ASPI suggests
11 Mar 2016| and


Marking International Women’s Day this week The Economist released their annual glass-ceiling index, which seeks to show where women have the ‘best chances of equal treatment at work’. The interactive index reveals that Australia still has quite a way to go, receiving 46.7 points out of a possible 100—below the OECD average and in the bottom third of countries assessed for the feature. South Korea and Japan are the only other Asia–Pacific nations in the index, receiving the second and third lowest rankings respectively, thanks to low levels of tertiary education, workplace participation and seniority among females when compared with their male counterparts. Read more about the glass-ceiling index here.

Sticking with #IWD2016, Foreign Policy has pulled together a helpful list of 7 Rules for Avoiding All-Male Panels—a phenomenon with its own lively Twitter hashtag and Tumblr awareness-raising/shaming effort. This piece on Sweden’s Foreign Minister (and the country’s feminist foreign policy) came out in The New Yorker near on a year ago, but remains a worthwhile read. The feminist foreign policy tag is also attached to this Foreign Affairs review of a new book out on Hillary Rodham Clinton’s efforts advocating for women during her stint as Secretary of State. War is Boring checks in on the Pentagon’s pilot program to protect the fertility of their soldiers, through both pre-deployment cryogenic freezing of eggs and sperm and the development of gender-appropriate combat gear. Hats off to our friends at The Interpreter for their all-star, all-female line-up on Tuesday (including two of our former ASPI colleagues). Finally, we commend to you Foreign Policy Interrupted, which puts in a stellar effort to promote women’s voices in a professional landscape dominated by men. Sign up for their cracking weekly newsletter.

Today marks the 5th anniversary of the magnitude 9.0 earthquake in Japan’s Tohoku region that triggered an enormous tsunami and the nuclear meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. ABC’s Mark Willacy offers a touching first-person account and photo essay of the ongoing hunt for the 2,572 victims who remain missing half a decade later, while this series at The Japan Times looks at the human and economic impacts of the triple disaster. The Guardian, too, profiles Fukushima survivors and business owners. East Asia Forum offers some insightful analysis in these two pieces, which detail Japan’s struggle to come to terms with the magnitude of the disaster which killed 20,000 in mere minutes. And finally, The Wall Street Journal offers some insights into the long road ahead when it comes to decommissioning the nuclear plant, with a projected end date of 2061. The Atlantic has a collection of photos of the disaster, relief effort and ongoing recovery.

Across two pieces in The New York Review of Books, Mark Lilla explores France’s battles with Islamic extremism. His first, an essay, examines France’s social and political maladies as the country seeks to meet its recent challenges. In his second he reflects on four recently published books on terror, integration and Islamophobia in the land of liberté, égalité and fraternité.

As the US presidential race rolls on, top notch analysis of the superpower’s politics, policy and philosophy has continued to proliferate across a number of forums. It’d be hard to ignore Jeffrey Goldberg’s exhaustive profile for The Atlantic of President Obama and the set of foreign policy principles that’ve come to be known as the Obama Doctrine. Also worth a read is Anthony Cordesman’s piece at CSIS which breaks down Goldberg’s take on the Obama Doctrine into key strategic areas; David Frum’s piece, also at The Atlantic, which discusses the extent of Obama’s disappointment in his global counterparts, and this effort at The New York Times which underscores the President’s frustration with free riding allies in Europe and the Persian Gulf. And because it wouldn’t be Suggests without a Trump pick, check out this list of five world leaders who would benefit from the policies of President Drumpf—and pay particular attention to The Donald’s decision to give Kim Jong-un props for ‘ruthlessly consolidating his leadership’.


Dave McRae from the University of Melbourne continues his excellent podcast series Talking Indonesia with an interview with Dr Matthew Wai-Poi, a former World Bank economist. This week’s installment looks at Indonesia’s record-breaking inequality levels, and how Jokowi’s policies approaches differ from those of his predecessor, SBY. Have a listen here (30 mins).

CSIS’ Ritu Sharma and World Faith’s Grace Patterson feature in this week’s Smart Women, Smart Power podcast, which focuses on the rise of religious extremism in young people, and surveys the global efforts to steer them away from that path. It’s a heavy topic, but for CT wonks in particular, it’s definitely worth a listen (33 mins).


VICE News this week sat down with Victor Cha to discuss the state of the Kim regime in the DPRK and the the threat that the hermit kingdom poses in the wake of its 2016 nuclear testing. Check out the interview here (13 mins), along with VICE’s excellent line-up of background reading on North Korea.

Also this week we’ve got two offerings from the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington DC. Late last week, they hosted the 22nd CSIS–JIIA US–Japan Security Seminar to survey the state of what is an increasingly mature and global alliance (1 hour 56 mins). And this week CSIS held a half-day Defense360 conference on the latest US defence budget request and strategic priorities (1 hour 26 mins).


Melbourne: In advance of President Obama’s historic visit to Havana this month, the Victorian branch of the Australian Institute of International Affairs will host Cuba’s Ambassador to Australia, H.E. Mr Jose Manuel Galego Montano, to consider the Caribbean nation’s relationship with the US, it’s integration into the global economy and the potential of Cuba–Australia relations. Mark your diaries for Thursday 17 March.

Canberra: In a public lecture at ANU’s Coral Bell School on 21 March, Bradley Thayer of the University of Iceland will make a case to expand the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty to include China, in an effort to encourage Russia’s compliance with the Treaty, and to reduce the likelihood of an arms race in the Asia–Pacific. Register here.