ASPI suggests
23 Jun 2017| and

First up, this must-read longread courtesy of The National Interest chronicles how deep structural shifts are afflicting the global system to bring about an end to the post-Cold War era. The authors reflect on the old world and our new world—that of declining Western primacy, the return of international ideological struggle and great-power competition, along with a discombobulating global disorder. Those phenomena, they reckon, will be exacerbated by ‘pronounced uncertainty about the willpower of the chief defenders of the post–Cold War system’. Come for the tidy explanation; stick around for the prescription.

We mainly leave the capability wonkery to ASPI’s superstar interns, but this week we wanted to bring you two good sea-based reads that have been bobbing around. The first is this forensic exploration of the Ford-class carrier program’s ‘appalling mismanagement and avoidable major failures’. The second is Robert Farley’s reflection on sinking an aircraft carrier.

This. Ugh. (Re-upping the excoriation of the Thucydides Trap featured in last week’s Suggests.)

It has been a big week for fresh reports, so buckle your seatbelts and get ready for some rapid-fire research… First up, let’s applaud our friends at Lowy for the release of their 2017 poll, which got a good run, including here at The Wall Street Journal but our fave was illustrated by a talented Melbournian and published on The New York Times. A massive effort from CSIS makes some poignant recommendations for the US as it attempts to address grey zone coercion in the Asia–Pacific (check out discussion from the launch event here). CNAS recently published a massive effort recommending a push to make ‘networking’ a fundamental core to US foreign and defence policy approaches in Asia. And finally, a little closer to home, CT supremo Andrew Zammit underlines the importance of virtual planning for Australia’s counterterrorism efforts in a new report for IFRS. (Here’s a couple more we didn’t have the column-inches for.)

And just quickly, this review of the new Laura Poitras doco on Mssr. Assange ain’t bad. On the other hand, Pamela Anderson’s (love?)letter to Assange isn’t good. In it she appeals to May, Corbyn, Macron and Trump for Assange’s release, and urges:

‘We must turn the world around. Stop escalating cyberwars. Stop geopolitical sabre-rattling. Stop interfering in elections. Stop torturing animals and eating them. Stop writing speeches on goatskin. Letting Julian go free would change everything. For a better world!’



The Diplomat’s latest podcast (25 mins) features an A+ discussion on the future of diplomatic relations between Beijing and Taipei after Panama recently switched its recognition of their capital cities in Beijing’s favour.


Several former prisoners who were held in secret CIA prisons have brought a case against the two psychologists who devised the CIA’s ‘enhanced interrogation’ techniques like walling, sleep deprivation, stress positions and waterboarding. (The pair made US$81 million in the process). The New York Times this week published a short annotated video highlighting the depositions given by the plaintiffs and defendants (10 mins). Observe the stunning perceptual chasm that exists between the parties. (Scroll down below the video to read the Times’ run-down, along with the case documents.)

Topics including the alt-right, Richard Spencer, nationalism, populism and the health of democracy, both in the US and around the globe, were laid out as a veritable smorgasbord in a recent event run by The Atlantic. Tuck in with Jeffrey Goldberg, Graeme Wood and Rosie Gray (68 mins).

When the F-35 turned up in France for the Paris Air Show this week, it did so with the usual attendant scepticism. But the Joint Strike Fighter exceeded all expectations with a spectacular air show where it pulled out all of the stopgaps imaginable. Check out footage of the show here at Wired (3 mins).


Canberra: After a hugely successful inaugural conference last year, Young Australians in International Affairs is back in the capital hosting round two of Future21. Featuring an all-star lineup of who’s who in defence, strategy, foreign affairs and international policy, the conference will run over 7–8 September at ANU. Get in quick before tickets sell out.

Perth: Another event for the calendars, the Perth USAsia Centre this week announced their 2017 In the Zone Conference, dubbed The Blue Zone. With Julie Bishop, Han Sueng-soo, Penny Wong on the agenda, mark those diaries for 2 October and register here.