ASPI suggests
4 Mar 2016|

The podium where Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump will speak on Super Tuesday primary election night at the White and Gold Ballroom at The Mar-A-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Fla., Tuesday, March 1, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)While the memory of Super Tuesday is bound to fade as the campaigns roll on across the US, it’s providing ample fodder for the number crunchers, campaign strategists, political tragics and the comments section commentariat. The New York Review of Books surveys the rise of the Democratic and Republican frontrunners, HRC and The Donald, in what the Review anoints ‘The Dangerous Election’. The Atlantic pulls no punches with a meditation on how Trump can beat Clinton; and over at Foreign Policy we brace for the Bunga Bunga—though it was The Economist which this week labelled Trump ‘the blonde Berlusconi’. Closer to home, pundits in Japan are weighing up the possibility of Clinton and Trump taking out their respective party nominations—to some consternation, with both candidates opposing the TPP (at least rhetorically), and Trump having previously questioned the value of the US–Japan alliance. Here on The Strategist, Tom Switzer surveyed the results.

Security issues have been getting a look in, too. The Council on Foreign Relations has a great resource on the candidates’ national security positions—Defense One sums it up, while the Council’s mini-site carries the detail. As the national conventions loom mid-year, Brookings’ Michael E. O’Hanlon thought it as good a time as any to consider the nuclear powers that reside with the president: ‘Can we really trust the future of the human race to the continued steady decisionmaking of single individuals who have the power to kill tens or hundreds of millions, based on a single unchallenged edict?’ And on an entirely unrelated note, a sizable bunch of GOP national security leaders have fulminated in an open letter to Mr Bombastic himself (no, not that one): Donald J. Trump. War On The Rocks carries the cutting, candid intervention.

Back in 2014, a crew of artists, architects and ethnographers negotiated access to Mexico City’s C4I4 facility (shorthand for Comando, Control, Comunicaciones, Cómputo, Inteligencia, Integración, Información e Investigación). Here’s a fascinating profile of the high-tech urban surveillance nerve centre that keeps an eye (or 13,000 lenses) trained on the city’s Federal District.

The Ethical Autonomy Project at the Centre for a New American Security has a brand-spankin’ new report out. Its author, Paul Scharre, dives into some of the questions around autonomous weapons in order to assess how the risks of their use differs from those associated with other weapons. Check it out here.

Finally, The Atlantic brings the visual goods this week. With states in the Balkan corridor feeling the strain from asylum seeker inflows, Macedonia has begun capping their intake to a couple of hundred per day. The policy has resulted in a bottleneck, with about 10,000 people stranded at the border fence between Greece and Macedoniaa number that’s thought could swell to 70,000 by next month. The publication also has a short photo essay on Norway’s radioactive reindeer, contaminated since Chernobyl 30 years ago.


Three cracking podcasts on the percolating encryption debate have been released since we last met. The first, a moderated panel event, is presented by Lawfare (93 mins); the second is a cross-sectoral gathering that includes CSIS’s Jim Lewis, former NSA director Michael Hayden, and reps from WIRED and the Electronic Frontiers Foundation (46 mins); and the third is a one-to-one between the founder of ProtonMail and John Little of Blogs of War (26 mins).


The Griffith Asia Institute recently assembled an all-star expert cast for their panel discussion and Q&A on security relations between Japan and Australia. Catch up with the worthwhile event here (66 mins).


Melbourne: Sir Nigel Broomfield, a former British ambassador to Germany, will next week tackle the vexed debate around the Brexit. Head to the Australian Institute of International Affairs on Wednesday 9 March. Register here.

Canberra: Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif will be in town on 15 March. He’ll deliver a speech at the Australian National University where he’s set to canvass Iran’s foreign policy and its fight against Daesh, along with his state’s take on the conflicts in Iraq, Syria and Yemen. Don’t miss this one.