ASPI suggests
8 Sep 2017| and

Kicking off with the thematic side of things this week, different facets of identity politics are stirred up in two pieces about President Trump. First, The Economist warns that Trump’s divisive ‘us versus them’ rhetoric isn’t only stoking racial and ethnic issues, but may also stir up deep-rooted economic grievances between whites in traditional Union states. Dealing with similar themes, here’s an essay from Ta Nehisi Coates presenting deeply conceptual ideas of race, class and politics. He argues that the foundation of Donald Trump’s presidency rests on negating Barack Obama’s legacy.

At the risk of contributing to an echo (echo) chamber, we’re going to recommend you check out this piece at Medium on the authors’ research into the ‘alternative media ecosystem’. They’ve put together some incredible data analysis of connected internet domains and social media accounts that help spread ‘alternative’ (read: false) news stories for political gain.

With yet another hurricane sweeping its way across the Caribbean, humans are not the only beings seeking refuge. This piece details the emergency response and disaster planning that zoos and aquariums go through to keep animals safe during hurricane season. Bringing it back to us, though, experts at RAND discuss challenges to health and healthcare systems in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, and what to do about them.

The future of terrorism: where should we be looking to prepare ourselves for the next wave of extremism? According to Jamie Bartlett, militant environmentalism is where we’re headed, and here’s why. Another great piece from Bartlett this week examines the demise of the nation-state, with power shifting towards the city-state.

On the subject of demographics, did you know 70 million individuals around the world lay claim to Irish ancestry? Kevin Kenny explores the idea of diaspora based on the experience of the Irish mass emigration.

Fifty years after the six-day war, Palestinians are facing the possibility of a never-ending occupation, as the option for a two-state solution becomes ever bleaker. An insightful essay from Carnegie examines the concept of Palestinian nationalism, and the likely trajectories for the future of the movement.

We’ve been talking about war movies a lot around the ASPI water cooler this week. It started with some media coverage of the upcoming Chinese movie, Sky Hunter, which focuses on China’s air force. The film features footage of real PLAAF aircraft, including the developmental J-20 stealth fighter (and the aviation geeks rejoiced). It comes shortly after another Chinese military movie, Wolf Warrior 2—described as China’s answer to Rambo—became the highest grossing Chinese film of all time in just two weeks. Both films appear to favour pyrotechnics over plot.

But it’s not like the West has any moral high ground when it comes to making kitschy war movies and TV shows. Special operators are the flavour of the day in the US market, with three brand-new TV dramas focused on US special forces due to start in the next month. How serendipitous.

We made the mistake of asking for a few recommendations from ASPI’s war-movie enthusiasts. You can enjoy the final, extensive list here. Every single film and TV show listed was recommended by at least one ASPI staff member (yes, even Pearl Harbor and Top Gun).


This week’s Dead Prussian Podcast is a conversation with Michael C. Horowitz, associate professor of political science at the University of Pennsylvania and author of the award-winning Diffusion of military power.

The Cipher Brief has uploaded a two-part discussion with Bob Work, former US deputy secretary of defense, on the subject of ‘Technology innovation at the DOD’.


In this video, VICE News looks at the future of the Colombian rebel group, FARC (7 mins). Having reached a peace agreement with the Colombian government last year, FARC is preparing to launch a new political party instead.

Here’s a pair of videos for the aviation geeks: the first is the Republic of Singapore Air Force and Indonesian Air Force each flying ten F-16s in formation (2 mins) to celebrate 50 years of bilateral ties. The second is a video of the rehearsal (3 mins), but in 360 degrees from the cockpit of one of the Singaporean jets.

Born from urgency’ a new documentary and photo series from Joey L highlights the men and women on the frontlines against ISIS. Brilliant access and visuals, as well as personal accounts of the war.


Brisbane: The Ambassador of the Russian Federation to Australia, Mr Grigory S. Logvinov, will mark 75 years of bilateral diplomatic ties between our two countries with a discussion of global issues and Russo-Australian relations. The event will be hosted by AIIA Queensland this Tuesday evening, 12 September.

Canberra: How does Australia decide to go to war? ANU College of Law visiting fellow Ernst Willheim will lead a discussion of that question, and whether parliament should have a say. The event will be hosted by Manning Clark House on 19 September.

Canberra: It’s a few weeks out yet, but mark your calendars. Professor Hugh White of the ANU Strategic and Defence Studies Centre and Dr Michael Keating, former secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, will be talking about Australia’s future submarines at the National Press Club on 27 September.