- The Strategist - https://www.aspistrategist.org.au -

ASPI suggests

Posted By , and on August 10, 2018 @ 14:36

After a week of increased tension that included Saudi Arabia recalling its ambassador to Canada and expelling Canada’s representative in Riyadh—all because of a single tweet [1]Vox [2] explained the entire diplomatic row. Al-Jazeera [3] claims that what many are calling an overreaction is actually Saudi Arabia sending a message to the world to steer clear of its human rights record. The Wall Street Journal [4] has analysed the financial impacts of the dispute.

In a New Statesman [5] long read [5], Shiraz Maher looks at Islamic State. He argues that while it has lost most of its territory, its remaining fighters seem to be regrouping in deserts near the Iraq–Syria border. It has also retained supporters willing to carry out attacks in its name around the world. Meanwhile, the New York Times [6] takes a closer look at IS in Afghanistan, where recently several hundred fighters surrendered, though questions have been raised about their treatment by the government. In War on the Rocks [7], Charles Lister outlines the probable battle of Idlib, the opposition’s last stronghold in the Syrian war.

Much ado about China as it’s set to overtake [8] Australia as the Pacific’s largest donor. The Lowy Institute created another fantastic tool, the Pacific Aid Map [9], which allows tracking of foreign assistance in the wider Pacific region. Alexandre Dayant and Jonathan Pryke [10] unpack the latest in ‘pivots’ to the region. In light of these developments, it’s worth revisiting Anthony Bergin’s article [11] on Australian fears surrounding Chinese investment. And for more on what contemporary Chinese aid looks like, see the Australian Institute of International Affairs [12] on concessional loans, the benefits for China and concerns for Australia. The Financial Review [13] looks into the potential benefits that could flow to the Australian natural gas industry from the US–China trade spat. Business Insider has produced a brief timeline [14] of the trade war.

The Center for Advanced Defense Studies has produced some incredibly insightful research [15] on North Korea’s overseas forced labour program. It examines networks, financial connections, and the variety of industries involved, showing how the program uses the funds to support nuclear proliferation and a ‘domestic economy dependent on foreign currency’.

In the Financial Times, Jamil Anderlini claims [16] that the West is underestimating the quickly growing partnership between China and Russia. He warns that focusing on Moscow’s economic dependence on Beijing overlooks the growing military and ideological ties between the two.

A new study [17] published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests [18] that we’re headed towards a ‘hothouse earth’ with average global temperatures 4 to 5 degrees higher than pre-industrial levels and sea levels rises of up to 60 metres.

In Foreign Affairs, Ariana A. Berengaut [19] highlights the importance of international cooperation and its role in defeating the latest Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The New York Review of Books’ forthcoming issue will feature ‘The “WitchHunters”’ [20] by Tim Weiner, in which he looks at three new books by some of the ‘emeriti of the intelligence establishment’: James Clapper, Michael Hayden and James Comey. And Zeit Online interviewed [21] media scholar Jay Rosen on ‘pressthink’ and the future of reporting.

Tech geek

The tank is definitely making a comeback. Russia is producing a limited run of the very advanced Armata family of combat vehicles, including the T-14 [22] tank, and retrofitting ‘Armarta tech’ into older designs. That technology includes an active protection system [23].

The US and NATO are looking to upgrade [24] their tanks in the face of a growing threat from Russia. It’s also seeking to develop stealth materials [25] that can mask a tank’s acoustic and infra-red signature, develop electric power systems [26] to replace gas-guzzling turbines, and integrate [27] its own active protection system, in what will be the M1-A2 SEP IV in the 2020s. Beyond that, the plan is to move on to an entirely new lightweight high-tech tank [28] with enhanced mobility and longer-range firepower in the 2030s.

A common error in Hollywood movies [29] that feature nuclear weapons is that the hero can somehow cause the warhead to self-destruct or disarm before it reaches its target. However, a physicist has developed a neutron-beam generator [30] that could potentially burn out the electronics of a nuclear warhead mid-flight, making Hollywood fiction a reality.

Two of the most transformational technologies of the future are set to be AI [31] and hypersonics. The US Naval Institute’s Proceedings magazine has a great piece [32] on how AI will change the balance of power, and Peter Layton talks [33] about ‘Our new model robot armies’ in Small Wars Journal. The South China Sea Morning Post covers [34] China’s test of its Starry Sky 2 hypersonic ‘waverider [35]’ aircraft.


Euronews pictures [36] capture the border regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia 10 years after the Russia–Georgia war.

Space.com [37] allows you to see the immensity of California’s wildfires from space.

This UN documentary [38] captures the historic struggles of Japan’s indigenous people, the Ainu, and their determination to conserve their culture and identity. [7:40]

This week marked the 73rd anniversary of the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. National Geographic [39] provides a short video. [2:54]


ABC’s Nightlife [40] looks at the conditions for the women held in Queensland prisons in the late 1880s. [13:15]

The latest Smart Women, Smart Power podcast [41] discusses the fallout from the NATO and Helsinki summits, the future of US–Europe relations and the role young people are playing. [32:03]

On episode 10 [42] of Power Vertical, Brian Whitmore chats to Dr Alina Polyakova from the Brookings Institution and Donald N. Jensen from the Center for European Policy Analysis about AI and its impact on cyberattacks, fake news, and weaponised big data. [55:00]


Canberra, 13 August, 6–7 pm, ANU Strategic and Defence Studies Centre War Studies Series: ‘The Kibeho Massacre, 1995—what happened and why?’ More info here [43].

Canberra, 13 August, 6–7 pm, ANU Cultures Learning Community: ‘Culture and conflict: North and South Korea’. Register here [44].

Melbourne, 13 August, 6–7.30 pm, Australian Institute of International Affairs: ‘Turkey at the crossroads’. Information and tickets here [45].

