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Reader riposte: Iraq casualties reconsidered

US Army Major Matthew Cavanaugh is a course director and instructor at the US Military Academy at West Point: Just thought I would attempt a small contribution to your ongoing debate on the Iraq War. I served there twice (03-04 and 05-06) and consider it an important subject, although I had to

What if the Iraq war never happened?

Michael Ware was a war correspondent for TIME Magazine and CNN. He spent six years in Iraq. Not the invasion, that's something else. That was three weeks of aggressive warfare executed, by and large, with stunning effect, scattering a half-million-man army in its wake. The tenth anniversary

For Australia Network, it's never safe

You've got to feel sorry for Australia's public international television service, Australia Network. Launched by the Keating Government in 1994 under the name Australia Television, its short life has been blighted with funding cuts, death threats, name changes and a failed out-sourcing effort

Iraq: The real intelligence failure...

...was not the failure to uncover certain facts, but a failure to consider alternative hypotheses. Here's Bush Administration National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley (my emphasis): I speak from my particular vantage point of the White House, and I recognize that everything I say can be

The Iraq Syndrome

One of the oddest parties I have ever attended was held at 'Ground Zero', the courtyard in the heart of the Pentagon so named because it was a key target for the Soviet nuclear arsenal in the event that the Cold War suddenly turned hot. The military top brass, serenaded that afternoon by a country

Saddam a tyrant, but war was wrong

Tom Switzer is a Research Associate at the United States Studies Centre, University of Sydney, and editor of Spectator Australia. One can greatly admire Major General Molan, as I do, and still profoundly disagree with his views about the Iraq war and its aftermath. Australian forces played an

Whaling: Japan does conduct research

I thank Mr Watson for his response to my recent post. Unfortunately, space doesn't allow me to respond in kind to everything he has said, so in my final response I'll focus on the following: 1. I'll begin by affording Mr Watson the same qualifier he graciously afforded me. That is, he has a

Reader ripostes: TNI and Bob Carr

Below, a comment from Jorge Bechara on Rodger Shanahan's Bob Carr's Selective Indignation. But first, Andrew Johnson: I appreciate that Gary Hogan has expanded on his contribution and rightly points out that he is bringing his own experience into the understanding of Indonesia and its

Cambodia: Disputes, delays and death

Hard on the heels of fresh evidence of disputes about the judicial reach of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal (the Extraordinary Chambers of the Courts of Cambodia), has come the news of the death of Ieng Sary (pictured), the former foreign minister of the Democratic Kampuchean regime, or Pol Pol's

Reader riposte: 60 Minutes in Baghdad

Andrew Farran writes: The anecdotal observations by Major Gen (Retd) Jim Molan in his piece 60 Minutes goes to Baghdad cannot sugarcoat what by any reckoning was a disastrous, hugely costly and illegal war. Agreed that those who survived the war are better off than those who did not. Agreed

Burma's fractious polity: The price of democracy?

Andrew Selth is a Research Fellow at the Griffith Asia Institute. The Rangoon street-scene photos below the fold are by the author. It has often been said that one of the greatest challenges faced by academics, journalists and others who write about international affairs is to describe complex

ASEAN's coming-of-age

Katherine Ellena is a Research Associate with the US Naval Postgraduate School and a former New Zealand diplomat. The views expressed here are hers alone. One of my early experiences as a diplomat was in a solitary perch behind my country's flag at an ASEAN security meeting. All delegations made

Reader ripostes: Iraq, 10 years on

Two reader responses to Sam Roggeveen's call for retrospectives on the Iraq war. Below, Daniel Woker. But first, Kien Choong: From memory, I was somewhat sympathetic to the war effort. I recall thinking there were two criteria: was there a moral case? And was there a pragmatic case? I thought

Reader riposte: TNI's new generation

Edmund McWilliams, a retired US Foreign Service Officer, writes: Gary Hogan's March 6 article, A promising New Generation of TNI leaders, presents a weak case for its essential contention that new leaders of the Indonesian military (TNI) are 'more sophisticated, worldly and conscious of the

Iraq War: It's been almost 10 years

Blogger and columnist Andrew Sullivan is marking the upcoming tenth anniversary of the Iraq War by reproducing some of his stridently pro-war blog posts of the time. Those of you who follow Sullivan's site will know that he has changed his mind completely about Iraq since those days, and he has

Asia: Big issues to be settled by the few

Sam is quite right to hear echoes of Hedley Bull in Peter Varghese's point about the role of rules and institutions in managing strategic relations. This does indeed make Varghese much more than a crude realist. But that does not mean Varghese is putting as much faith as Sam perhaps suggests in

A promising new generation of TNI leaders

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 leaders now in the process of assuming command of Indonesia's defence forces (TNI) are a different kind of officer:

Joe Lieberman at the Lowy Institute

The Lowy Institute was honoured to host former US Senator and vice-presidential nominee Joseph Lieberman during his visit to Australia.  Following a boardroom lunch with political, business and media leaders, Senator Lieberman caught up with Michael Fullilove for a fascinating discussion on

Realism with a Hedley Bull twist

Prompted by Hugh White's latest Fairfax op-ed, I read DFAT Secretary Peter Varghese's recent AsiaLink speech today. There's a lot to think about in the speech, not least the fact that Varghese continues the recent trend among senior figures in Canberra to embrace the term 'Indo-Pacific' (take a

