ASPI suggests
7 Jul 2017|

With my partner-in-crime, Amelia Long, having flown the coop, I’ll be striking out on my own once more to bring you some choice reading, listening, et al. each Friday. Let’s muck in …

Developments this week above the 38th parallel north spurred many an analyst into action, so here are some key picks. Starting at home, ASPI’s Rod Lyon makes no bones about the situation we face: ‘We’ve reached a point where only seriously costly options could offer a real prospect of reversing North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, because those options involve either regime change or war (and perhaps both)’. This piece over at War on The Rocks similarly concludes that there are ‘no good options at the moment … only bad ones and catastrophic ones.’ And in The New York Times, David C. Kang carries a torch for deterrence, while Michael E. O’Hanlon calls for dealmaking.

Vale to The Wall Street Journal’s China Real Time, a home of incisive China analysis which was shuttered this week. But not before they channelled Mikes Willesee and Munro, chronicling some of the key Sino-centric stories posted since their launch in 2008. Happily, the CRT archive will continue to live online. Here are a few other sites that might fill the hole in your heart: ICAS, China Matters, Sinocism and CSIS’s China Power project. Special mention also to @limlouisa and @graemeksmith, who pull together the Little Red Podcast suggested below. Holler your faves at me on Twitter—@davidmlang.

A couple of opportunities for the young guns out there. If you fancy some time in Honolulu, you could do worse than throw your hat in the ring for a short visiting fellowship at CSIS Pacific Forum. Applications for their WSD-Handa fellowship opened recently, for a September start date. And for a paradise of an entirely different kind, applications are now open for the UN’s Young Professionals Programme. It’s the first time in a few years that Australia is on the list of eligible countries, so a good chance for Aussies (under 32 years old) to get a foot in the door. More details on this blog and over at the UN careers page.

On to recruitment of a different kind, here are two fascinating accounts. The first, over at Lawfare, is a yarn about some murky goings-on through the middle of last year related to the GOP campaign, Clinton emails, Russia and a mystery man named Peter Smith. The second comes via the journalist Nate Thayer, who found himself at the centre of a recruitment campaign run by the Chinese Ministry of State Security. Thayer lays out how it all went down in this gripping effort.

A heft of new research has landed this week, so clear your weekend schedules. First up, an exceedingly helpful 101 (PDF) on all things UNCLOS, FONOPs, EEZ and South China Sea, courtesy of Eleanor Freund at Harvard’s Belfer Center. Asia Society Australia recently put out its sizable volume of essays, Disruptive Asia. The Stockholm Center for Freedom has released research (in Turkish, with English to follow) about the July 2016 coup against Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, which claims that the events were a series of false flag operations designed to ‘create a pretext for a mass persecution of critics and opponents in a state of perpetual emergency’. And from the ANU’s Strategist and Defence Studies Centre comes the latest Centre of Gravity paper, this time on a rules-based order under siege (PDF).

There will be no shortage of analysis flowing from President Trump’s Eurotrip, so for now let’s restrict our attention to this cracking Washington Post op-ed which imagines the sort of advice Russia’s president is receiving in advance of his meet with President Trump later today.


In case you haven’t yet come across it, the Little Red Podcast really is one not to miss. The infrequent but solid podcast is pulled together by two Australian academics (noted above) in order to shine a light on the work on China being churned out of Australian universities. Take in their back catalogue here, and head here for an interview with one-half of the brains behind the operation.


For the past year, two teams—one American, one Chinese—have been toiling to understand the shape of Sino-American relations, and where that relationship might be headed in the future. That work bore fruit this week, with the release of two reports: the US side’s paper is titled Joint U.S.-China Think Tank Project on the Future of U.S.-China Relations: An American Perspective (PDF), while the Chinese side’s effort is titled China-U.S. Relations: Exploring a New Pathway to a Win-Win Partnership (PDF in English and here in Chinese). The papers were formally launched with two meaty panel discussions at CSIS’s DC digs yesterday (2 hours, 37 mins).


Melbourne: Australia’s former Ambassador to Japan, Murray Maclean, will join Nick Bisley for a lunchtime chat about where the land of the Rising Sun is headed under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Here are all the details you need.

Canberra: On 24 July, Gareth Evans will launch Australia Goes to Washington, a new history surveying Australia’s 75 years of representation in the US, and how the Oz mission has diligently sought to advance Canberra’s views inside the beltway. Register here.