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ASPI suggests

Posted By , and on February 8, 2019 @ 15:04

The world

President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address [1] stole the limelight this week. This short piece [2] from CNN summarises the highlights, and the Financial Review [3] argues that the speech was a sign of a president whose power is waning. A great opinion piece [4] in the New York Times describes how a more conventional (and more articulate) president would address the asylum-seeker problem instead of using it an as issue to gain political mileage. Politico covered Georgia’s Democratic gubernatorial ex-nominee Stacey Abrams’s powerful response [5] to the presidential address. Also, on a lighter note, the event provided great fodder for meme-watchers [6] and comics [7].

Climate change reared its ugly head again this week, especially the question of why more isn’t being done to mitigate it. The Financial Times [8] brings you the latest devastating figures from 2018, while National Geographic [9] looks into the significant and disturbing changes the world’s oceans will undergo if we continue along on the current path. And yet, despite the warning signs, DW [10] reveals that Germany is likely to fall well short of its climate goals. Australia, too, is suffering the impacts of climate change with little progress to show—see The Strategist [11] for details. Finally, this report [12] by German Watch has the global rankings of climate change performance (FYI: to find Australia, you’ll have to look down).

As we look towards the elections for the European Parliament in May, many of the predictions made in this Forbes article [13] at the end of 2018 are coming to pass. The European Council on Foreign Relations [14] looks at the elections and the impacts the rise of populism could have on them and on Europe as a whole. Leading the charge against the current European order are Hungary and Poland. The German Marshall Fund [15] takes a closer look at these nations and just how far their influence reaches.

It’s been almost two months since the Stockholm agreement [16] was signed, calling for a ceasefire around the port city of Hodeidah in Yemen to allow vital humanitarian support to enter the country. While intermittent fighting continues around this area, Lawfare [17] describes the larger proxy wars being waged all across the country by Saudi Arabia, Iran and the UAE. CNN [18] has an investigative piece on how US weapons sold to Saudi Arabia are being transferred to Saudi-backed militias throughout the country, which has caused the Democrats in the US to advance a bill to end America’s support for Riyadh. Politico [19] has the details.

Followers of Indian foreign policy might benefit from reading this scathing piece [20] by Sushant Sareen on how New Delhi’s short-sighted policies vis-à-vis Afghanistan have led to a disastrous strategic reality for India. Plus, C. Christine Fair documents [21] a journey along the 215-kilometre road linking Afghanistan and Iran, built by India, and explains how New Delhi’s investment in the Chahbahar port in Iran could be critical to saving Afghanistan from the Taliban abyss.

The National Interest interviewed 76 experts, including our very own senior analyst Malcolm Davis, to get their views on the possible outcomes of the proposed second summit between Trump and Kim Jong-un, and published the results here [22]. The Carnegie Moscow Center [23] has an interesting piece on the rise, fall, rise, and fall again, of Vladimir Putin.

If you want to read something that isn’t strictly defence or foreign policy, this New York Times long read [24] on the challenges faced by working women in Japan is well worth your time (and rage).

Tech geek

On the tech side of the climate-change challenge, Singularity Hub offers an interesting analysis [25] of geo-engineering [26]. Read more on why it may be a solution—or potentially a risk [27]—in dealing with climate change.

Boeing has proposed the F-15X Advanced Eagle fighter to replace the US Air Force’s ageing F-15C/D aircraft. The Drive has run two comprehensive analyses on this in its ‘Warzone’ section, the first [28] examining what the F-15X is, and the second [29] detailing the latest developments in this interesting project and how it addresses an urgent shortfall in fighter capability within USAF.

As the US shifts its focus towards defeating major-power threats, there’s an interesting article [30] in the US Naval Institute’s Proceedings on why Australia and the US must prepare for high-end warfighting at sea.

Also with an Australian theme, this article [31] in The Bridge by Major General Mick Ryan and DSTG’s Therese Keane on biotechnology and human augmentation, and what it may mean for national security, is a must-read.

