There’s been a lot of commentary this week on Australia–Indonesia relations. For a seasoned Indonesian perspective, watch this Fairfax interview published today with Lieutenant General (rtd) Agus Widjojo, regarded as one of the post-Suharto era’s more reform-minded generals, on the trust deficit in the relationship.
There’s speculation from Geneva that Iran and the P5+1 may be approaching a deal over Tehran’s nuclear program. Reuters reports:
After the first day of a November 7-8 meeting, they said progress had been made towards an agreement under which the Islamic state would curb some of its nuclear activities in exchange for limited relief from sanctions that are damaging its economy.
On the topic of (hitherto?) intractable international issues, East Asia Forum has this interesting piece, providing a Chinese perspective on Sino-Japanese Senkaku/Diaoyu island dispute.
Also on China, The Economist has this briefing on Chinese land reform.
Melvyn P. Leffler argues in a new Foreign Affairs article that budget crises have improved US strategy. Looking at past US defence cuts during the World Wars, Korean War, Vietnam War and Cold War, he says:
What lessons does all this history teach? First, that the negative consequences of defense austerity have been exaggerated…The country did struggle with various problems during these times of budget cuts, of course. But those problems were rarely, or only partly, the result of austerity itself.
What’s so new about America’s new aircraft carriers? They’re a step ahead but not a leap of the current Nimitz class, says The Diplomat’s Robert Farley. He also noted:
The Ford’s power plant generates considerably more electricity, allowing the ships to “grow into” future energy demands. This opens space for the genuinely transformational potential of the Ford class: directed energy weapons that could make cruise and ballistic missiles obsolete, and unmanned aircraft that could rewrite the history of air warfare.
Canberra: the Kokoda Foundation is hosting an innovative seminar series called Kokoda Next. Hear seven future strategic leaders pitch their ideas and insights on national security to a panel of experts. Next is on at the Palace Electric Theatre, Friday 6 December at 4pm, followed by a networking event at 5.15pm. Register here.
Sydney: Dr Kurt Campbell, former Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, will be presenting the 2013 Lowy Institute Owen Harries Lecture on the future of American foreign policy in the Asia Pacific region on Thursday 21 November at 5.45pm.
Brisbane: RUSI Qld’s last lecture for the year will be delivered by Colonel Wendy Taylor, Colonel Commandant of the Royal Australian Army Nursing Corps, on the topic of ‘Veils, boots and bullets – Australian military nurses’ on Wednesday 20 November at 1pm.
Image courtesy of DFAT.