Article printed from The Strategist: https://www.aspistrategist.org.au

URL to article: https://www.aspistrategist.org.au/aspi-suggests-97/

URLs in this post:

[1] tweet: https://twitter.com/CanadaFP/status/1025383326960549889

[2] Vox: https://www.vox.com/2018/8/8/17665182/saudi-arabia-canada-tweet-fight-explained-samar-badawi

[3] Al-Jazeera: https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/saudi-arabia-canada-send-message-analysts-180808203344288.html

[4] The Wall Street Journal: https://www.wsj.com/articles/saudi-arabia-orders-its-fund-managers-to-dump-canadian-assets-in-diplomatic-feud-1533753039

[5] New Statesman: https://www.newstatesman.com/world/middle-east/2018/08/how-islamic-state-caliphate-was-lost

[6] the New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/04/world/asia/islamic-state-prisoners-afghanistan.html

[7] War on the Rocks: https://warontherocks.com/2018/08/the-urgency-of-idlib-the-impending-regime-offensive-and-the-delicate-balance-in-syrias-northwest/

[8] overtake: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/aug/08/huge-increase-in-chinese-aid-pledged-to-pacific

[9] the Pacific Aid Map: https://pacificaidmap.lowyinstitute.org/

[10] Alexandre Dayant and Jonathan Pryke: https://www.aspistrategist.org.au/pivoting-to-the-pacific/

[11] article: https://www.aspistrategist.org.au/chinas-south-pacific-aid-afraid/

[12] the Australian Institute of International Affairs: https://www.internationalaffairs.org.au/australianoutlook/chinese-aid-to-the-pacific-what-are-the-concerns/

[13] Financial Review: https://www.afr.com/business/energy/gas/chinese-tariffs-on-us-lng-could-give-legup-to-australia-20180805-h13kg7

[14] timeline: https://www.businessinsider.com.au/trump-tariffs-china-trade-war-chinese-goods-2018-8?r=US&IR=T

[15] research: https://static1.squarespace.com/static/566ef8b4d8af107232d5358a/t/5b631c9b2b6a2845024e4ff5/1533222111619/Dispatched+Final-2.pdf

[16] claims: https://www.ft.com/content/1b4e6d78-9973-11e8-9702-5946bae86e6d

[17] study: http://www.pnas.org/content/pnas/early/2018/07/31/1810141115.full.pdf

[18] suggests: http://www.stockholmresilience.org/research/research-news/2018-08-06-planet-at-risk-of-heading-towards-hothouse-earth-state.html

[19] Ariana A. Berengaut: https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/democratic-republic-congo/2018-08-06/how-congo-beat-last-ebola-outbreak?cid=int-lea&pgtype=hpg

[20] ‘The “WitchHunters”’: https://www.nybooks.com/articles/2018/08/16/comey-hayden-clapper-witch-hunters/

[21] interviewed: https://www.zeit.de/kultur/2018-08/jay-rosen-washington-post-jeff-bezos-donald-trump-journalism-right-wing-populism

[22] T-14: https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/tank-wars-russias-armata-t-14-tank-vs-americas-m-1-abrams-who-wins-25501

[23] active protection system: https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/russias-new-armata-t-14-tank-has-secret-weapon-27797

[24] upgrade: https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/army-needs-upgrade-its-tanks-28237

[25] stealth materials: https://www.defenseone.com/ideas/2018/08/stealthier-tanks/150276/

[26] electric power systems: http://www.alphr.com/cars/1007425/the-us-army-has-its-sights-set-on-all-electric-tanks

[27] integrate: https://www.businessinsider.com.au/army-tanks-active-protection-systems-great-power-war-2018-2?r=US&IR=T

[28] high-tech tank: https://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/the-us-army-has-big-plans-new-super-tank-lasers-included-19045

[29] common error in Hollywood movies: https://www.popularmechanics.com/culture/movies/a19600925/hollywood-nuclear-weapons/

[30] neutron-beam generator: https://breakingdefense.com/2018/08/detect-nukes-in-flight-with-electron-beam-technology/

[31] AI: https://taskandpurpose.com/ai-weapons-artificial-intelligence/?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=ebb%208/7/18&utm_term=Editorial%20-%20Early%20Bird%20Brief

[32] piece: https://www.usni.org/magazines/proceedings/2018-08/ai-will-change-balance-power

[33] talks: http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/our-new-model-robot-armies

[34] covers: https://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2158524/chinas-hypersonic-aircraft-starry-sky-2-could-be-used

[35] waverider: https://qz.com/1350327/china-tested-a-hypersonic-weapon-the-us-cant-defend-against/?utm_source=qzfb

[36] pictures: http://www.euronews.com/2018/08/06/in-pictures-russia-georgia-border-10-years-after-conflict

[37] Space.com: https://www.space.com/41403-california-wildfires-2018-photos-from-space.html

[38] This UN documentary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ZtY-lhE81k

[39] National Geographic: https://www.nationalgeographic.com.au/videos/hiroshima-the-next-day/the-hiroshima-atomic-bomb-5256.aspx

[40] ABC’s Nightlife: http://www.abc.net.au/radio/programs/nightlife/prisons/10083148

[41] podcast: https://soundcloud.com/csis-57169780/nato-europe-and-the-us-whats-next

[42] episode 10: https://www.cepa.org/the-art-of-the-fake

[43] here: http://sdsc.bellschool.anu.edu.au/news-events/events/6242/kibeho-massacre-1995-what-happened-and-why

[44] here: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/culture-and-conflict-north-and-south-korea-tickets-48583517609

[45] here: https://aiiavic.tidyhq.com/public/schedule/events/20227-turkey-at-the-crossroads

Copyright © 2024 The Strategist. All rights reserved.