France has practised an 11-hour-long nuclear strike mission with a Rafale [32] fighter releasing an inert ASMP-A missile, while Germany [33] has turned its back on the F-35 joint strike fighter as a replacement for the ageing Tornado strike aircraft.

The Diplomat has published an interview [34] with China expert M. Taylor Fravel on how the PLA does military strategy ahead of the release of his major book [35]. It also published some great analysis [36] on what China’s submarine production might look like in the future.

This week in history

The 6th of February marked the 67th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the throne. Queen Elizabeth has many accomplishments and records under her belt, including being the longest serving monarch of any nation in the world and having her portrait on the most foreign currencies [37]. See this BBC series [38] for a timeline of the Queen’s life in pictures.


Try this quick pop quiz [39] to test your knowledge of countries and their native languages (no cheating!).

The BBC [40] brings you a short program on Huawei, its claims that it would never spy for China and the world’s reaction to the company. [11:36]

To celebrate the Lunar New Year, see Al Jazeera’s [41] photo series of pictures taken all over the world.


Listen to this podcast [1] by the New York Times about what past State of the Union addresses portend for the future.  [26:34]

With thousands of Zimbabweans now in jail following the violent crackdown of President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Global Dispatches [42] has the latest on what is happening in Zimbabwe. [30:05]

It’s hard to escape the fact that Donald Trump is having a significant impact on liberal internationalism. To find out just how much and what is in store for the liberal international order, have a listen to this Lawfare Podcast [43]. [52:35]


Canberra, 12 February, 12.30–1.30 pm, Australian National University: ‘Contagion and containment of violence: the case of sorcery accusations and related violence in Enga Province, Papua New Guinea’. Register here [44].

Melbourne, 12 February, 6.15–7.15 pm, Lowy Institute: ‘The year ahead’. Register here [45].

Sydney, 13 February, 6–7.30 pm, University of Sydney: ‘Truth, bullsh*t and weasel words: how post-truth politics is wrecking public discourse’ with Don Watson. Information here [46].

Article printed from The Strategist: https://www.aspistrategist.org.au

URL to article: https://www.aspistrategist.org.au/aspi-suggests-117/

URLs in this post:

[1] address: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/06/podcasts/the-daily/state-of-the-union-trump-obama-bush-clinton.html

[2] piece: https://edition.cnn.com/2019/02/05/politics/state-of-the-union-takeaways/index.html

[3] Financial Review: https://www.afr.com/news/world/north-america/the-speech-of-a-president-whose-power-is-draining-20190207-h1aygq

[4] opinion piece: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/05/opinion/trump-immigration-border.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage

[5] response: https://www.politico.com/interactives/2019/stacey-abrams-state-of-the-union-2019-response-fact-check-transcript-2/5/19/

[6] meme-watchers: https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/02/06/queen-condescending-applause-nancy-pelosi-clapped-trump-internet-lost-it/?utm_term=.4ce7ce4bc924

[7] comics: https://edition.cnn.com/videos/media/2019/02/06/late-night-laughs-trump-sotu-address-newday-vpx.cnn

[8] Financial Times: https://www.ft.com/content/86e0ae66-2a23-11e9-88a4-c32129756dd8

[9] National Geographic: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2019/02/climate-change-alters-oceans-blues-greens/

[10] DW: https://www.dw.com/en/germany-to-fall-short-of-2020-climate-goals-report/a-47395605

[11] The Strategist: https://www.aspistrategist.org.au/fire-drought-and-flooding-rain-its-time-for-national-action-on-climate-change/

[12] this report: https://germanwatch.org/sites/germanwatch.org/files/CCPI2019_Results_WEB.pdf

[13] Forbes article: https://www.forbes.com/sites/stephenpope/2018/12/28/in-2019-european-populism-will-assert-more-power/#6fe781572cbe

[14] European Council on Foreign Relations: https://www.ecfr.eu/article/commentary_how_europes_populists_can_win_by_losing

[15] German Marshall Fund: http://www.gmfus.org/blog/2019/01/31/hungary-and-poland-what-next-europes-illiberal-vanguard

