ASPI suggests
2 Dec 2016| and

Image courtesy of Flickr user Elise Cai.

Hello, comrades.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare released a sobering report (PDF) this week about the incidence of suicide among serving and ex-serving ADF personnel. The report, said to be the first comprehensive statistical study of suicide deaths in the ADF, tallied 292 deaths in the period from 2001 to 2014—more lives than the ADF lost through operations in Afghanistan. On that front, another report out this week, this time from the Australian Civil–Military Centre in coordination with Defence, DFAT and the AFP, takes a holistic look at Australia’s decade-plus involvement in Afghanistan. The report (PDF) settles on 17 lessons to improve whole-of-government decision-making for similarly complex missions in down the track.

Everyone loves a good map, right? Well, the CIA has your back with their new Flickr collection, where you can dive into 75-years worth of work from the Agency’s cartography centre. Head to National Geographic for a run-down, and across to Flickr for the crown jewels. While you’re at it, be sure to check out this Google playlist, which is pretty self-explanatory and pretty awesome—save for the videos which show just how far various ice-shelves and glaciers have retreated over the past 32 years.

In this week’s top research picks, the Wilson Center’s new report, ‘Navigating Complexity: Climate, Migration, and Conflict in a Changing World’, takes a close look at Darfur and Syria to offer some poignant thoughts on what motivates migration and how it affects the global community. A longer piece of research from Brookings discusses the decentralisation of the Free Syrian Army, which is says is the result of the US’s early refusal to support the group. A new effort from the Conflict Armament Research group unpacks the illegal arms trade taking place between Iran and Somalia, which includes not only Iranian-made weapons, but also Russian missiles and North Korean machine guns. And a great new read out of the George W. Bush Institute, complete with photography and interactive media, offers some humanitarian recommendations about how to improve conditions for residents of the DPRK.

In our populism pick of the week, Patrick J. Buchanan over at The American Conservative argues for ‘fresh thinking’ about the future of the US as the inevitable nationalist and populist tidal wave washes over global politics.

And finally, do you want to look and feel fabulous as you type, but ensure that your messages stay encrypted? Look no further than the Barbie Typewriter E-118, the children’s toy with a hidden cryptographic capability. The typewriters come in your choice of pink or grey, but a quick heads up: should you choose a pink model, your manual may omit instructions on how to use the coding tool, as secret writing was originally thought not to appeal to girls in 1998 when the toy first hit the shelves. And on that note, registrations for the annual Women in Cyber Security conference are now open for 31 March–1 April 2017 in Tucson, Arizona.


In advance of her stint at Turtle Bay representing the Trump administration, UN ambassador-designate Nikki Haley sat down with Mark Goldberg of Global Dispatches for a chat about her politics, her background and her thoughts about how she will handle her next role (28 mins).

For a broader look at the future of the Trump administration, this great new podcast from Foreign Policy (38 mins) asks whether the new White House will be sending the US back to a more primitive era for foreign and strategic policy.


It’s all been happening at CSIS this week. Andrew Shearer launched his Alliances and American Leadership project, which you can catch up with here (93 mins). And the China Power project hosted their first all-day conference which covered off on strategic trends, maritime interests, the rules-based order, and questions of economics—a whopper at 8 hours, 37 mins.

Something to keep an eye on: a new documentary will explore the horrific global trend of targeting healthcare workers in war zones. The New Barbarianism will come out in 2017, check out the trailer for it here (3 mins).


Perth: The Perth USAsia Centre will host the westside launch of Australia’s American Alliance, a new book edited by ANU’s SDSC troika of Peter Dean, Stephan Frühling and Brendan Taylor. Grab a copy of the book here, and if you’re in Perth, get along to the event.

Canberra: Although the jury’s still out on what their interpretations of the term actually is, China and Russia recently promoted a Joint Declaration on the Promotion of International Law. On 14 December, ANU will host a short seminar on what that Declaration means for issues that overlap with western interests—including R2P, Syria and the South China Sea. Register your attendance here.