ASPI suggests
28 Apr 2017| and

While the ‘first 100 days’ are an unreliable indicator of what’s to come, it’s certainly a good opportunity to reflect on the period where a new leader is at their most powerful, which is exactly what everyone’s been doing. David Remnick continues to mourn over at The New Yorker, stitching the new President’s brash NY biography together with what he’s been up to since moving into 1600 Penn. NBC has a useful rundown, while the ABC are keeping an eye on Trump’s campaign promises. Some folks over at the ANU have turned their minds to the first 100 days in order to consider how the region can make the best of the 45th President. Their reflection is useful and timely, and chimes nicely with Stephen Walt’s excoriating analysis of Trump’s biggest foreign policy blunder to date: ‘his clueless approach to Asia.’ (To hone in a little further on one pixel of that image, don’t miss this behind-the-curtain Navy Times run-down on the USS Carl Vinson debacle.) And yes, heaven is a place on earth: The Simpsons have given us their dark take on how Trump has adjusted to the demands of high office.

Buzzfeed are marking the occasion by looking at 100 of Trump’s lies and falsehoods which, they claim, ‘come with an unprecedented frequency, scale, and lack of shame.’ In a similar vein, don’t miss this great longread from Politico on Trump’s ‘fake war on the fake news.’ For a real war on fake news, catch up with Jimmy Wales’ moves to launch WikiTribune, a crowd-funded news outlet where volunteers will check copy to ensure that the tone, style and substance is on-point. It’s an interesting experiment, and maybe not a bad thing when you’ve got incomprehensible interviews like this one.

To mark the 102nd anniversary for Australian and New Zealand troops arriving on the shores of Gallipoli, The Sydney Morning Herald published a beautiful piece on an unsung hero of Anzac Day, RAAF’s Sergeant Peter McCrackin, who braved the elements to prepare for his performance of The Last Post at Melbourne’s Dawn Service this year.

And to finish off this week, we give you the sad tale of the 300lb, egg-shaped security robot who was taken out of action by an angry drunk. As the Knightscope droid returns to its job keeping public spaces like sports stadiums and shopping malls safer, now’s as good a time as any to re-up some stellar literature on Artificial Intelligence. First up, these two somewhat alarmist pieces from Wait But Why discuss, with facts and stick figures, our position at the precipice of what the author terms ‘The Far Future’ as super intelligent technology becomes emerges. A more neutral perspective from Idle Words discusses the ethical issues arising AI, and argues that everyone should put down their pitchforks. So, the Knightscope droid forgives, but does it forget?


In a first for The Strategist, we suggest you get an earful of a recent installment of The Osher Gunsberg Podcast—yep, they dude from Australian Idol, The Bachelor etc… Earlier this month, Gunsburg sat down with Michael Ware, the former war correspondent originally of Brisbane, to dive into some of his harrowing experiences covering many battlefields, his efforts to deal with PTSD, and his latest endeavour embedding with risky and dangerous groups around the globe. It’s an incredibly absorbing 86-minute chat.

Ron Bartsch, president of the Australian RPAS Consortium, recently spoke to the Defence Connect gang to unpack the benefits (to both battlefield superiority and ISR) that unmanned platforms will have for every arm of the ADF (31 mins). He discusses legislation surrounding drone usage and where Australia sits relative to other countries that use unmanned platforms in combat.


In IHS Janes’ feature video this week (7 mins), senior analyst Alex Barnes offers his assessment of Afghanistan’s security in the year ahead—a great primer for anyone interested in Middle Eastern politics, counterterrorism and the peace process underway in the war-torn country.


Canberra: Two US heavyweights will be visiting Canberra next week, former Assistant Secretary of Defence for Asia–Pacific Security Affairs David Shear and CSIS’s Zack Cooper. Catch up with them both on 4 May at ANU’s National Security College as they discuss fresh research on Washington’s tactics to meet the challenges across increasingly unstable Asia.

Sydney: This event’s still quite a ways off, but it’ll be a good’un, so flick your calendar forward to 13 July 2017 and mark ‘John Howard on Trump and US-Australia relationship’, and then head over to the USSC site to register.