ASPI suggests
9 Jun 2017| and

Image courtesy of Flickr user State Library of Queensland.

A joint investigation run by Four Corners and Fairfax into Chinese influence-buying in Australia aired on Monday night. It was a cracker, and if you missed it then we commend both the Four Corners episode (47 mins), as well as the interactive two-parter over at Fairfax: soft-power and hard-power. Concern about the degree to which Beijing wields influence in Australia also came up in James Clapper’s remarks and Q&A to the National Press Club on Wednesday—check out the transcript here.

Some quick bites on James Comey’s testimony. First up, two pieces from Benjamin Wittes of Lawfare—one on Comey’s written testimony, and one after the his appearance had wrapped up. Second, two efforts from The Atlantic—David Frum reckons Comey vanquished five lines of defence, and Amy Zegart on the era of ‘normalized deviance’. Third, some history for ya! And finally, Lawfare’s swelling list of Trump–Russia resources.

After a longread for your weekend? This personal reflection over at Buzzfeed looks at the Philippines’ political history and tries to reconcile the country’s devout Catholicism with the support shown for its barbarous and bellicose leader.

Let’s focus on two stellar research efforts this week. The first, which came out a few months ago but is worth re-upping, is from the CSIS Commission on Countering Violent Extremism. The report offers eight core policy recommendations to address CVE efforts predominantly in the US, but is also just as applicable internationally. The second is Nick Bisley’s fresh addition to ANU’s Centre of Gravity essay series, Integrated Asia: Australia’s Dangerous New Strategic Geography. Bisley dives into Asia’s shifting security order and considers where Australia should direct its efforts in an environment that’s less than sympathetic to Canberra’s interests.

And finally, at the time of writing, results from the UK’s general election are still coming in. But that doesn’t mean that we haven’t been able to enjoy some of the day’s spoils. We couldn’t go past some of the finer Tweets referencing ‘the naughtiest thing Theresa May has ever done,’ but nothing thus far has rivalled Lord Buckethead, a competitor for May’s constituency of Maidenhead. With a cool 249 votes under his…bucket…we’re confident the future holds great things for this budding politician. And finally, the hashtag #DogsatPollingStations has been trending on Twitter though unfortunately there has been no sign of a Dachshund named Colin. It’s great to see the pups exercising their democratic rights, voting for more treats and walks for good-boys nationwide.


For an authoritative voice on all things Trump, Comey and Russia, check out this timely special edition of Lawfare’s ‘Rational Security’ podcast (48 mins). As the testimony rolls onwards and upwards, you’re going to need the background…

It’s from a few weeks back, but if after the enlightening episode of 4 Corners this week you’re wondering about other parts of the world that China might be extending its economic tendrils, look no further than this fascinating podcast from the University of Melbourne. Over the 35 minute episode, Dr Lauren Johnston weighs up the pros and cons of Chinese investment in the Africa, and how it might impact on the Sino–African political relationship.


If you haven’t come across the CrashCourse YouTube channel yet, allow us to introduce you. Offering short lessons on subjects from sociology to film history to mythology, with each episode you’ll find yourself becoming an expert on topics you hadn’t considered before. While we at The Strategist find it hard to go past the World History series, this week’s Computer Science episode (13 mins) is dedicated to Alan Turing, whose work ranged from breaking Nazi codes in WWII, to what we now call Artificial Intelligence.


Sydney: The Lowy Institute’s Owen Harries Lecture is set to be delivered early next week by Jake Sullivan, a former senior advisor to Hillary Clinton. And if you can’t get along, Jake is hitting the road to pop up in Melbourne and Canberra on the 15th and 19th respectively.

Canberra: Middle East heavyweight and former policy advisor to the US Forces in Iraq Emma Sky will be stopping into the nation’s capital to give her thoughts on the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and whether or not the botched war has contributed to the end of Pax Americana. Mark your calendars for 21 June, and register here.