Obama’s herculean task

November 6, 2008

The euphoria and promise of Barak Obama’s election triumph will soon be tempered by the stark prospect of US weakness and decline. The new president has a power of work ahead of him if he is to restore the tarnished US brand and repair the financial mess that is likely to be his predecessor’s most enduring legacy. Read more

Security fears if trust in the US keeps eroding

December 10, 2007

THE national survey commissioned by the University of Sydney’s United States Studies Centre is a unique and fascinating snapshot of Australian attitudes towards contemporary American institutions, society and culture. The survey reveals a surprising ambivalence about the US and a growing disconnect between Australian and American values which, if not reversed, spells trouble ahead for the special relationship. Read more

How all empires end

July 21, 2007

Political scientist and environmental author Thomas Homer­Dixon is fast becoming one of Canada’s most valuable exports if judged by the sustained, international success of his writings on the environment and security over the past two decades.

I first came across Homer­ Dixon’s work in the mid­1990s when he had already established himself as a leading researcher in the field. What impressed me was the rigour of his scholarship and a rarely found willingness to cross disciplinary boundaries in search of answers.

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Not the time to deal out Beijing

March 26, 2007

ANY attempt to turn the existing trilateral security arrangement between Australia, Japan and the US into a quadrilateral alliance by including India would be a serious foreign policy miscalculation and should be resisted. Read more

Scorched earth an insecure place

February 5, 2007

The measured prose and bland title of the latest UN report on climate change belie the gravity and significance of its key message: that the earth will soon be a much hotter, drier and stormier place, and there is little doubt our way of life is the cause. This is not a naturally occurring cycle, as a dwindling band of sceptics maintains.

Of particular note is the growing belief among the world’s top climate scientists that it will be virtually impossible to keep the rate of temperature increase below 2C, which is widely accepted as the threshold above which managing the risks becomes progressively more difficult and the consequences more dangerous. It is necessary to bear in mind the unprecedented rate at which the planet is heating up.

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