ASPI suggests
27 Mar 2015|
High Street Centre  commemorations to Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore's first prime minister.

Ready for the weekend? We’ve got your good reads and podcasts covered.

Southeast Asia’s big news this week was the death of Singapore’s first Prime Minister, Lee Kuan Yew, aged 91. A towering figure in Singapore’s politics and an astute observer of international relations (see today’s video pick), he’s challenging to sum up in one obit. Michael Barr’s piece on New Mandala on LKY’s political and economic records pulls this off well, indulging neither in hagiography nor unbridled criticism.

Meanwhile, Singaporean mourners have waited patiently around seven hours in a line that wraps neatly around the CBD to pay their last respects—a sight of orderliness that would have made their former leader proud.

Turning now to aviation security, could the Germanwings crash have been avoided? Probably not, writes James Fallows on The Atlantic.

Sticking with the air, read about the US missile defence system that’s set to drive a wedge between South Korea and China. Writing on Defense One, USAF’s Colonel Clint Hinote examines how China views the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense system (THAAD) and what it could mean for alliance relations.

Iran occupies an interesting place in international security right now: ally in the campaign against ISIS yet protagonist in P5+1 negotiations over a nuclear deal. On the latter issue, Dina Esfandiary writing on the Lowy Interpreter tears apart the notion that war with Iran would stop it going nuclear. In fact, keep reading Dina’s piece to find out why it’d make things worse.

For those wanting to keep an eye on Afghanistan, the Council on Foreign Relations has this visually-rich primer on the challenges posed by the Taliban, with maps of strongholds, infographics on security spending and a video presentation featuring experts like Steve Coll and Ahmed Rashid. Meanwhile, Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani was in the US this week, but is it a new day or groundhog day for US–Afghan relations? And here’s what was in his goodie bag.

Technology folk, DARPA is developing a ‘path planning’ system for autonomous antisubmarine warfare vessels allowing them to operate for long periods autonomously with minimal supervision from shore, and, unlike some nations, to follow the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGS). Speaking of unmanned platforms, John McCain has waded into the UCLASS debate.


Don’t miss Matthew Merighi’s CIMSEC interview with Professor Toshi Yoshihara of the US Naval War College on the ‘Thucydides Trap’, a fancy political science way of predicting inevitable conflict between a rising great power and established great powers, and whether it (you guessed it) relates to China (46mins).

Catching up on the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB)? Check out this week’s cogistASIA podcast which covers the bank’s origins and news from the Asia Pacific region (15mins).


For today’s flashback, here’s vintage LKY laying down his thoughts on the roots of radical Islam in Southeast Asia and whether the war in Iraq was necessary in this BBC Hard Talk interview.