ASPI suggests

The world

The United States this week withdrew from the UN Human Rights Council. Vox provides a clear picture of the situation while CNN discusses reactions to the move. This CFR piece investigates how prospects for international development and cooperation are dwindling as Trump continues to retreat from multilateral frameworks.

‘An inconvenient truth’ is usually associated with Al Gore’s 2006 documentary. But World Refugee Day on 20 June, brought the sobering realisation that more people than ever before have been forced to flee persecution or war. New research by UNHCR shows that the number of people forced to flee their homes had risen to 68.5 million at the end of 2017. The US administration has dominated headlines with its policy of separating children from their parents as families, flee violence in Central and South America. Snopes provides an insightful fact check on the legal situation.

Yemen is another country dealing with violent conflict and internally displaced people. For details on recent turning points, see Al Jazeera’s analysis of why the Saudi coalition is attacking Hodeidah and the humanitarian effects involved. Amnesty International has released alarming details about the attack’s impacts on the devastated Yemeni population.

Migration policy also continues to fuel friction in Europe. Germany’s coalition government is in crisis as Interior Minister Horst Seehofer and Chancellor Angela Merkel clashed over immigration policy ahead of elections in Bavaria. As the New York Times reported Donald Trump weighed into the debate again, falsely claiming that immigration increases crime. Merkel hopes to find a pan-European solution at the EU leaders’ meeting next week. Politico takes a closer look at that ‘Mother of all EU summits’, The Economist’s Jeremy Cliff has a great graph showing possible outcomes for Merkel, while Carnegie’s Judy Dempsey looks at the possible effects on future European security.

SIPRI’s new yearbook is out. Key findings include that the number of multinational peacekeepers is declining despite growing demand, and that nuclear weapons are being modernised rather than abandoned. Research by Erin Connolly and Kate Hewitt shows how shockingly little knowledge US students have about nukes, and what they’re doing about it.

With the World Cup in full swing in Russia, Wired has a couple of tips for dealing with Moscow’s approach to cybersecurity. The Atlantic discusses China’s cyber governance plan and intention to dictate the internet’s future rules (and content). This Washington Post article summarises the congressional call to have research collaborations between American universities and Huawei investigated. Sophie-Charlotte Fischer shows in this brief for ETH Zurich’s CSS that China aims to be the world leader in AI by 2030. She argues that Beijing’s drive might set off a new technology race, but that countries should see the potential for mutually beneficial cooperation.

And some more for the cyber fans: As Swedish elections near, the country is preparing for an onslaught of Russian hacking and cyber–election tampering. This ABC radio interview with Erik Brattberg contains all you need to know on the situation. It comes a day after Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu addressed Cyber Week at Tel Aviv University about the threats and benefits of cyber to both public and private actors.

The tech geek is on leave, contemplating all things techy and geeky, and will return in July. But we still found satisfying geeky matter: the OCCRP developed a tool to track the travel of the rich and wealthy—a big help for journos and analysts investigating money laundering and the like.

And one last thing on Trump: He wants a space force as the sixth branch of the US Department of Defense. That might violate the Outer Space Treaty of 1967. National Geographic discusses the legal issues and how existing laws provide some back doors. In saying that, Trump’s proposal has been met with plenty of opposition in the US, meaning it may not pass Congress in the first place.


The US Energy Information Administration has published over 600 graphs on Flickr showing a broad variety of numbers and developments of all things petroleum, oil and other liquids.

Sixty-five years after the failed uprising of East Germans on 17 June 1953, this video recounts the demonstrations and violent crackdown that followed. [7:39]

This fascinating episode of Al-Jazeera’s ‘People and Power’ profiles Wahida Mohamed Al-Jamaily, a woman leading a militia in northern Iraq. [25:00]


The APPS Policy Forum podcast talks about the World Cup and its meaning for Russia’s international policy game and about the country’s energy politics and goals in the Asia–Pacific. [56:04]

Pod Save the World hosts former US National Counterterrorism Center chief Nick Rasmussen to discuss the Center’s place in the national security architecture, as well as terrorism propaganda. [50:47, skip the first minute and ads at 16:25-19:50, 34:55-36:45]

The BBC’s How to Invent a Country investigates the beginnings of Amsterdam and how it went from being a swamp to being one of the world’s leading cities in such a short period of time. [30:00]

Caliphate this week interviews an ISIS returnee who has confessed to murder one year after returning to America. [33:00]


Canberra, 24-26 June, ANU Crawford Leadership Forum, ‘Global realities, domestic choices.’ Details here.

Canberra, 27 June, 5.30–7 pm, National Library of Australia, ‘Who will save the world?’ with Jan Fran. More information here.

Sydney, 28 June, 5–6.30 pm, Sydney University, ‘China and global refugee crisis: external and domestic dynamics’. Free registration here.

Canberra, 4 July, 5.30–8 pm, ASPI and Thales, ‘Thales-ASPI Hamel Centenary Oration’, delivered by the incoming Chief of Defence Force, Lieutenant General Angus Campbell, AO, DSC. More here.