Reader riposte: Papua's rebels

George Darroch, who wrote his MPhil thesis on foreign support for the Free Papua Movement at the ANU, writes: Your reader, Andrew Johnson, makes no attempt to address the points made by Gary Hogan. Hogan, a military insider, makes an important statement. An increase in OPM violence pushes

Defence relations with Burma: Our future past

Andrew Selth is a Research Fellow at the Griffith Asia Institute and author of Australian Defence Contacts with Burma, 1945-1987. Photos by the author.John Blaxland's persuasive piece on the possible renewal of defence cooperation between Australia and Burma (Myanmar) prompts a look at past

China's investment in Australia

Dirk van der Kley is a Research Associate in the Lowy Institute's East Asia Program. Last night, the inaugural Lowy Institute-Rio Tinto China Fellow, Professor Zha Daojiong of Peking University, gave a lively presentation on Chinese investment in Australia. Zha is one of China's leading

Trailer: Comrade Kim Goes Flying

On North Korea Economy Watch I see reference to a UK-Belgium-North Korea co-production called Comrade Kim Goes Flying, about a North Korean coal miner pursuing her dream of becoming a trapeze artist. I felt slightly uneasy watching the trailer, and seeing the British director unconvincingly

Why Israel's new coalition won't forge peace

Jack Georgieff is the 2013 Thawley Research Scholar in International Security at the Lowy Institute and the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington DC. Binyamin Netanyahu signed up Tzipi Livni, chair of the small Hatnuah Party, as chief negotiator with the Palestinians on 19

A fair indictment of Australia's Pacific policy?

Professor Wadan Narsey is an Adjunct Professor at The Cairns Institute. Jonathan Schultz's recently completed PhD thesis, Overseeing and Overlooking: Australian Engagement with the Pacific Islands 1988-2007, presents a somewhat scathing indictment of Australian foreign policy towards the Pacific,

Can Abenomics fix Japan's economy?

Just about everyone agrees that the Japanese economy has underperformed for over two decades. The astounding rise of China in the same period deepens the hurt. Prime Minister Abe has a three-pronged response: monetary expansion, fiscal stimulus and structural reform.  Financial markets showed their

Trailer: The Reluctant Fundamentalist

The performances and visuals look promising, but my, don't they lay on the political symbolism with a trowel. The quote near the end ('Yes, I'm a Pakistani, yes I'm a Muslim, but that's not all I am') is particularly unsubtle (and does any real human being actually say 'You're gonna get us both

Cyber espionage: China at the forefront

James Lewis is Director of the Technology and Public Policy Program at CSIS, Washington, DC. This is the fourth of a five-part series on Asia in the age of cyber threats. Part 1; part 2; part 3. China may be the leading practitioner (although by no means the only one) of economic espionage in

Netizens a new force in China politics

James Lewis is Director of the Technology and Public Policy Program at CSIS, Washington, DC. This is the third of a five-part series on Asia in the age of cyber threats. Part 1 here; part 2 here. While we should avoid overstating the internet's effect in places like Egypt or Tunisia, the internet

Indonesia's next president: A form guide

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. For over eight years, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has cut a large and impressive figure on the world

Fragile gains: Women in Afghanistan

Last night I was fortunate enough to join an Amnesty International panel discussing the future of women's rights in Afghanistan. Amnesty had brought prominent Afghan activist (and Lowy Institute contributor) Wazhma Frogh to Australia to discuss her concerns about what the transition of foreign

PNG plans military build-up, but why?

Donald Gumbis is a Lecturer in political science at the University of Goroka and an intern at the Lowy Institute. Papua New Guinea's Defence Minister Dr Fabian Pok has announced that PNG plans to build up its military capacity from around 2000 personnel to 10,000. While it is hardly unusual

Iran: Suspicious minds

One thing every thinking person should have learnt from the Iraq intelligence debacle was to treat claims of state support for external armed groups with caution (see Wikipedia for a run-down of debunked allegations that Saddam's regime supported al Qaeda). Some simple questions about the sourcing

North Korea's third N test: What does it mean?

John Carlson is a Visiting Fellow at the Lowy Institute and the former Director-General of the Australian Safeguards and Non-proliferation Office. From seismic analysis, it appears North Korea's latest nuclear test had a yield of 6 to 7 kilotons (thousand tons of TNT). This is larger than the

China-DPRK: Different this time?

The regime in Pyongyang has tested a third nuclear device and the depressing diplomatic ritual has begun again. The liturgy is familiar: the threat, the ineffective warnings, the big event, the brief uncertainty about what happened, the regime's confirmatory boast, the international outrage, the

'Mutual denial' may not change very much

Stephan Fruehling is a Senior Lecturer in the Strategic and Defence Studies Program, ANU. Sam Roggeveen's post on whether 'mutual denial' can work raises an important point about the future strategic relationship between the US and its allies, and China. 'Mutual denial' is useful as a slogan to

Barry Wain, 17 July 1944 — 5 February 2013

John Funston is a Visiting Fellow at the College of Asia & the Pacific, ANU. Michael Montesano is a Visiting Research Fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore. Barry Wain, as several tributes have noted, was the doyen of Australian journalists in Asia. The Queenslander's

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