ASPI suggests

The world

Although the FIFA World Cup is a sensitive topic for Team Suggests at the moment, we can recommend some analyses on how politics is always a part of sporting events, and especially how the Switzerland–Serbia game became a stage for Balkan conflict sentiments: The Guardian has the details on Swiss players using Albanian nationalist symbols to celebrate their goals, while FP provides a Serbian perspective on the politicisation of the match.

This week marked the two-year anniversary of a different kind of exit: Brexit. Bloomberg’s lengthy investigative piece—fascinating and appalling at the same time—looks at the relationship between pollsters and hedge funds leading up to the referendum, and how the latter made millions on the night—not for the first time apparently. The Wall Street Journal breaks down Brexit’s troubling effects on European security and defence. There is hope, however, as nine EU countries, including Great Britain, just signed the European Intervention Initiative, allowing for joint crisis response of willing European countries beyond Brexit. Read the Economist explainer for a quick overview.

Research from the Italian Institute of International Affairs buckled down on how Europe as a whole can boost defence cooperation—think air-to-air refuelling, remotely piloted aircraft, space-based capabilities and more. A bit more meat on EU-specific defence capabilities is brought to you by the European Union Institute for Security Studies.

Meanwhile, across the pond, defence wonks won’t be too happy about the latest rumours that Defense Secretary Jim Mattis isn’t as plugged in as he used to be: his influence on President Donald Trump is waning.

Speaking of Trump, the great Julia Ioffe has done it again. After a carefully researched profile on Melania Trump in 2016, she’s now written a deep-probing and revealing biographical sketch of Donald Trump Jr for GQ.

His dad’s Nobel might yet be a while off, though. A 38 North exploration of satellite images shows that North Korea is moving in the opposite direction to denuclearisation. This comes at a time when America continues to improve its missile defence capabilities in the South. FP has two bits of analysis: one showing the flaws of good intentions when it comes to denuclearisation, and the other offering advice on how to deal with that pipedream.

The snap elections in Turkey had the expected outcome: Recep Tayyip Erdoğan consolidated his powers, making him more autonomous than ever before. Vox provides insight in the newly acquired powers. Yascha Mounk highlights how the developments should teach us all lessons on how easily authoritarian leaders can discredit liberal democracies and their institutions over time. One of those institutions is the free press, and The Economist explains how the fate of cartoonists since Erdoğan came to power in 2003 was an early indicator of the future of press freedom in Turkey.

The ABC investigated the increasing suppression of Uyghurs in China and found that the ethnic minority’s communities abroad are also being affected. Hundreds of thousands have been detained in so-called re-education camps in China. Uyghur members in Australia, who often hesitate to share details, spoke of their fears of being targeted. If you haven’t already, also read Rian Thum’s earlier New York Times analysis. Thum shows how calls for tenders revealed the existence and growing numbers of these facilities.

You only have to step outside to see the growing impact humans are having on our environment. New data shows that last year alone deforestation caused the loss of 39 million acres of tropical rainforest. National Geographic provides devastating facts and figures about the effects of deforestation—including the murder of those attempting to defend land and environmental rights. Representatives from all over the world shared their concerns about climate change and its impact on national security at a UN Environment high-level event, ‘Climate, Peace, and Security: The Time for Action’.

Fans of all things techy and geeky, don’t despair—the Tech Geek returns next week. Until then, you may enjoy this read on how Russian thinking on space seems to be ahead of America’s. Also take a peek at Brendon Hong comparing China’s actions in space to its behaviour and goals in the South China Sea. And Wired has it all: the current space race between the US, China and Russia.


Faces of Auschwitz is a project that colourises registration photos taken of the extermination camp’s prisoners to honour their memory by telling their stories. The latest addition portrays Seweryna Szmaglewska.

For CBC’s The National, Dr Aisha Ahmad explains the specifics of the conflict in Mali, and the challenges for Canada and the UN in the peacekeeping mission there. [15:51]

How have we not found this earlier?! Such a great quick, helpful explainer on what blockchain is, courtesy of the Centre for International Governance Innovation. [6:26]


Sinica and SupChina talk about China’s ambitions in Central and Eastern Europe, especially through Chinese company CEFC, and the part the region plays in China’s Belt and Road Initiative. [52:50]

Carnegie’s DiploPod takes you to Latin America, discussing foreign influence in the region. [22:46]

The BBC’s Tim Mansel interviews Klas Helmerson in ‘Whiskey on the rocks’, the story of the Soviet Whiskey-class submarine that became stranded on rocks off the coast of Sweden in 1981. [9:00]

As part of Russia, If You’re Listening, Matthew Bevan talks about the similarities between Watergate and the investigation into Russian hacking and election tampering. [34:06]


Sydney, 2 July, 12.00–1.30 pm, China Studies Centre: ‘Infrastructuring China’s green urban future’. More here.

Canberra, 4 July, 5.30–8.00 pm, ASPI and Thales: ‘Thales–ASPI Hamel Centenary Oration’ with Lieutenant General Angus Campbell AO, DSC. Register here.

Canberra, 5 July, 6.00–7.15 pm, ANU: ‘The role of international human rights law in the prevention of ethnic conflicts’ with Fernand de Varennes, UN Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues. Free registration essential.