Globalisation and Chinese Grand Strategy

January 29, 2018

China is taking steps intended to reduce its exposure to Western economic coercion, while enhancing its leverage over others.

Deng Xiaoping‘s initiation of the ‘reform and opening up‘ programme at the end of 1978 appears in retrospect to be the decisive turning point in the history of modern China. Increasing reliance on market forces, as opposed to state planning, and deeper integration into the global economy, in place of the old policy of self-imposed isolation and virtual autarky, launched China onto a steep growth trajectory. Read more

Greens defence policy would leave us exposed in a perilous world

May 25, 2016

The Greens’ aspiration to become a mainstream political party was underlined last week by leader Richard Di Natale’s foray into defence and foreign policy, an area which is unfamiliar terrain for a party that began life as an environmental protest movement.

The sympathetic Left predictably applauded Di Natale’s sentiments but offered little in the way of supporting arguments for his speech to the Lowy Institute, which challenged many of the ­established tenets of Australian defence and foreign policy. The Right also failed to seriously engage with Di Natale’s arguments. The Daily Telegraph dismissed his speech as the ramblings of the ‘‘loony Greens’’.
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Mike Pezzullo, our man at the gates of globalisation

May 7, 2016

A little remarked consequence of the fact Australia is part of an ­interconnected world — no longer isolated by geography or tyrannised by distance — is the quantum surge in people and goods crossing our borders.

During the past decade, there has been a 60 per cent rise in international passenger movements and 34 per cent in the number of travel visas issued. Imported sea cargo has increased by 50 per cent and air cargo a staggering 450 per cent, from 6.1 million consignments in 2005-06 to 33.6 million in 2014-15.
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China’s mixed messages confuse it’s friends as well as it’s perceived enemies

May 2, 2016

One of the great difficulties in assessing China’s broader aims and goals is the apparent contradiction between its uncompromising security policy and the accommodating allure of its economic outreach. While aggressively asserting its maritime claims in the Western Pacific, Beijing is simultaneously wooing the world with the seductive vision of a new Silk Road that promises benefits for all who sign up.

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Cybersphere is the globe’s new battlefront

April 26, 2016

If the ambitious goals of Malcolm Turnbull’s just released cyber security strategy are achieved, the document could turn out to be the most important and innovative government strategy yet written.

Its great strength is that it provides a clear plan for harnessing Australia’s transitioning economy to the enabling technology of the internet, while recognising that a secure cyber space is critical to exploiting the benefits of the digital age and to protecting our interests online.
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Japan turns to Australia in search for friends

April 17, 2016

Calibrated to take advantage of Japan’s rapidly changing political and security landscape Foreign Minister Julie Bishop’s call this week for a deeper, closer strategic and defence partnership with Japan is a water shed moment in the bilateral relationship which promises to deliver significant benefits for both countries, although it won’t be risk free.

The culmination of 26 years of patient Australian diplomacy, dating back to former Chief of the Defence Force, General Peter Gration’s, ground-breaking first defence visit to Japan in 1989, Bishop has timed her initiative well. It dovetails neatly with the Abe government’s more outward looking security stance, a response to the burgeoning foreign policy and strategic challenges Japan confronts.
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Australia caught in the US-China crossfire

April 17, 2016

The simmering strategic rivalry between the US and China is entering a new, and more dangerous phase that will recast the geopolitics of the Indo-Pacific region and pose increasingly difficult policy choices for the next government.

After an extended period of policy confusion and vacillation about how to respond to China’s determined thrust into the Pacific and Indian Oceans, Washington is now pushing back with surprising vigour. Blunt warnings about the unacceptability of China’s land reclamation activities in the South China Sea and desire for regional hegemony are flowing thick and fast from the Pentagon along with military assistance to Southeast Asian countries, many of which have had a contentious relationship with the US in the past.
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Towards A Coherent Western Policy On The Syrian War

April 11, 2016

The five-year, continuing civil war in Syria is the greatest crisis to have hit the Levant since World War II. According to recent figures released by the Damascus-based Syrian Center for Policy Research, up to 470,000 people have died in the war. Fully 11.5 % of the population have been killed or injured, and 45% of the population have left their homes as a result of the conflict. Of these, more than 4 million have left Syria, while 6.36 million people live inside the country as internally displaced persons. Life expectancy has dropped from 70.5 years in 2010 to an estimated 55.4 years in 2015.
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Defence white paper: enhanced firepower meets smart power

March 5, 2016

The Turnbull government has boldly proclaimed that the new defence white paper “is the most rigorous and comprehensive in Australia’s history”. This is not just rhetoric. The white paper articulates a viable strategy for the Australian Defence Force that is potentially transformational and should ensure the ADF is properly equipped to deter and defeat the multiplying defence and security challenges confronting the nation.

What sets this white paper apart is the muscularity of the envisaged defence force, which bears all the hallmarks of Tony Abbott’s persona and hard-nosed approach to defence and national security.
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Beijing must beware the Thucydides trap

February 2, 2016

It’s rare for an Australian Prime Minister to quote from a classical Greek text and even rarer in the context of Australia’s relations with the US and China. But in his recent speech to a prominent US think tank in Washington, Malcolm Turnbull cited the great Athenian historian, Thucydides, in warning of the heightened risk of conflict when a rising power challenges the existing international order and the position of the previously dominant state – the so called Thucydides Trap.
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