ASPI suggests
26 Aug 2016|


Although China’s rise is hardly stop-press stuff, a couple of recent excellent pieces have held a microscope to the powerful state’s relationships with its near and not-so-near neighbours. First off, this Washington Post piece dissects Australia’s ‘split personality’ when it comes to its economic and strategic relationships with China and the US, concluding that ‘Australia’s heart and its wallet’ are in very different places. Similarly, an article by ASPI head honcho Peter Jennings in The Australian argues the need for Australia to take a firm approach with an increasingly pushy China. Jumping across the Pacific, US Ambassador J. Stapleton Roy offers his thoughts on the pivot, the future administration, and how this affects the US–China relationship in a fascinating interview at The Diplomat. And finally, a solid piece of analysis from War on the Rocks draws on history to demonstrate the need for US intel practitioners to improve their knowledge of China.

The National Bureau of Asian Research has released the transcript of an interview with Admiral Jonathan Greenert, a former US chief of naval operations, on challenges to US maritime policy and primacy in the Asia–Pacific. The Interpreter has a good read from Hugh White which delves into what a Clinton presidency will mean for US foreign policy in an Asia, and whether the US and China might clash, or the US presence in the region decline. In a similar vein, The Atlantic debunks the myth of the ‘feminist foreign policy’, asking a poignant question: ‘do countries behave differently when women are in charge?’ And a short read from The Economist assesses whether the email scandal will continue to haunt the Clinton campaign.

It’s from earlier in the month, but this incredible feature from the New York Times Magazine is definitely worth a read. Set some time aside, but the lengthy piece maps the slow undoing of the Arab region, from the 1967 Six Day War, through the invasion of Iraq in 2003, to the Arab Spring and the recent rise of Daesh. Told through reporting, first-hand accounts and photojournalism, the 18 months dedicated to the production of this article were truly worth it and illustrates how much the ‘old press’ could be missed if its demise comes to pass.

Scientists have this week discovered that the nearest star to our Sun, Proxima Centauri, is being orbited by an Earth-like planet within the star’s habitable zone. The Economist argues that this discovery will begin a new phase in the hunt for extra-terrestrial life, while The New York Times unpacks what’s known so far about our new near-neighbour. A little closer to home, this fun interactive website details known near-Earth asteroids, including their location in the solar system and their purported dollar value. Handy for those with a spare few billion dollars (and a space-based mining capability) lying around.

And finally, I wasn’t sure whether to finish with the appointment of penguin Sir Nils Olav III to the rank of Brigadier in the Royal Norwegian Guard, or Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe emerging from a pipe dressed up as Super Mario at the Olympics’ Closing Ceremony. So many videos, so little time, so here’s a link to YouTube. Go nuts.


The Lawfare Podcast’s special August edition (37 mins) is now live, and this year, Quinta Jurecic of Brookings is answering listeners’ questions—ranging from Trump to intelligence collection to the War Powers Resolution. An unmissable listen for legal studies brethren with an interest in all things US.

Following US Secretary of State John Kerry’s trip to Nigeria earlier this week (covered in this week’s CT Scan) The Loopcast has released a deep new interview (38 mins) with Boko Haram watcher, Jacob Zenn. In the podcast, Zenn unravels the recent actions and movements of the terrorist group and discusses his recent paper for the Jamestown Foundation, a must-read for CT wonks.

A new podcast (1 hr 29 mins) from ANU examines India’s take on China’s One Belt One Road initiative. Jayant Prasad, DG of New Delhi’s Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, discusses India’s interests in the initiative, and how it’ll impact on regional security.


Close readers will know that we at The Strategist are big fans of blimp blunders. So the footage of the Airlander 10 airship’s (alternatively known as the Kim Kardashian Blimp for reasons we’re unable to wrap our heads around) slow motion crash (1 min 20 seconds) into Cardington Airfield has become the butt of some office jokes. If blimps aren’t your thing, feel free to watch Sideshow Bob crashing the Wright Flyer or Austin Powers and his steamroller for a similar vibe.


Canberra: ANU’s Coral Bell School has an excellent couple of events over the next week for the Asia–Pacific inclined. Next Monday’s Australia 360 full-day event will dive into Australia’s capacity to respond to its rapidly changing near neighbourhood. And on 1 September, the school will host two fascinating discussions for Asia-watchers: the first on the role of democracy in Southeast Asia and the second on a potential Australian reaction to the increasingly tense dispute over the Spratly Islands.

Also here in the capital, stellar youth initiative Young Australians in International Affairs will hold its inaugural conference, Future 21, over 15–16 September. The conference offers the next generation of strategic thinkers a great opportunity to rub shoulders with an all-star line-up of speakers, and a chance to think about the future of Australia’s domestic and foreign policy challenges. Tickets are on sale until 1 September, get in quickly to not miss out.