ASPI suggests
24 Jun 2016| and

Welcome back, and vale Great Britain. More to follow…

First up this week, two choice pieces that paint an increasingly dire image of US foreign policy, regardless of who moves into the Oval Office. This piece from War on the Rocks examines the foreign policies of Clinton and Trump, and an excellent piece of commentary from RSIS (PDF) dives into Clinton’s not-so-squeaky-clean foreign policy history from her time as Secretary of State, and what it might mean if she takes the Oval Office.

What’s the secret to getting top-secret secrets? Freedom of information requests, of course! Head over to Medium to read about the journo who’s using the FOI Act to compel the US government to turn over a trove of otherwise secret information.

Over at The New York Times you can take a look at a fascinating interactive report that’s been pulled together after an exhaustive investigation into expansion of the Panama Canal. Almost seven years since the $3.1 billion dollar upgrade was approved, safety and quality concerns have thrown the project’s economic viability and impact into doubt. Desastre.

Two of this week’s fresh research recommendations come from Future Directions International. The first,  Drought and Water Security in India, written by Somya Rajawat, looks at how India can tackle its multifaceted water scarcity issue and argues for a government-coordinated solution that operates ‘at all levels of society’. And the second, from research analyst Lindsay Hughes, dives into the US’s Indian Ocean policies and the major security concerns it faces in the area: ongoing regional conflicts and the increasing presence of China in the ocean. Finally, the Center for a New American Security has also wrapped up its ISIS Study Group—convened in November 2015 to examine solutions for countering Islamic State—in a nice, tidy report offering four key policy recommendations.

Finally, two useful piece from The Economist: one on Xi Jinping’s spin doctors; the other is a five-part special report on artificial intelligence.


The ANU has just wrapped up their event series on the 2016 Federal Election, where discussions covering off on everything from climate change, defence and foreign affairs, through to social policy and the economy. If you couldn’t get along to the panels each week, head here to listen at your leisure.

Missing the debate and drama of the Shangri-La Dialogue unfolding across the Twittersphere earlier this month? The latest episode of CIMSEC’s Sea Control podcast series includes interviews with an all-star line-up of the region’s top strategic thinkers, recorded on the sideline of the annual security dialogue. Keep an ear out for ASPI alumnae, Natalie Sambhi and Mercedes Page.


Ever wondered how much weaponry a B-52 bomber can hold? Well, ponder no longer—the Smithsonian YouTube channel has put together a short video (2 mins) on not only how much the aircraft can hold, but also, what kind of weapons—up to 70,000 pounds of weaponry, including eight nukes. If that footage doesn’t make your heart race, definitely check out this footage of a Turkish Type 209 submarine torpedoing a Knox-class frigate in half.

With the Permanent Court of Arbitration’s decision on Philippines v. China to be handed down on 7 July, Beijing is suiting up for some new-wave public relations warfare. In a slick new cartoon pushed out on Weibo the link is made between the trading routes in the South China Sea and the ability of China’s youth to get their hands on the latest fashion, tech and other such cherished commodities. Take a look.


Melbourne: La Trobe University will host a public forum on the new president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, on 15 July. The stellar panel consisting of Nicole Curato, Nick Bisley and Lemuel Lopez will discuss whether Duterte’s touch talk will amount to anything tangible, and what impact he may have on the Philippines’ neigbours. Be sure to register, and for an interesting background read, check out this offering from New Mandala.

La Trobe Asia’s public forum series continues early next month, this time diving into the future of Australia’s northern neighbour, Indonesia. Nick Bisley will moderate a panel that will consider how the country’s politics, economics and demographics might evolve, what role Indonesia could take on regionally and globally, and how Canberra and Jakarta might get alone. Sign up here.