ASPI suggests
29 Jul 2016| and

Image courtesy of Twitter user @HillaryClinton

Hillary Rodham Clinton today delivered her speech to close the 2016 Democratic National Convention, and in doing so made history (herstory?) as the first woman to officially clinch a major party’s nomination for President of the United States. It’s been a huge week for #DemsInPhilly, with well-received speeches from Barack and Michelle Obama, Bill Clinton, Joe Biden (‘malarkey!’), Tim Kaine, Lena Dunham, Michael Bloomberg and a stack of others. Here’s the fact-check on HRC’s speech. As with #RNCinCLE, superbrain Andrew Sullivan was closely tracking developments for New York magazine (nights 1, 2, 3 and 4). Having been on the public radar since her Wellesley commencement address 47 years ago, plenty has been said and spilled about Clinton. One piece that’s particularly worthwhile weekend reading is Hating Hillary, a 1996 profile published in The New Yorker.

If you needed a reminder that The Donald has no serious international advisors, look no further than his off-the-chain comments inviting Russia to meddle in the US election process. The piece in The New York Times was the most commented on article in the masthead’s history. The astounding development was captured by two editorials in The Times, first in reaction to Trump’s announcement, and then on the Putin–Trump admiration society. (Also, the Putin–Trump fallacy in the NYRB.) Vox has an explainer, while DefenseOne has a piece on Putin’s ‘best summer ever’.

Two useful terrorism picks this week. First, CNN has done some legwork to map ISIS’s actions and impact, with the headline finding that 143 attacks in 29 countries (other than Iraq and Syria) have killed 2,043 people. (Related: this NYT interactive on the human toll of terror.) And second, Anthony Cordesman of CSIS has published a new report on terror trends and metrics in 2016.

The National Bureau of Asian Research has been pumping out the goods this week with three excellent new reports on developments in the Asia–Pacific. The latest edition of the Bureau’s peer-reviewed journal Asia Policy was released earlier this week, and includes pieces on Sino-Indian strategic competition in the Ocean, Chinese economic diplomacy and how Japan might securitize the TPP, among many others. Be sure to keep an eye out for a couple of ANU heavies offering their thoughts. A second piece of analysis looks at the prospects of improving US–ROK–Japan trilateralism and offers some policy recommendations pitched at the three countries’ leadership, and the third examines the impacts of low oil prices on the Asia–Pacific’s natural gas sector.

Also in the region, for the second time this year, Indonesian President Joko Widodo has reshuffled his cabinet, booting out 13 ministers who were either overly invested in reformist policies or involved in public controversies. Significantly for Canberra, Trade Minister Thomas Lembong has been demoted after attempting to reform Indonesia’s protectionist stance on trade—with potential implications for the FTA Indonesia and Australia hoped to finalise by 2017. For a good run-down on who’s in and who’s out, check out this commentary from RSIS, along with this wider overview of Jokowi’s balancing act between the interests of reformists and elites from Future Directions.

Finally, an open letter from someone who is definitely not Vladimir Putin urging American voters to vote Trump, and #NeverHillary. And a piece from someone who definitely isn’t Hillary Clinton.


The excellent Global Dispatches podcast had an interview (30 mins) earlier this month featuring UN Secretary General candidate and former Prime Minister of New Zealand Helen Clark. Clark delves into her pathway to politics and some of the most significant foreign policy decisions she made during her time as PM. (A little closer to home, Kevin Rudd’s own bid for the UN’s top job took a nose-dive today as the PM ruled out nominating K-Rudd for the position. See this piece from Greg Sheridan on why we’re at ‘a truly pathetic moment.’)


To mark the release of their recent report on male guardianship in Saudi Arabia, Human Rights Watch has pulled together a series of snappy cartoon vids to illustrate their advocacy. The spots are available here, along with a piece which captures the practical impacts of the law.

This week, US Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Joint Chiefs chairman General Joseph Dunford gave a press conference on US goals in the fight against Daesh and the potential escalation of military cooperation with Russia on the ground in Syria. Check out footage of the briefing here (36 mins).


Canberra: Want to get your head around how India is viewing Beijing’s One Belt One Road and Maritime Silk Road initiatives? Look no further than the ANU’s upcoming event with Jayant Prasad, Director General of the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses in New Delhi. Head along next Wednesday evening.

Melbourne: Join ASPI and RMIT for a joint symposium on the future of innovation in Australia’s defence industry on 1 September. There’s only two weeks left to register, so get in now!