Wednesday 11 Dec 2019 | 06:31 | SYDNEY
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Asia

China's really big military R&D effort

The scale of China's military research and development effort has been underestimated in the open source literature, perhaps by as much as 50%, says Associate Professor Tai Ming Cheung, director of the Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation at the University of California. It's difficult to

Progress and the Party: Social(ist) tensions in Vietnam

Elliot Brennan is a Research Fellow at the Institute for Security and Development Policy (Sweden) and a Non-Resident Fellow at the Pacific Forum-Center for Strategic and International Studies (US).   Late last month, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with his Vietnamese counterpart, Pham Binh

Reader ripostes: The Guardian's flawed Indonesia quiz

Stephen Grenville writes: Nicholas Stuart is right in spotting an error in The Guardian’s Indonesia Quiz, but he misses the best part of the British connection in only mentioning their presence at the end of WWII. Much more interesting is the presence of the British during and after the

Obama's Asia trip and the credibility of the pivot

Michael Green served on the US National Security Council staff from 2001-2005. He is now Senior Vice President for Asia at CSIS and a non-resident fellow at the Lowy Institute. President Obama has cut Malaysia and the Philippines from his itinerary for his upcoming Asia trip, but still appears

Obama's Asia trip and the credibility of the pivot

Michael Green served on the US National Security Council staff from 2001-2005. He is now Senior Vice President for Asia at CSIS and a non-resident fellow at the Lowy Institute. President Obama has cut Malaysia and the Philippines from his itinerary for his upcoming Asia trip, but still appears

How Indonesia's print media saw the Abbott visit

Yesterday Sam Roggeveen provided English-language links to coverage of Prime Minister Abbott's visit to Indonesia. This post looks at the Indonesian language print media on Tuesday and Wednesday. I've covered four of Indonesia's largest daily newspapers — Kompas, Jawa Pos, Koran Tempo and Media

Abbott's Indonesia visit: Links

Tony Abbott's press statement alongside President Yudhoyono. (UPDATE: Video of the joint press conference. Tks Politics Australia.) Abbott's remarks to the official dinner in Jakarta. Reporting on yesterday's meeting is mixed, with Fairfax saying Abbott got a significant concession from President

China's environmental crisis, close up

China watcher James West writes for The Atlantic on his latest train trip through China, and has a short accompanying video (above): I have never before been as dumbfounded as during a train ride this week from Beijing through a swathe of China’s northeast coal belt... ...The scene could be a

Confucianism? Engage platonically

Nicholas Stuart is a Canberra Times columnist and author of Kevin Rudd: An Unauthorised Political Biography. Melissa Conley Tyler’s reminder that there might be different ways to ‘think’ (or, to construct the formulation another way, ‘decipher the way of the world’) is timely. Engaging

US-Iran: Hints of hope in presidents' speeches

Dina Esfandiary is an Iran specialist and a research associate in the Non-proliferation and Disarmament programme at the International Institute for Strategic Studies. The much-anticipated handshake between presidents Rouhani and Obama didn’t happen at the UN this week. Dubbed #handshakegate on

Indonesia political update

Following Wednesday's interview updating you on the economic situation in Indonesia, below is my chat with the Lowy Institute's David McRae on the political situation. Dave spoke on this topic at Monday's Lowy Institute-ANU Indonesia Mini-Update event (full audio for the event here). Dave talks

'So much for the Asia pivot'

That's how the BBC's New York correspondent Nick Bryant introduced a NY Times account of President Obama's UN General Assembly speech. Here's the relevant passage from the Times: Despite a war-weary public and its declining reliance on Middle Eastern oil, the United States would continue to be an

Not so inscrutable: Learning how Asians think

Melissa Conley Tyler is National Executive Director of the Australian Institute of International Affairs. In 1998 it was still possible to publish a book with the title Can Asians Think?, at least if you were Singaporean. I don’t think anyone would ask that question now. But at a time when Asia

China's bullet trains: Build it and they will come

There's been a lot of talk about overcapacity, but the New York Times reports that China's high-speed rail (HSR) network is a success: China’s high-speed rail system has emerged as an unexpected success story. Economists and transportation experts cite it as one reason for China’s continued

Indonesian economy update

Yesterday the Lowy Institute hosted* one of our regular 'mini update' conferences on Indonesia, and I got the chance to talk with two of the speakers, Jason Alford from the Australian Treasury and Moekti Soejachmoen from the Support for Economic Analysis Development in Indonesia (SEADI) project.

