ASPI suggests
1 Jul 2016|

Image courtesy of Flickr user PBS NewsHour

The column inches on Brexit were quickly racked up this week by those enraged or enamoured with the result, so here’s just a taste. Late night TV superstar John Oliver was excoriating in his analysis of the referendum, along with the lack of leadership and truth emanating from the Stay or Leave camps. Over at New Statesman, Laurie Penny isn’t happy. The New Yorker’s John Cassidy and the FT’s Gideon Rachman aren’t yet convinced that Brexit will go ahead; and a blistering column from the former foreign and associate editor of The Times of London lays the blame at the feet of Britain’s newspapers. In The New York Times, Marine Le Pen, president of France’s National Front, cooes about a ‘People’s Spring’, an EU-trouncing zeitgeist set to sweep the continent. (As an aside, here’s a profile on Le Pen from The Economist’s 1843 Magazine.) If you’re lost in the lexicon, here’s a guiding light through Nexit, Boxit and Full English Brexit. And this strong piece on the sociology of the Brexit is something different—the fourth part on ‘facts’ is particularly hearty in light of the ‘post-factual democracy’ idea captured in this widely-circulated post-poll comment.

A few days back the US House of Representatives’ Select Committee on Benghazi released its final report into the 2012 attacks in Libya which left four Americans dead. Two pieces will help unlock meaning. The first is from The New Yorker’s Amy Davidson on the politics around the report, which were repeatedly over-egged by both Republicans and Democrats. The second is from Wired’s Issie Lapowski, who makes some fair points about news consumption biases in these heady Internet days. The bottom line is that ‘the Committee both eviscerates the Obama administration for failing to adequately respond to threats in Libya and utterly fails to convincingly pin the blame on Clinton. Both, not either.’ So there you have it… Whether it’s Brexit or Benghazi: read widely and read often.

Later this month, Republican and Democrat delegates will descend on their respective national conventions to determine their nominees for President and Vice President to take them through to November. Here are two snappily titled book reviews to get you in the spirit: The first, How Bad Can a President Be?, reflects on a new biography of George W. Bush, which opens with the line: ‘Rarely in the history of the United States has the nation been so ill-served as during the presidency of George W. Bush.’ The second, Can the Monster Be Elected?, hoists in two new efforts (one on the 2012 US election, the other on democratic governance) to read fortunes for the 2016 Donald vs. Democrat race. (ELECTION BONUS: This corker from NYRB on two-time NYC mayoral candidate and scandalite Anthony Weiner; along with Weiner’s truly compelling chat with Alec Baldwin back in May.)

And finally, plenty of new research has bubbled up this week. Papers include Paul Dibb’s ASPI Strategy on why Russia is a threat to the international order; John Blaxland’s case for a MANIS regional maritime cooperation forum; an effort under the US Studies Centre banner on the US and China in Southeast Asia; and, from CSIS, Landing Together: Pacific Amphibious Development and Implications for the US Fleet.


Put a wide lense on Brexit with these offerings from the Council on Foreign Relations (43 mins), Brookings (95 mins), CSIS (40 mins), Monocle 24’s The Foreign Desk (29 mins), and ABC’s Between the Lines (43 mins).

Catch up with ‘Special Relationship’, a podcast on the US election pulled together by The Economist and Mic. Recent episodes have covered off on the politics of gun control, Bernie Sanders and the role of the media.


Short on time? IHS Jane’s has a collection of bite-sized videos on everything from Australia’s election and defence environment (6 mins) through to Russia’s military modernisation (7 mins). Their YouTube channel is worth a look.


Perth: CNAS head honcho Richard Fontaine will be in the country shortly for a stint as the inaugural Alliance 21 Fellow with the Perth USAsia Centre and the US Studies Centre. Catch Richard next week while he’s out west, where he’ll speak to this recent CNAS report on how to defeat ISIS. More info here.

Sydney: Head along to Stone and Chalk on 7 July as Asia Society Australia hosts business heavyweight Bruce McKern for a discussion on innovation in China.