ASPI suggests
8 Apr 2016| and

Image courtesy of Flickr user ABC Radio National

Welcome back for another week, this time as ASPI wraps up what has been an action-packed and star-studded program at our Defence White Paper conference. If you haven’t been streaming online or following the conversation on Twitter (#DWP16ASPI), keep an eye on our YouTube channel next week for the recorded rundown.

Andrew Shearer, former National Security Advisor to Tony Abbott, has been camped out at CSIS in DC for the last few months. Shearer this week released a strong new report advocating for deeper maritime cooperation between Australia, Japan and the US. Check out the full report here, head on over to YouTube to watch the launch event, and to the ABC to catch Shearer’s subs-centric chat with The World Today.

Can the Trans-Pacific Partnership multilateralise the ‘noodle bowl’ of Asia–Pacific trade agreements? Find out in a new paper from the Perth USAsia Centre.

You likely sensed it but now the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute has presented the hard data to confirm that global military spending is on the rise (PDF). SIPRI estimates that global military expenditure totalled US$1.7 trillion in 2015—up 1% on the previous year. The US is still top of the pops, despite its spend falling 2.4%. On the way up are China with a rise of 7.4%, and Russia with a rise of 7.5%. Head on over to SIPRI to see their interactive map and a stack of infographics.

The New York Review of Books has an excellent piece this week on the increasingly tight restrictions on freedom of speech in China. It also offers an interesting look at the history of the country’s political propaganda.

Looking at a different kind of propaganda, this essay over at Lawfare explores the factors that enable Daesh’s offline propaganda strategy. In a longer historical piece, Foreign Policy examines the conception of the idea of an Islamic State and the factors that contribute to Islam becoming ‘the handmaiden of the rulers’. Also worth the read is this piece at War on the Rocks, which offers an in-depth study on Russian boots on the ground in the Middle East.

Our days of suggesting the best reading and analysis picks on The Donald may be limited after the Wisconsin primary on Tuesday where both Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders emerged victorious, closing the gap between their front-runner counterparts. The New Yorker dives into the rhetoric of the two main Republican candidates after Wisconsin, while The Economist asks just how fatal the Cheese State’s blow was to the Trump campaign. For news from the other side of the campaign, Politico has a piece on whether Sanders’ recent successes will be enough to secure him the Democratic nomination, while Vox takes a controversial stance by arguing that the Sanders campaign is worse off now than it was before Wisconsin.


In an exclusive interview for Politico’s Off Message podcast, Hillary Clinton sat down to discuss everything from the 2008 campaign to rival Bernie Sanders’ alignment to the Democrats. For all those swotting up on the race, check it out here (58 mins).

CSIS’s Smart Women, Smart Power podcast series has an interesting offering this week: an interview with Heather Penney (32 mins), former USAF fighter pilot. She discusses the difficulty that air forces have with retaining both women and millennials in one of the most challenging careers on earth, along with what personnel policies need to change to alter that.


VICE News travelled to Israel and the West Bank to explore the inflammatory role of social media is playing in what some fear is shaping up to be the Third Intifada. Catch up with the documentary online (36 mins). It’s also worth checking out this strong piece from October 2015: The Intifada Will Be Instagrammed.

With 45,000 segments, it can be hard to visualise just how large and imposing the Berlin Wall was. A great data visualisation project has sought to remedy this. There’s a hypnotic collapsing simulation available over at Vimeo, and some stills from the project here.


Canberra: ‘Middle power’ mightn’t be the descriptor du jour here in Australia but seems the same can’t be said for our Anglosphere pals up in Canada. Professor Kim Richard Nossal from the Centre for International and Defence Policy at Queens University in Kingston, Ontario, will present on the role of middle powers in the Asia–Pacific, and participate in a panel discussion with some of the sharpest minds at ANU’s SDSC. Register here.

Also in the capital this week, Sidney Jones—director of the Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict in Jakarta—will speak at the AIIA’s national office on the recent patterns of violent extremism in Indonesia. Check out the event page for more information.

Melbourne: AIIA’s Victoria office will host Des Moore, director of the Institute for Private Enterprise, for a discussion on the outcomes of COP21 and what they mean for the future of the Australian economy. Be sure to register online.