Christopher Koch, 1932-2013: A literary guide to Asia

The death yesterday of Christopher Koch at the age of 81 marks the end of a distinguished literary career. Twice winner of the Miles Franklin Award, Koch's work as a writer spanned novels and poetry as well as pungent commentary on what he saw as the failings of contemporary culture. For those

US-China: Why things won't go well

Deep and rather arresting pessimism here about the future of US-China relations from Jennifer Lind and Daryl Press: The best hope for amicable U.S.-China relations rests on Beijing adopting a highly restrained grand strategy, but it would be historically unprecedented if it did so. China would be

Andrew Michelmore: Understanding China's SOEs

Eva O’Dea is a Research Associate in the Lowy Institute’s East Asia Program. Australia needs to better understand Chinese state owned enterprises (SOEs), according to Andrew Michelmore, CEO of MMG Limited. In his address to the Lowy Institute’s tenth anniversary China Changing Lecture in

Michelmore on Chinese investment in Australia

Eva O’Dea is a Research Associate in the Lowy Institute’s East Asia Program. Australia has ‘tarnished’ its reputation for policy stability in recent years through mismanagement and miscommunication over the introduction of the Minerals Resources Rent Tax and carbon pricing, according to

Reader riposte: Daily Show's Middle East map

Tzvi Fleischer from the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council writes: Noticed you posted that skit about Middle East borders from the US 'Daily Show' today. It's cute as a skit but, as you would expect on a comedy show, its pretty lousy history and political analysis. The whole trope about

Syria: How about a little love for the Russians?

Commentary from Washington on the US-Russia deal to secure and destroy Syria's chemical weapons is of two main varieties. The first argues that Obama got played by Putin. According to this version, the Russians exploited a mistake from Secretary of State John Kerry (who made an off-the-cuff

Australia gears up for UNSC Syria talks

Denis Fitzgerald is a freelance journalist covering the United Nations in New York. He blogs at UN Tribune. For the first two weeks of Australia’s presidency, the UN Security Council has not met formally to discuss the situation in Syria (though there’s been plenty of informal discussion

Views across the Pacific: Change in Myanmar

Although still not a democracy, Myanmar has been the standout case of political change in Southeast Asia over the past two years. In this new video, the third in the 'Views Across the Pacific' series with the Washington, DC-based Center for Strategic and International Studies, I discuss with Ernie

Revisiting the 'Asian arms race' debate

Chris Rahman is a Senior Research Fellow in Maritime Strategy and Security at the University of Wollongong. The hoary question of whether Asia is experiencing a naval arms race has been a persistent topic of strategic debate for the best part of two decades. This is perhaps understandable given the

Syria: Ready, aim...wait a minute

To say that Saturday's White House decision to delay a military strike on Syrian targets in order to seek Congressional approval was unexpected would be an understatement. But when you are the commander-in-chief of a very powerful military and the political leader of a democratic country that is

Indonesia wants gunships for WHAT?

This news comes as a bit of a surprise: Indonesia's Defence Ministry has concluded a deal with the US for the purchase of eight AH-64 Apache helicopter gunships. The Australian Government will probably look kindly on this*. For one thing, as the ABC points out, it suggests US-Indonesia military

Chemical weapons use in Syria: Who, what, why?

Rod Barton was a senior UN weapons inspector in Iraq. He is the author of The Weapons Detective: The Inside Story of Australia's Top Weapons Inspector. It is difficult from media reporting to sort fact from fiction about allegations of chemical weapons use in Syria. The chaos of war and the desire

US reveals new Darwin Marines move

Cameron Stewart writes in The Australian today about the announcement by the US Chief of Naval Operations (from his Navigation Plan 2014-2018) that he aims to 'provide amphibious lift for US marines operating out of Australia by establishing a fifth amphibious readiness group in the Pacific by

Syria: Chemical weapons and Obama's 'red line'

Following claims of an Assad regime chemical weapons attack in Syria, calls are intensifying (particularly in France) for something to be done in response. Certainly US social media is intimating that moves are afoot to take some form of limited military action. There is of course the small

Solomons' gun amnesty: A stunning achievement

Nick Warner, now the Director-General of ASIS, was the first Special Coordinator of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (2003-2004). This post is drawn from a speech he made in Honiara on 25 July for the 10th anniversary of RAMSI. Nick Warner (right) briefs media in Honiara in

Movie trailer: The Wind Rises

The Wind Rises has been a box office sensation in Japan, and this new trailer with English subtitles has just appeared. The politics of this movie are fascinating. The Wind Rises is, in the words of the Wall Street Journal, 'a fictional take on the life of Jiro Horikoshi, the man who designed

Should the US cut military aid to Egypt?

Bob Bowker is a former Australian ambassador to Jordan and Egypt. He is now an Adjunct Professor at the ANU Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies. In the aftermath of the bloodbath of 14 August, the question of whether US military assistance (around US$1.3 billion per annum) should continue to be

Nagl: Drones precluded US invasion of Pakistan

Douglas Fry is a Fairfax Media writer. 'Were it not for drones, the United States would probably have had to have invade Pakistan.' So declared Dr John Nagl at a public lecture hosted by the ANU Strategic and Defence Studies Centre in Canberra on Tuesday, 13 August. It's a bold – and alarming

Views across the Pacific: Xi Jinping

Two weeks ago we shared with you the first video from the Lowy Institute—Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Views Across the Pacific video partnership. The series features real-time conversations between fellows from both organisations on topical foreign policy issues,

Egypt links

For the latest, just follow the #Egypt hashtag on Twitter. 'Reconciliation now seems hopeless; Egypt is shattered'. The US is complicit, says Ali Gharib, so it's time to cut Egypt loose. Marc Lynch agrees. Tarek Radwan: 'Unfortunately, too many parties in the standoff had too much to gain in

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