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ASPI suggests

Posted By , and on November 23, 2018 @ 14:58

The world

Following the arrest of former Interpol head Meng Hongwei, the organisation appointed a new president, South Korean Kim Jong-yang. Lindsey Snell, for The Daily Beast, explains how authoritarian countries use Interpol to persecute critics, and read Eli Lake’s op-ed to understand why choosing the Russian candidate Alexander Prokopchuk would have weakened Interpol’s legitimacy.

Stephen Chen explains how China has significantly advanced its efforts to catch up with the West’s military capabilities by purchasing software used by NATO, and this DW analysis shows there might be beneficiaries of the trade war between the US and China after all. Meanwhile, a Reuters interview with former German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has raised some eyebrows because he advocates closer cooperation with China and pushes back against banning Chinese firms from mobile networks. And the New York Times presents part 1 of a five-part series of long investigative pieces on China’s foreign and domestic policies.

APEC has, for the first time, failed to deliver a joint communiqué—due to tensions between the US and China over trade, according to the New York Times. Business Insider explains how APEC managed to divide the US and China even more. The Council on Foreign Relations makes an interesting point, highlighting the absence of India—Asia’s third largest economy and the second largest in terms of population—from the summit.

The fallout from the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi continues, with The Middle East Eye following up on rumours that the US administration gave advice to the Saudi king and crown prince on how to handle the situation and protect themselves. The Guardian’s Martin Chulov looks at one of the alleged steps—blaming it on others—and recaps what we know so far. Meanwhile, the Sydney Morning Herald reports on a woman who claimed earlier this year that she was married to Khashoggi, and the MIT Technology Review shows that online censorship in Saudi Arabia increased sharply following the murder. Handelsblatt has the details on Germany’s complete halt of arms exports to the kingdom.

Speaking of Saudi Arabia, the country has conducted well over 16,000 air raids on targets throughout Yemen, a third of which were non-military. See this interactive collection of material from Al Jazeera for the facts and figures. The Hill claims there may be room for collaboration between Iran and the US over their strategies in Yemen, which could set a precedent for future cooperation. Data compiled by Save the Children has found that anywhere between 60,000 and 109,000 children have died from acute severe malnutrition in the three-year-long Yemeni conflict. The Washington Post says enough is enough and offers up the road to peace.

Emails are yet again in the news in the US—not the ones sent by Hillary Clinton, but by Ivanka Trump, who used private email accounts for government business. The Washington Post has all the details. In the wake of CNN’s Jim Acosta’s barring from the White House, Slate shares insights into controversial new rules for White House press conferences and briefings.

The European Eye on Radicalization has a fascinating interview with Dr John Horgan, leading expert in the psychology of terrorism, on religious converts, countering violent extremism and deradicalisation, and the Center for Strategic and International Studies has you covered on the evolution of the terrorist threat in this new report.

Finally, this long Wilson Quarterly piece by Anne Applebaum dives deep into the soul of NATO and explores how and why it may need to change.

Tech geek

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has an interesting article on how emerging technologies with military applications could upend the balance of power, potentially leading to nuclear war. The technologies considered include strategic cyberattack, hypersonics and advanced missile defence capabilities.

Dmitry Stefanovich of the Russian International Affairs Council has released a presentation on emerging prompt-strike capabilities with a focus on hypersonics.

With these items about new types of military power in mind, it’s useful to consider where ‘legacy’ approaches to war are going. It’s sobering that the US Navy is facing serious risks in sustaining an adequate fleet size in the coming 2020 budget. The more limited funding will also affect the US’s ability to modernise and keep up with new technologies. That raises the question of whether we’re witnessing a transition moment in military power.

Todd Harrison from the Center for Strategic and International Studies has published a great analysis on the cost of the proposed US space force. It ranges from US$11.3 billion to US$21.5 billion for three different variants: a US space corps within the US Air Force; a ‘space force lite’; and a ‘space force heavy’, which includes missile defence architecture.

Defence Connect also has a great piece on the US space force (with some comment from tech geek on the issue) and how Australia can play a role. With that in mind, Defence Connect has established a space blog, Space Connect, covering the broad range of Australian space developments, including commercial space.

This week in history

The 22nd of November marked the 55th anniversary of the assassination of US president John F. Kennedy. Despite Lee Harvey Oswald’s arrest for the murder, conspiracy theories still abound, ranging from the Umbrella Man to Ted Cruz’s father and beyond. See this Washington Post article on how the assassination affected US politics.


Ever wondered where you fit on the populist scale? Find out here in this short quiz by the Guardian.

Less than 25 kilometres of water separates Africa from Spain, the final destination of countless migrants fleeing violence and/or poverty. Al Jazeera’s photo series shows the conditions many of these individuals must face before making the final journey across the Mediterranean.


Episode 8 of ASPI’s Policy, Guns and Money brings you the latest on the Manus Island naval base, misinformation about terrorism and what’s happening with Brexit. [31:59]

In a recent episode of Please Explain, Jacqueline Maley, Miki Perkins, Georgina Dent and Sally Rugg give a recap of the recent sexual harassment allegations and #MeToo moments in NSW politics. [34:25; from 25:50 the podcast talks about the Bourke Street attack]


Melbourne, 26 November, 1–2 pm, La Trobe University: ‘Deportation of Rohingya people and the ICC’s jurisdiction over Myanmar’. Free registration.

Port Hedland, 27 November, 6.30–8.30 pm, ANU: ‘The universe and the future of space’ with Dr Brad Tucker. Register here.

Canberra, 29 November, 9 am – 5 pm, ANU: ‘The 10 year rollercoaster of global health equity: power, progress and pitfalls’. More information here.

