ASPI suggests
19 Jun 2015|
Zombie response team

Kicking off today’s round-up is an infographic on the world’s major oil trade flows. No surprises, the Middle East tops the list with the 850.1 million tonnes of crude oil flowing out of the country in 2014. It’s also a useful snapshot of the major oil suppliers, consumers and trade routes—note Indonesia’s role, for instance, as a strategically important transit state, which brings us to maritime security …

Malaysia has been the latest Southeast Asian nation to have Chinese coast guard vessels encroach into its waters, with Prime Minister Najib Razak lodging a formal diplomatic protest in response. Despite the protest, like other ASEAN states, Kuala Lumpur must carefully balance between asserting its sovereignty and keeping ties with its largest trading partner cordial. RSIS senior fellow Oh Ei Sun notes a few factors, including renewed American strategic commitments and domestic politics in Malaysia, in explaining Razak’s firmer stance. Meanwhile, The Diplomat‘s Prashanth Parameswaran argues that Malaysia is still ‘playing it safe’ with China, but its reactions on these encroachments are slowly hardening.

Also, the Australian Navy’s Sounding Papers series has a new addition by Geoffrey Till on Indonesia as a growing maritime power and its implications for Australia.

If you’re interested in broader Asia–Pacific security dynamics, check out the transcript of VietNamNet‘s Hoang Huong interview with Malcolm Cook and Le Hong Hiep about the Vietnam’s position on East China Sea disputes, the US rebalance, ASEAN and China, and Sino-Japanese relations.

Turning now to nuclear matters, Carnegie Endowment’s Alexei Arbatov has a new report that asks, is it the end of history for nuclear arms control? He argues that the absence of negotiations on nuclear arms reduction and nonproliferation mechanisms coupled with eroding treaty structures due to political and military-technological developments sound a death knoll for the arms control regime. Alarmist or not? Keep reading here.

In subcontinental news, India and the US signed a Defense Framework in early June which renews their 10-year defence arrangement and expands cooperation in maritime security, joint exercises and intelligence sharing. For more details on the deal and the significance of its timing, check out this DW brief. And for more on how this defence agreement fits into broadening Indo-American ties, read Ashok Sharma over on The Conversation.

In the New York Review of Books, Ahmed Rashid writes a provocative piece entitled, ‘Why we need al Qaeda’.  For another take, here’s a recent report co-authored by ASPI’s Tobias Feakin and King’s College’s Benedict Wilkinson on why al-Qaeda should remain a key focus of counterterrorism efforts.

Lastly, Team Strategist is preparing for the zombie apocalypse—are you? And if you don’t already know how devastating it’ll be, The Oatmeal will inform you. Meanwhile, read James R. Holmes for essential advice on counter-zombie warfare. Start planning, people!


For more on what the updated US–India defence agreement means for both countries as well as US ties with Pakistan, check out this week’s cogitASIA podcast featuring CSIS India expert Richard Rossow as well as Colm Quinn with the Asia–Pacific region’s major developments (15mins).


Canberra: Foreign Minister Julie Bishop will deliver the keynote speech on MIKTA as a new model of partnership at an event co-hosted by the ANU and the Korean Embassy on Wednesday 24 June at 9.20am at the ANU’s University House, register here. The session also includes presentations by the Ambassadors for the Republic of Korea, Mexico, Indonesia and Turkey.