[16] Stockholm agreement: https://www.government.se/articles/2018/12/stockholm-agreement-gives-hope-of-peaceful-solution-in-yemen/

[17] Lawfare: https://www.lawfareblog.com/stockholm-agreement-and-yemens-other-wars

[18] CNN: https://edition.cnn.com/interactive/2019/02/middleeast/yemen-lost-us-arms/

[19] Politico: https://www.politico.com/story/2019/02/06/congress-trump-yemen-1153867

[20] piece: https://www.orfonline.org/research/afghanistan-what-price-tag-do-we-put-on-strategic-security-47813/

[21] documents: https://www.firstpost.com/world/the-all-new-great-game-6009631.html

[22] here: https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/north-korea-and-america%E2%80%99s-second-summit-we-asked-76-experts-predict-results-43787

[23] Carnegie Moscow Center: https://carnegie.ru/2019/02/05/five-years-after-crimea-russia-has-come-full-circle-at-great-cost-pub-78301

[24] long read: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/02/world/asia/japan-working-mothers.html?emc=edit_gn_20190206&nl=gender-letter&nlid=8283655920190206&te=1

[25] analysis: https://singularityhub.com/2019/02/03/will-these-massive-geoengineering-projects-fix-the-earth-or-break-it-more/?fbclid=IwAR2dPtZKWnDkuOJRsNgglLVfD2Xupa67aLQBPG6kgDLfVJ0LwM-s4TezXto#sm.0001wqf3wqn7sfatvif2319gydx58

[26] geo-engineering: http://www.geoengineering.ox.ac.uk/www.geoengineering.ox.ac.uk/what-is-geoengineering/what-is-geoengineering/indexd41d.html?

[27] risk: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-hidden-dangers-of-geoengineering/

[28] first: http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/22372/exclusive-unmasking-the-f-15x-boeings-f-15c-d-eagle-replacement-fighter

[29] second: http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/26305/f-15x-will-come-in-two-variants-and-no-it-wont-cost-100m-per-copy

[30] article: https://www.usni.org/magazines/proceedings/2019-02/australia-and-us-must-prioritize-high-end-warfighting

[31] this article: https://thestrategybridge.org/the-bridge/2019/2/5/biotechnology-and-human-augmentation-issues-for-national-security-practitioners

[32] Rafale: https://www.defensenews.com/global/europe/2019/02/05/french-air-force-rehearses-a-long-range-nuclear-strike/

[33] Germany: https://www.defensenews.com/global/europe/2019/01/31/germany-officially-knocks-f-35-out-of-competition-to-replace-tornado/

[34] interview: https://thediplomat.com/2019/01/m-taylor-fravel-on-how-the-peoples-liberation-army-does-military-strategy/

[35] book: https://press.princeton.edu/titles/13400.html

[36] analysis: https://thediplomat.com/2019/01/pondering-chinas-future-nuclear-submarine-production/

[37] most foreign currencies: http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/most-currencies-featuring-the-same-individual

[38] BBC series: https://www.bbc.com/news/in-pictures-36013958

[39] pop quiz: https://twitter.com/d_jaishankar/status/1092793644803911681

[40] The BBC: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0705mqj

[41] Al Jazeera’s: https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/inpictures/pictures-chinese-communities-celebrate-lunar-year-190205053726617.html

[42] Global Dispatches: https://www.globaldispatchespodcast.com/zimbabwe-is-in-the-midst-of-its-worst-crisis-since-the-fall-of-robert-mugabe/

[43] Lawfare Podcast: https://www.lawfareblog.com/lawfare-podcast-progressive-critiques-liberal-internationalism

[44] here: http://regnet.anu.edu.au/news-events/events/7390/contagion-and-containment-violence-case-sorcery-accusations-and-related

[45] here: https://myaccount.lowyinstitute.org/events/melbourne_theyearahead2019

[46] here: https://whatson.sydney.edu.au/events/published/sydney-ideas-truth,-bullshit-and-weasel-words

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