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URL to article: https://www.aspistrategist.org.au/aspi-suggests-112/

[1] Lindsey Snell: https://www.thedailybeast.com/interpol-helps-dictators-hunt-down-dissidentsand-me

[2] op-ed: https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2018-11-20/interpol-russian-leadership-would-be-a-disaster

[3] Stephen Chen: https://www.scmp.com/news/china/military/article/2173593/china-matches-nato-information-arms-race-deal-ferrari-war-room

[4] analysis: https://www.dw.com/en/no-winners-in-us-china-trade-spat-says-who/a-46372019

[5] interview: https://uk.reuters.com/article/us-germany-china-schroeder/germanys-schroeder-warns-against-demonizing-china-idUKKCN1NL1UM

[6] New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/11/18/world/asia/china-rules.html

[7] New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/18/world/asia/apec-us-china-trade-war-joint-statement.html

[8] Business Insider: https://www.businessinsider.com.au/apec-2018-failure-us-china-xi-jinping-mike-pence-tension-2018-11

[9] Council on Foreign Relations: https://www.cfr.org/article/apec-2018-missing-major-asian-economy

[10] The Middle East Eye: https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/saudis-using-pompeos-plan-shield-leadership-khashoggi-fallout-says-source-1684431379

[11] Martin Chulov: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/nov/15/saudi-prosecutor-seeks-death-penalty-in-jamal-khashoggi-case

[12] Sydney Morning Herald: https://www.smh.com.au/world/middle-east/woman-says-she-was-quietly-married-to-khashoggi-20181117-p50gnl.html

[13] MIT Technology Review: https://www.technologyreview.com/s/612448/online-censorship-saudi-arabia-khashoggi/

[14] Handelsblatt: https://global.handelsblatt.com/politics/germany-bans-arms-exports-saudi-arabia-khashoggi-982492

[15] Al Jazeera: https://interactive.aljazeera.com/aje/2018/Saudi-Arabia-air-raids-on-Yemen/index.html

[16] The Hill: https://thehill.com/opinion/international/417497-a-us-iran-strategy-begins-in-yemen

[17] Save the Children: https://www.savethechildren.org/us/about-us/media-and-news/2018-press-releases/yemen-85000-children-may-have-died-from-starvation

[18] Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/democracy-post/wp/2018/11/21/enough-is-enough-end-the-war-in-yemen/?utm_term=.47c4e22adb50

[19] details: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/ivanka-trump-used-a-personal-email-account-to-send-hundreds-of-emails-about-government-business-last-year/2018/11/19/6515d1e0-e7a1-11e8-a939-9469f1166f9d_story.html?utm_term=.451172beb202

[20] Slate: https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/11/white-house-cnn-jim-acosta-first-amendment-trump.html

[21] interview: https://eeradicalization.com/an-interview-with-dr-john-horgan-terrorism-psychology-and-major-issues-in-the-field/

[22] this new report: https://csis-prod.s3.amazonaws.com/s3fs-public/publication/Jones_EvolvingTerroristThreat_FULL_WEB.pdf?F4jhyhPqySTHHFUHSwwfAwq8MspjnJ4q

[23] Wilson Quarterly piece: https://wilsonquarterly.com/quarterly/the-fate-of-the-international-order/the-black-hole-at-the-heart-of-nato/

[24] article: https://thebulletin.org/2018/11/will-disruptive-technology-cause-nuclear-war/?utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=Twitter%20Post&utm_campaign=DisruptiveTechNuclearWar

[25] presentation: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1yUDOi1S3YeRomJ40-HH805rUXJyXDywc/view

[26] risks: https://www.defensenews.com/naval/2018/11/16/will-looming-budget-cuts-bust-up-the-navys-plans-for-an-enormous-fleet/?utm_campaign=Socialflow+DFN&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com

[27] budget: https://www.defensenews.com/pentagon/2018/10/26/its-official-dod-told-to-take-cut-with-fy20-budget/

[28] analysis: https://www.csis.org/analysis/how-much-will-space-force-cost

[29] piece: https://www.defenceconnect.com.au/key-enablers/3196-the-ultimate-high-ground-securing-space-and-australia-s-potential-in-it

[30] blog: https://www.spaceconnectonline.com.au/

[31] Space Connect: https://twitter.com/SpaceConnectHQ

[32] assassination: https://www.ap.org/explore/jfk-assassination/

[33] Umbrella Man: https://www.nytimes.com/video/opinion/100000001183275/the-umbrella-man.html

[34] Ted Cruz’s father: https://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/entry/ted-cruz-jfk-files_us_59f20e61e4b07fdc5fbcaf6e

[35] beyond: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/retropolis/wp/2017/10/24/jfk-assassination-conspiracy-theories-the-grassy-knoll-umbrella-man-lbj-and-ted-cruzs-dad/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.8cf2ba891d97

[36] Washington Post: https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/how-jfks-assassination-changed-american-politics

[37] Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/world/ng-interactive/2018/nov/21/how-populist-are-you-quiz

[38] Al Jazeera’s photo series: https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/inpictures/forest-sheltering-african-migrants-morocco-181119112954378.html

[39] Policy, Guns and Money: https://www.aspi.org.au/news/policy-guns-money-episode-8

[40] Please Explain: https://www.smh.com.au/national/please-explain-the-metoo-movement-hits-australian-powerbrokers-20181113-p50fok.html

[41] Free registration: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/deportation-of-rohingya-people-the-iccs-jurisdiction-over-myanmar-tickets-51801008210?aff=ebdssbdestsearch

[42] here: http://www.anu.edu.au/events/the-universe-and-the-future-of-space-port-hedland-wa

[43] here: http://regnet.anu.edu.au/news-events/events/7300/10-year-rollercoaster-global-health-equity-power-progress-pitfalls