All eyes have been on Beijing this week as signs of a slowdown in the Chinese economy have been felt across the globe. With Chinese President Xi Jinping set to visit Washington DC next month, The Washington Post asks how Obama can help to get China’s economic prosperity back on track without making Xi feel vulnerable and weak. For a useful breakdown of how the 14.6% rate of decline in Chinese imports could impact on the rest of the world for another year, check out The Guardian’s interactive graphic. Experts estimate that Australia alone stands to lose $25.2 billion in export sales—the equivalent of 1.7% of our GDP.
As China’s Victory Day parade draws closer, Vice Minister Zhang Ming of the Chinese Foreign Ministry has revealed the guest list for the event. Some notable absentees from the list include US leaders and their Western allies, as well as top-level representation from Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore. Meanwhile, J. Michael Cole at The Interpreter argues that Taiwan’s KMT is making a big mistake by sending its honourary chairman, Lien Chan, to the festivities next week, a move that could potentially shake the faith that young Taiwanese have in their military establishment.
What’s the purpose of US power? As part of its 30th anniversary symposium, The National Interest asked 25 experts their thoughts. William J. Burns, president of the Carnegie Endowment, says that while US global preeminence mightn’t last forever, it’d be a bad idea to bet on its decline any time soon. Read Burns’ response, and others, here.
Refugee crises from Syria to Austria have made headlines this week. Over at Project Syndicate, Anne-Marie Slaughter has looked at the four factors that are leading to US policymakers’ change of heart about implementing a no-fly zone over Syria. While the positive strategic implications of the zone are plenty, it could also serve to alleviate some of the pressures associated with the refugee crisis, which has reached ‘almost biblical proportions’. On a side note, check out CFR’s Global Conflict Tracker for an in-depth look at US engagement in Syria—along with a detailed examination of other hotspots around the world, and they’re likelihood to impact on US interests.
The Economist has also weighed in on what could be done to deal with the enormous influx of Syrians to the EU: ‘let them work’. By keeping migrants in the workplace, both locals and newcomers learn to adjust to the change—a policy that’s been effective in London, New York and Vancouver. After the horrific discovery of the bodies of up to 70 migrants in the back of a truck parked by an Austrian highway this week, pressure will be on the EU to ‘step up and provide protection to more, share responsibility better and show solidarity to other countries and to those most in need’, stated Amnesty International’s Gauri van Gulik.
Heading north, CSIS has released a new publication on Russia’s arctic ambitions, The New Ice Curtain. Looking at the future of bilateral and multilateral relations in the region, the report focuses on Russia’s military modernisation as it aims to maintain the economic viability of its natural resources, as well as the Northern Sea Route.
And finally, North Dakota has become the first state in the US to allow its law enforcement officers to fly drones armed with weapons, ranging from tasers to tear gas. The amended bill was originally designed to prohibit law enforcement officials from weaponising drones, but after an industry lobbying firm got involved, North Dakotan police can now outfit their UAVs with anything deemed ‘non-lethal’.
The ABC’s The World Today program recently hosted Peter Singer, strategist and senior fellow at the New America Foundation, who gave a brief outline of the vulnerabilities that the US defence system will likely face in the near future (9 mins).
The always-reliable CSIS CogitAsia podcast this week hosted Michael Green for a run down on Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s statement on the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII. Take a listen here.
The Hon Bill Shorten was the keynote speaker at ASPI’s recent 2015 National Security Dinner. For an overview of the Opposition’s take on the security issues faced by Australia in the near future, watch the video of the event here.
A big week coming up for Canberrans: next Monday 31 August, Adjunct Associate Professor James Brown of the US Studies Centre will speak at the ANU on Australia’s need to increase its efforts in space to match those of the US’s. Also be sure to mark 1 September in your diaries to catch Sheila A. Smith discuss her new book on how the Japanese government is coping with China’s growing regional influence.
Joining the long list of excellent events run by the University of Sydney’s China Studies Centre, on 10 September, Professor Christine Wong of the University of Melbourne will discuss the structure, organisation and potential reforms of China’s fiscal system.