ASPI suggests
4 Nov 2016| and

Image courtesy of Flickr user Aram Bartholl.

It’s a strange old thing, this Presidential race. Seriously. Clinton and Trump are two deeply flawed candidates, yes, but they’re eons apart on key questions experience, discipline and suitability. That seems to have had a limited impact with the heft of voters who appear to have had their come-to-Donald moment in the race’s dying light. Some key columns in which to seek solace and find substance this weekend: In The Atlantic, David Frum makes the conservative case for voting Clinton, and Conor Friedersdorf tallies both candidates’ negatives. Jeffrey Toobin and Ryan Lizza take on the Comey letter, and FiveThirtyEight continue their data-driven journalism. Two corkers from the NYT’s Ross Douthat: one on the dangers of HRC, the other on the dangers of DJT—an explanation of ‘why the risks of Trump are so distinctive as to throw the perils of a Clinton presidency into relative eclipse.’ Yikes.

For the first time ever, Suggests is offering a video game pick: try The New York Times’ ‘The Voter Suppression Trail’, designed to test players’ dedication to casting their vote on 8 November. Warning: it does include more options involving dysentery than we initially anticipated.

Another week, another cracking CSIS microsite to explore. Behold: The Nuclear Narrative, a report on the the role and value of US nuclear weapons from the end of the Cold War through today. Check out the great resources and database, sure to be compelling for the nuke nerds and the rest of you, too.

A great longer read from The Guardian holds a magnifying glass to the rise of Europe’s far right, who have effectively ‘seized control’ of Europe’s political discourse. This comes at the same time as the (attempted) trial of right-wing Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders, who is at the center of a hate-speech and racial discrimination controversy—The New York Times dives into The Netherlands’ history of tolerance and Wilders’ disturbing claims here.

The Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force wasted no time this week in showing off two of its brand new J-20 stealth fighters at the Zhuhai air show. Check out a handful of shots of the new fighters in action at Xinhua’s Twitter feed. Branded ‘the answer to the US F-22,’ the J-20 will be used to maintain China’s ‘national sovereignty, security and territorial integrity.’ But not everyone’s impressed. This piece over at The National Interest raises an interesting concern: if the J-20 is as capable as China claims, why has it just ordered 24 Russian Sukhoi Su-35 Flanker-E fighters?

And finally, CSIS’ Beyond Parallel recently released a great piece of analysis based on a survey of ordinary North Korean citizens on their attitudes towards the government and their supreme leader. This week’s finding shows that 35 of the 36 who were surveyed regularly make jokes at the hermit kingdom’s expense in the privacy of their own homes. However, there’s little doubt that 100% of respondents would have laughed at the Australian duo who conned their way into a DPRK golf competition by posing as world-class golfers, before being told that they had ‘brought great shame’ to their families as their lie unravelled mid-tournament.


Reuters’ War College podcast (46 mins) has asked a poignant question this week: while both presidential candidates spend more time fighting off the critics than reading up on the issues one of them will face after inauguration in January, what security issues are falling by the wayside? Russia, cyber, the war in Afghanistan and the Mosul assault all score a mention.

As 8 November approaches, now’s as good a time as any to reflect on the fact that there is a whole other world beyond the race for the Oval Office. Foreign Policy is keen to remind listeners of The E.R. podcast series (48 mins) about stories that have been neglected in lieu of US pols, ranging from Russia in Syria to the South China Sea to North Korean nuclear tests.


The Council on Foreign Relations this week hosted a discussion with Ai Weiwei, the esteemed Chinese artist/architect/author/poet/inventor/publisher/activist/Instagrammer/raconteur/cat-lover/intellectual/thorn in the CCP’s side/general all-round dude. Across an hour-long event, Ai roamed through art, human rights, the US–China relationship, Taiwan, politics, refugees and much, much more. Good viewing. (If you’re hankering for more, this book is the one you need.)

The Australian War Memorial will be 75 years young next week. To celebrate this milestone, the AWM will push out a series of videos to tell the Memorial’s life story. Four parts have been released so far, covering off on the AWM’s conception, birth, collection and building.


Sydney: While the biggest event next week is over in the US, don’t let the 15,000-odd kilometres get you down. Sydneysiders can head along to the USSC from half-10 for rolling CNN coverage and rolling expert analysis. Register here.

Perth: Can you tell we have the election on the brain? Hop across to the other side of the country and join our friends at the Perth USAsia Centre on 17 November for a squiz at what the election results mean for Australia–Indonesia relations.