ASPI suggests
3 Jun 2016| and

Image courtesy of Flickr user thierry ehrmann

Hillary Clinton delivered her major foreign policy and national security address on Thursday, and the shade she threw at presumptive Republican nominee Trump’s foreign policy plans received more attention than her own. Vox dives into Clinton’s delegitimising language, claiming she hit the nail on the head about why America is uneasy about a prospective Trump presidency, while The Wall Street Journal looks at what the speech means for campaign tactics. It’s not hard to see why the media’s focus has been on Clinton’s Trump-shaming—the rebalance didn’t score a single mention in the whole speech. Check out the full transcript at TIME.

After Clinton’s notably strong language (at least for a presidential nominee), it’s a poignant moment to take in this piece from The Economist, which examines the three ways that free speech is coming under attack: government oppression, the enforcement of censorship by assassination, and the idea that ‘people and groups have a right not to be offended’.

The Australia-based Walk Free Foundation has just released The Global Slavery Index, which has a staggering headline finding: ‘In 2016, we estimate that 45.8 million people are in some form of modern slavery in 167 countries.’ The incredible research effort was based around 42,000 survey responses given in 53 languages, and includes country studies and regional analysis to boot. Head over to The Atlantic for a primer.

Be sure to have a gander at  this stellar new report (PDF) from the Center from American Progress, which looks at the centrality of multilateral institutions to ensuring the security in the Asia–Pacific. It recommends that the next US administration has an important role to play by attending every forum it can, and by making the East Asia Summit the ‘regional center of gravity’.

Here are a few fresh pieces on the counterterrorism front. First, the Quilliam Foundation has a comprehensive new report out on the security implications of the Brexit. Second, the ANU’s Haroro Ingram has a new paper out with the International Center for Counter-Terrorism in the Hague, this time on the subject of propaganda in times of conflict. And third, The Chronicle of Higher Education has a totally absorbing read about a gang of researchers doing frontline fieldwork in Syria and Iraq where they interview Daesh fighters to understand what’s in their ‘minds and hearts’.

Quirky business magnate and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk made some fascinating comments at the Code Conference in California earlier this week, not least of which included his belief that all of humanity is likely based inside a computer-generated construct created by an advanced civilisation. Red pill or blue pill, anyone? Gizmodo has the lowdown on Musk’s speculated extra-terrestrial origins, and how he’s here to save humanity from becoming one giant game of The Sims.

We hear a great deal about global military spending, but now you can see it too! This snappy video tracks relative defence expenditure growth in a handful of countries to give a clear sense of how we got to where we are today.

While the popularity of TV show Occupied might having you believing that invading Nordic countries is all the rage right now, one man alerted the Finnish authorities to the potential annexation of their country and made a daring escape via boat from the island of Kamsholmen after witnessing the Finnish military’s spring training exercises. After an unplanned landing at Kamsholmen, a Finnish Naval School representative admitted that it ‘must have been a mistake,’ and that the trainees had ‘lost it’.


The Harvard Kennedy School’s PolicyCast recently sat down with former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright for a chat before she delivered the commencement address to the 2016 graduating class. As sharp as ever, Albright gives her views on Syrian refugees, youth activism, public policy and that most inescapable of topics, Donald J. Trump (16 mins). Those hankering for more Albright wisdom should most certainly check out the speech she went on to deliver to the HKS grads (25 mins).

We’ve seen the satellite photos in the South China Sea, but how hard is it to actually build an artificial island? Engineering and policy experts weigh in on the latest CogitAsia podcast.

And don’t sweat if you couldn’t make it along to the ANU’s Federal election brief on security and foreign policy: the good burghers of Acton have got you covered with a recording of the event (1 hour).


The New Yorker recently published the final installment of a six-part series called ‘The Journey from Syria’ (10–12 mins each), which tracks Aboud Shalhoub’s asylum migration from his native Syria through Greece, the Balkans and onto a new life—and a family reunion—in the Netherlands. It’s incredibly compelling viewing—Shalhoub’s story is just one of millions that are playing out in broadly similar ways as Europe strains under the pressure of such epic human displacement. The Intercept has a great interview with the director, Matthew Cassel.


Sydney: AIIA’s NSW headquarters will host Adele Webb on 7 June for a discussion on whether comparing Rodrigo Duterte with Donald Trump is actually justified. Register here for the fascinating and topical conversation.

Canberra: With the 27th NATO Summit scheduled to kick off in Warsaw in just over a month, the ANU will host a public panel on European security policy and the NATO agenda. Hop along this coming Wednesday.