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ASPI suggests

Posted By and on July 3, 2015 @ 18:27

U.S. Army soldiers from Battle Company, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment (Airborne), 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team talk at their base in Korengal Valley, Kunar Province, East Afghanistan on Oct. 15, 2007.This week's round-up of articles, videos, podcasts and events starts now.

How can we promote a closer US–India relationship without triggering either Chinese concerns about containment or Indian concerns about entrapment? For more on what could be an interesting strategic triangle between the US, India and China, read this NBR interview with Brookings' Shivshankar Menon. In particular, his discussion of relationship building with India and the challenges of its 'strategic autonomy' holds valuable insights for Australian thinkers and policymakers looking north.

Former Foreign Minister Gareth Evans falls back on the familiar AA prayer: 'God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.' Only this time, he's talking about Australia's dealings in the South China Sea, calling for 'wise leaders [to] focus on cooperative diplomatic solutions, playing military cards to the minimum extent possible – and perhaps repeating to themselves the AA serenity prayer before creating expectations that they cannot meet.'

With the potential 'Grexit' dominating headlines across the world this week as things go from bad to worse for the EU nation, The Economist gives an accurate run-down of the implications of Greece's ejection from the European Union. What's the cure? According to The Economist, a new prime minister is a good place to start. For a geopolitical take on the Grexit, be sure to check out Rhys Merrett's piece here on The Strategist. And for what Grexit means for Germany's ability to tackle security issues like the Ukraine crisis or terrorist attacks, read Judy Dempsey over on Carnegie Endowment.

What role might Pope Francis play on climate change and in the agenda of the upcoming US presidential election? Michelle Parker at AIIA discusses the public opinion polls and relating to the Papal Encyclical on climate change, and how the numbers might encourage a change in rhetoric when it comes to the environment for GOP candidates.

In his book, After the Blast, published last month, Australian Army officer Garth Callender recalls the moment he came to after being blown up by an IED in Iraq in October 2004:
On the second attempt to yell, I let out a whimper and, though very winded, managed to keep drawing painful breaths after that. I fumbled through the blood and damaged flesh that constituted my eyebrows and the bridge of my nose, and for a second was able to prise open my eyes and look down at the dusty floor of the turret. Although I was no good to anyone, I started shouting at my gunner to get the radios working. Unbeknown to us, the blast had tripped the circuit-breakers in the vehicle, so we had no radio, no power, nothing.

What followed was a long and intense recovery lasting 18 months after which Garth deployed back to Iraq in 2006 and, determined to prevent more IED attacks, he volunteered for Afghanistan in 2009 to lead a weapons intelligence team. His book, which captures his story and struggles, is available from Penguin Books or major retailers. Watch a brief interview with Garth here (3mins).

Curious which US presidential candidate best reflects your personal stances on issues ranging from fracking to foreign policy? Wonder no more; isidewith.com has released a comprehensive quiz where you can decide your stance on each issue and find out which candidate you most align with.


Indonesianists, Dave McRae of the University of Melbourne's Asia Institute recently interviewed Philips Vermonte of CSIS Jakarta on the future of Indonesian politics. Touching on CSIS' census of Indonesia's four largest political parties, this podcast is the first in McRae's Talking Indonesia series (25 mins).


A 300-mile conversation about war and why you would miss it. That's the premise of The Last Patrol by Sebastian Junger, filmmaker of Restrepo and Korengal. Junger, three others and a faithful hound document (yes, the dog has a GoPro) their journey along the railroad from DC heading north in memory of Restrepo co-producer Tim Hetherington, killed in Libya in 2011. Watch the trailer here and interview with Junger and the hikers here. And Junger's TED talk in 2014 on why veterans miss war.

'We've been sending forces to the Middle East—and achieving our strategic objectives in the Middle East, I would say—by drawing on the capabilities we've developed essentially for Defence of Australia'. That quote comes from Hugh White in conversation with former Minister for Defence Robert Hill about the upcoming Defence White Paper 2015 and Australia's ties with Indonesia (7mins).


Canberra: CSIS's Michael Green will be in the capital on Wednesday 15 July to discuss whether the US has an Asia strategy. Held at the ANU's Hedley Bull Centre, you can register here.

The Australian Institute of International Affairs (AIIA) and Bond University are holding the equivalent of a foreign affairs love-in, the Australian Diplomacy Today Symposium which includes forums covering the UNSC, humanitarian aid, civil–military relations and more. It's on Friday 28 August at the ANU, and for the full program, see here.

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URL to article: https://www.aspistrategist.org.au/aspi-suggests-30jun/

[1] Image: http://www.aspistrategist.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/6014434421_5057232f64_z.jpg

[2] this NBR interview with Brookings' Shivshankar Menon: http://www.nbr.org/research/activity.aspx?id=582

[3] he's talking about Australia's dealings in the South China Sea: http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/south-china-sea-territorial-claims-unclos-by-gareth-evans-2015-06

[4] implications of Greece's ejection: http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21656662-whatever-its-outcome-greek-crisis-will-change-eu-ever-europes-future-greeces

[5] Rhys Merrett's piece : http://www.aspistrategist.org.au/the-grinding-geopolitics-of-a-grexit/

[6] Judy Dempsey over on Carnegie Endowment: http://carnegieeurope.eu/strategiceurope/?fa=60523&mkt_tok=3RkMMJWWfF9wsRojsqrOZKXonjHpfsX66OUvXaCg38431UFwdcjKPmjr1YYHTMp0aPyQAgobGp5I5FEIQ7XYTLB2t60MWA%3D%3D

[7] upcoming US presidential election: http://www.internationalaffairs.org.au/australian_outlook/pope-francis-shifting-the-politics-of-climate-change-in-the-u-s/

[8] After the Blast: http://www.penguin.com.au/products/9781863957380/after-blast-australian-officer-iraq-and-afghanistan

[9] blown up by an IED in Iraq: http://www.smh.com.au/good-weekend/the-face-of-recovery-20150626-ghwcsm

[10] here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/video/news/video-1196265/Garth-Callender-surviving-road-bomb-attack-Iraq.html

[11] comprehensive quiz: http://www.isidewith.com/political-quiz

[12] this podcast is the first in McRae's Talking Indonesia series: http://indonesiaatmelbourne.unimelb.edu.au/talking-indonesia-indonesias-political-parties-and-generational-change/

[13] trailer here: http://www.hbo.com/documentaries/the-last-patrol/video/trailer.html?autoplay=true

[14] Junger and the hikers here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KwOAVSprv64

[15] why veterans miss war: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TGZMSmcuiXM

[16] Hugh White in conversation with former Minister for Defence Robert Hill: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=25RZj0FLodQ&feature=youtu.be

[17] here: http://www.internationalaffairs.org.au/australian_outlook/saudi-arabias-unlikely-flirtation-with-russia-and-israel/

[18] the Australian Diplomacy Today Symposium: http://www.internationalaffairs.org.au/australian-diplomacy-today-symposium/