Director, CSI Swinburne Program for Asia-Pacific Social Investment and Philanthropy at Swinburne University, and Wanning Sun, Professor of Media and Communication Studies at the University of Technology Sydney. On 26 May, six agreements were signed between Chinese and Australian

UN secretary-general race: Sizing up Bokova and Pusic

The race for UN secretary-general (SG) is heating up with a second round of interviews scheduled for 7 June and the recent nominations of Argentina’s Susana Malcorra and Slovakia’s Miroslav Lajcak, bringing the official candidate count to 11. The UN Security Council’s permanent five (P5)

Istanbul humanitarian summit aims for peaks, lands in foothills

Istanbul is a city living under the shadow of the war in neighbouring Syria. A bomb blast in the heart of the historic tourist centre earlier this year killed several people including foreign visitors, causing the tourist dollar, which many rely on, to evaporate. Locals allege the Assad regime was

The G7 asserts its like-mindedness

The G7 countries of the US, UK, Germany, France, Italy, Japan and Canada have met for the 42nd time in Japan to discuss the biggest risks to global security and the world economy. Here is their 32-page official statement. The G7 is an interesting grouping, often seen as outdated with its heavy

Afghan president's heavy hand against protesters

Rising anger against a decision to change the route of a vital electricity supply line in Afghanistan is becoming more and more visible — both inside and outside the country. Before the global Anti Corruption Summit in London earlier this month, British Prime Minister David Cameron was famously

Book review: 'China's Future' by David Shambaugh

David Shambaugh's slim volume, China's Future, stands in stark contrast to the conventional wisdom on China. Indeed, it is hard to discuss 'China's future' without immediately speaking of 'China's rise.' The majority of contemporary literature on China focuses on its military modernisation and '

The revolting male

Looking for a universal, all-purpose hypothesis for the weirdness that is Trump, Sanders, Brexit, Austria's near-miss with a far-right presidency, and the worldwide decline in democracy? How about neoliberal globalisation? The neofascist reaction, the force behind Trump, has come about because

Malaysian PM Najib Razak strengthens hold on power

Najib Razak's term as prime minister of Malaysia is now in its seventh year and there is every reason to believe he will continue to lead Malaysia for a long while yet. Najib Razak withVladimir Putin at the Russia-ASEAN Summit on May 19 (Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images) Given his scandal-

Fallujah: Déjà vu all over again

For such a nondescript city in Iraq, Fallujah has name recognition beyond its importance. In Western military circles at least the name is synonymous with the 2004 battle that turned into the bloodiest urban assault undertaken by the US military since Vietnam. Iraqi soldiers at Garma, part of the

Let's not frame the TPP as a 'contain–China' play

None of the US presidential candidates is keen on the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Does this mean that the treaty — signed but unratified — is finished and all that debate, negotiation and angst will have been vain? President Obama doesn’t see it that way. He’s still plugging away in the

Human spaceflight in Asia: Game of Flying Thrones

Asia has hosted the world’s second 'space race' for several decades. As with the first space race between the US and the Soviet Union, the ultimate goal is to send humans into space. Japan once harboured dreams of its own space capsule, but cancelled those plans when it joined the

The misguided missile defence debate

A new NATO missile defence base in Romania recently became operational, which has revived an erroneous debate about whether the step significantly alters nuclear parity between NATO and Russia. Discussions about NATO's current missile defence capabilities are a distraction from Moscow's actual

The migration-security nexus in Asia and Australia (part 1)

This five-part series explains the spiral processes of insecurity-migration-security in the Australia-Asia context. Part 1 argues unless the insecurity concerns are addressed, these spirals will continue with unwanted consequences for both migrants and hosting countries. A regional approach to

Taliban will go on, even without Mullah Akhtar Mansur

Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansur was confirmed killed by a US drone strike in Pakistan's Baluchistan province yesterday. Unlike his predecessor, Mullah Omar (who ruled the Taliban for at least two decades), Mullah Mansur's reign was short and controversial. A coffin believed to contain the body