ASPI suggests
28 Oct 2016| and

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

There are only a couple of weeks left until the New York City presidential derby. The read of the week unfolded in the Fairfax press, with Peter Hartcher’s three-part series United Fates, which covers off on ‘The End of the Alliance?’, ‘Rise of the Demagogues’ and ‘As Risky as Terrorism’. Muck in here. A new documentary for those seeking to understand the geographic reality of Donald Trump’s border wall plans could do worse than check out Best of Luck with the Wall, a 7-minute film released this week, along with this write-up from Fusion’s Alexis C. Madrigal. And The New Yorker spoke to 20 first-time voters about the presidential election, producing a portrait of some of the issues motivating Americans this cycle.

Some key pieces that caught our eyes in the last week. From the latest issue of Foreign Affairs, Fareed Zakaria catalogues and contemplates the rise of populism in the West. From The Intercept comes a yarn about Endace, a little company in New Zealand that sells mass surveillance tools to governments around the world. Recommended on Twitter by The Atlantic’s James Fallows was this profile of Julian Assange, who the author claims has delusions of grandeur about Wikileaks’ impact and is out to get even with Hillary Clinton. And from The New York Times, a special piece of interactive journalism about climate change in China’s Tengger Desert, which is growing at 1,300 square miles per year and pushing populations out to the way as it expands.

A couple of weeks back, The Strategy Bridge announced that it would be running a fascinating new series which asks prominent strategic thinkers their thoughts on the ‘confluence of ethical considerations, the development of strategy, and the conduct of war’. We’d recommend checking out Australian Army officer Thomas McDermott’s contribution on whether ethics should be central to political decision-making and Rob Arnett’s piece on how Just War theory justifies the sale of weapons to other states. The whole series is perfect for the budding philosopher/strategist.

New research alert! Up first, from CSIS, is the brand new ‘Reconnecting Asia’ site, which maps new transport infrastructure initiatives across Eurasia and analyses their significance to the region’s economic and geopolitical trajectory. CNAS has published a series of recommendations for the next US government on the benefits of prolonged transatlantic security and defence cooperation. Also on life after the US election is this fresh paper from Chatham House, which examines both presidential candidates’ positions on climate change and global energy security policy. And energy theme flowing, this new publication from The Atlantic Council offers some thoughts on the challenges faced by developing countries as they attempt to move towards cleaner energy while increasing electricity access.


On this week’s episode of The Conversation’s politics podcast (31 mins), John Blaxland sits down with Michelle Grattan to discuss the latest fine installment of The Official History of ASIO, which covers Russia’s operations inside Australia in the years leading up to the end of the Cold War.


VICE News has got two stellar but grounding video offerings this week. The first (4 mins) definitely has a ‘viewer discretion advised’ warning stamped all over it; it’s not for the faint of heart, focusing on the work of Philippine photographer Dondi Tawatao as he travels through Manila’s streets documenting the aftermath of President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs, which has led to the execution-style shootings of more than 3,500 people to date.

The second (5 mins) takes a gander at the current state (read: failed) of the official ceasefires between Russian-backed separatists and and the Ukrainian Army in the separatist-controlled territory called the Promzone. It includes a number of interesting interviews with soldiers who have been fighting the war since they were teenagers.


Canberra: The Blamey Oration, hosted by the Royal United Services Institute of Australia and ever-focused on emerging and future security threats, will this year be delivered by CT king Dr David Kilcullen. There are a few tickets still available for the 9 November event, so get in quickly.

Melbourne: On 3–4 November, Melbourne Uni’s Faculty of Arts will hold a two-day conference on Indonesia’s political and social reforms since the end of the Soeharto presidency 20 years ago. Register here.