World feels the chill of another cold war

May 23, 2020

Op-ed by Paul Kelly, Editor-at-Large for The Australian, in response to The Center for Independent Studies, Analysis Paper 8, May 2020, MITIGATING THE NEW COLD WAR: Managing US-China trade, tech and geopolitical conflict, by Alan Dupont


Four months into the COVID-19 crisis, the world and Australia confront a worse problem — the ­descent into a version of cold war between the US and China, many years in the making but now apparently sealed in the great-power animosity unleashed by the virus.

The virus will be conquered by scientific, rational and logical public policy. But such elements are absent on the US-China front where Donald Trump and Xi Jinping have tipped each other into a confrontation neither seems willing to abandon, with escalation the most likely result.

The coronavirus pandemic that recognises neither nationality nor ideology should have brought the leading powers into co-operation but the opposite has happened — the threat to humanity has exposed the true descent in the US-China crisis. The warning lights are flashing on emergency.
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China’s bid to control the internet

May 16, 2020

Experts say China’s New IP ‘should frighten us all’. And then there’s the undersea cable wars…

Imagine trying to manage the impact of the coronavirus without the internet and a robust telecommunications sector. If we couldn’t communicate and transact in real time, economic activity would grind to a halt and social contact would be even more difficult. And there would be no COVIDSafe app, an important tool in the government’s recovery strategy.

Australia is already more wired than most nations, and the digital world is expanding rapidly as the coronavirus has forced business, schools, universities and government services online. Videoconferencing platforms such as Zoom are booming and the much maligned National Broadband Network finally is starting to realise its potential. But if these networks were to become untrustworthy or disrupted for any length of time it would be hard for the country to function effectively.
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Time to drag national security strategy into the 21st century

April 23, 2020

Governments worldwide failed to act on pandemic dangers they identified decades ago. That cannot happen again.

By the time Kevin Rudd got to his feet to deliver the first national security statement to Parliament in December 2008, the traditional concept of national security had already passed its use-by date.

Rudd outlined a broad and growing list of security risks and pressures in the international system. Among them, he recognised that “a pandemic is bound to create real physical and social hardship and policy challenges for Australia”.

Peter Dutton’s Home Affairs Department: “a leviathan so bloated that it can’t move a muscle.” AAP
That was 12 years ago, and it now looks like an understatement.
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Coronavirus: Golden opportunity to broaden and strengthen our national security

April 13, 2020

The biggest international crisis since World War II is increasing pressure for a rethink of national security policy that redefines ­sovereign risk and elevates the ­importance of non-military challenges. Despite its terrible toll, the pandemic provides a once-in-a-generation opportunity to unite the country around a security agenda that will reshape how we live in a post-COVID-19 world.
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Nowhere to hide from the spread of panic

March 6, 2020

When China sneezes the rest of the world catches a cold — literally, it seems. What began as a minor flu-like outbreak in Wuhan city has morphed into a full-blown international health crisis that has roiled financial markets, raised the spectre of an economic recession, disrupted global supply chains and adversely affected the lives of hundreds of millions of people. The world stands on the brink of a full-blown pandemic as the COVID-19 coronavirus moves out of China infecting more and more countries. Misplaced optimism that the disease would be contained risks being replaced by unfounded panic that could fuel, rather than arrest, its momentum. Read more

Shifting our focus to the north is timely, but it will come with costs

January 30, 2020

The government’s strategy for managing Australia’s turbulent ­security environment and building economic resilience is taking shape. Northern Australia Minister Matt Canavan’s declaration that Canberra will overhaul its northern development agenda to boost regional ties is the latest in a series of incremental changes designed to better integrate national security and development policy. Read more

Australia must stand strong against Beijing’s political warfare

January 10, 2020

China’s extraordinary growth as an economic and military power has been a defining development for Australia. But managing our future relationship with an increasing­ly assertive and authorit­arian China will require a reassessment of our assumptions about the nature of the Chinese political system and a willingness to learn from past mistakes.
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What Are Iran’s Long-Term Goals?

January 9, 2020

Lydia Khalil, research fellow at the Lowy Institute and a former political advisor for the U.S. Department of Defense in Iraq, talks about the tensions between the U.S. and Iran. The House will vote Thursday on a resolution to limit President Donald Trump’s options for military action against Iran, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said. Khalil speaks on “Bloomberg Markets: China Open.” Read more

The U.S.-Iran Showdown Begins in Iraq

December 30, 2019

The U.S. killed at least 25 Ktaib Hezbollah fighters on Sunday night in its first counterstrike in a decade against an Iran-aligned Iraqi Shia militia. U.S. F-15E aircraft struck three sites in Iraq and two in Syria in retaliation for Ktaib’s Friday rocket attack, which killed an American contractor and wounded four U.S. service personnel. Read more