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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 The G7 is an interesting grouping, often seen as outdated with its heavy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

Vision 2030 (part 2): Saudi Arabia's bold reinvention plan

This is the second in a two-part series examining Saudi Arabia's ambitious plan to transform its economy. Part 1 looked at the reach of the Vision 2030 plan and labour force implications; part 2 examines which industry bets are most likely to pay off. Vision 2030's central and stunning call is

Vision 2030 (part 1): Saudi Arabia's bold reinvention plan

This two part series considers Saudi Arabia's ambitious plan to transform its economy. Part 1 looks at the reach of the Vision 2030 plan and labour force implications, Part 2 will examine which industry bets are most likely to pay off. Though he is yet to reveal the details of the plan, Saudi

Will One Belt One Road pay off?

One Belt One Road (OBOR) is just getting started, but the superlatives are flowing. OBOR 'will benefit 4.4 billion people in 65 countries' and 'according to some estimates could be more than 12 times America's Marshall Plan to aid post-second-world-war Western Europe, in comparable money-of-the-day

US claims unsafe intercept by Chinese jets

In light of the news that Chinese fighters conducted what the Pentagon calls an 'unsafe intercept' of one of its reconnaissance aircraft flying over the South China Sea on Tuesday (according to the US, the Chinese jets flew within 50 ft of the the American plane, forcing it to descend), it is worth

Beyond the Indian Ocean: India in the South Pacific

India’s connection with the South Pacific Islands has traditionally been fairly limited, despite a sizeable ethnic Indian population in Fiji. However, the relationship is gaining momentum under Prime Minister Modi’s government, and not just with Fiji but across  the South Pacific. The region

Lebanon: Struggling on in the face of donor fatigue

So often we hear calls for sensible and balanced debate on international migration, and so often we are let down by leaders and officials who deliver polarised, one-sided and sometimes toxic views. We know it doesn’t have to be this way and yet all too often the discussion and debate falls far

The Cultural Revolution, then and now

It has been (arguably) 50 years since the start of one of the greatest, but least well understood, social upheavals of modern history. The Chinese Cultural Revolution, overseen by Mao Zedong, has been in the news in the West and in China both because of this anniversary, and because of controversy

Hizbullah's financial war of attrition

The death last week of Mustapha Badredinne, Hizbullah's chief of military operations in Syria, was certainly big news. His death highlights once again the cost in senior personnel that the civil war is exacting on the Lebanese Shi'a group. In December last year, Samir Kuntar was killed in an Israeli

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