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Lowy Institute: Analysis





These papers address broader or longer term issues facing Australia or the international community. They are designed to deepen the understanding of the public and the policy community about important international developments.
Lines Blurred: Chinese Community Organisations in Australia, November 2021. This report examines the impact of Australia’s foreign interference debate and declining relationship with China on Chinese-Australians and Chinese community organisations in Australia. Existing research has established the connections between some Chinese community organisations in Australia and the Chinese Communist Party’s united front, a sprawling network of groups and individuals that aims to shape discourse and decision-making at home and abroad in Beijing’s favour.[1] Rather than revisit the activities of the united front, this report seeks to better understand Chinese community organisations in Australia, the way they relate to China, and how they have reacted to Australia’s increasingly intense national debate about China...

China, Climate Politics and COP26, October 2021. China is the world’s largest emitter of carbon dioxide by volume, responsible for more than a quarter of the world’s overall greenhouse gas emissions. The country is expected to come under intense scrutiny at the UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) summit in November 2021 over its commitments to reduce these. Significantly, China’s President Xi Jinping has said his country will aim for its emissions to reach their highest point before 2030 and for carbon neutrality to be achieved by 2060. He also pledged the country will cease building coal-fired power overseas. Yet Beijing is hedging. China’s 2030 peak-year pledge is widely regarded as a target that could be brought forward; domestic coal plants are still being built; and a global warming limit of 1.5°C is still not in reach. While the country is known to “under-promise and over-deliver”, the lack of ambition in the near term is a response to domestic threats of social instability and economic stagnation, and a more challenging global macro and geopolitical environment. These pose major challenges for China’s energy transition...

Translating Tension: Chinese-Language Media in Australia, September 2021. This report is one of the first to provide insight into the published content of Chinese-language media organisations in Australia. It examines the production and representation of news stories covering bilateral tensions between Australia and China during 2020, the perceived links between Chinese-language media and the Chinese Communist Party, and the potential of Chinese-language media to shape the views of Chinese-Australian communities. Based on content analysis of more than 500 articles across three Chinese-language news outlets and interviews with senior media professionals, this report presents three major findings. First, Chinese-language media outlets in Australia are more likely to implicitly support Australian government policy than Chinese government policy when reporting on Australia–China tensions, despite published content often being moderated to remove direct criticism of China and the Chinese government. Second, the same media organisations predominantly translate and reproduce news articles sourced from Australian outlets, rather than producing original content...

Australia and the Growing Reach of China’s Military, August 2021. As the international scope of China’s economic interests has expanded over time, China’s strategic horizons have broadened correspondingly, and so have its military capabilities. China is engaged in the largest and most rapid expansion of maritime and aerospace power in generations. Based on its scope, scale, and the specific capabilities being developed, this buildup appears to be designed to, first, threaten the United States with ejection from the western Pacific, and then to achieve dominance in the Indo-Pacific. Assuming ongoing US involvement and support, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is unlikely to be able to seriously threaten the environment in Australia’s immediate region, nor Australia’s sovereignty, in the immediate future. Absent assistance from allies and partners, China already possesses the capability to strike Australia from existing bases with bomber aircraft and long-range missiles. The expected introduction of additional PLA air and naval capabilities over time will worsen this asymmetry...

Jagged Sphere: China’s Quest for Infrastructure and Influence in Mainland Southeast Asia, June 2021. Mainland Southeast Asia is a region characterised by a vast asymmetry, between the state destined to become the world’s largest economy — China — and three of the world’s Least Developed Countries (LDCs). This means the region risks being drawn into a Chinese sphere of influence. The connective infrastructure being developed across China’s borders and traversing mainland Southeast Asia has the potential to reshape strategic geography, as well as the regional economic landscape. Closely tied to state interests, China’s investment is carving out new transport routes to the sea — in the form of road, rail, and waterways — and establishing new nodes of control in the form of Special Economic Zones (SEZs). This paper assesses progress on these lines and nodes and finds a mixed picture. While the weaker governance of Laos and Myanmar means they are attracted to SEZs and vulnerable to Chinese investment and erosion of sovereignty, transport corridors are progressing more slowly...

Countering China’s Adventurism Over Taiwan: A Third Way, May 2021. Faced with the possibility of another Taiwan Strait crisis, more and more observers in Washington and elsewhere are making the case for an unambiguous US commitment to defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese attack. This essay contends that the United States has options between total commitment and abandonment. There is a prudent middle way in which the United States, while reserving the right to intervene if it so chooses, focuses on helping Taiwan to defend itself while building a menu of options for deterring and punishing Beijing’s aggression without fighting.This essay first argues that the case for Taiwan’s strategic significance is often overdrawn. Any Chinese attack would be a tragedy and a crime, and the United States should make clear that such a step is unacceptable and would destroy the Chinese Communist Party’s ambitious development plans...

The Crisis After the Crisis: How Ladakh Will Shape India’s Competition With China, May 2021. In May 2020, China launched several near-simultaneous incursions across the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh, into territory hitherto controlled by India. Both sides reinforced their positions with tens of thousands of troops, engaged in a deadly skirmish, and reportedly came close to war. An agreement to disengage troops was announced in February 2021, but implementation has been halting. Regardless of how disengagement progresses, the crisis poses significant challenges for India’s long-term strategic competition with China. As a result of the Ladakh crisis, India faces a new strategic reality in which China is a clear and abiding adversary. For India, the political relationship is now defined by hostility and distrust, and the LAC will remain more heavily militarised and violence-prone...

After XI: Future Scenarios for Leadership Succession in Post-XI Jinping Era, April 2021. After nearly nine years in office, Xi Jinping now stands as the overwhelmingly dominant figure in China’s political system, having gained command of the military, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) apparatus, and diplomatic and economic policymaking, all while sidelining or locking up rivals to his leadership. His drive for power, however, has destabilised elite political consensus and dismantled power-sharing norms that evolved since the 1980s. By removing de facto term limits on the office of the presidency — and thus far refusing to nominate his successor for this and his other leadership positions — Xi has solidified his own authority at the expense of the most important political reform of the last four decades: the regular and peaceful transfer of power. In doing so, he has pushed China towards a potential destabilising succession crisis, one with profound implications for the international order and global commerce...

Digital Authoritarianism, China and COVID, November 2020. The combination of retreating US leadership and the COVID-19 pandemic has emboldened China to expand and promote its tech-enabled authoritarianism as world’s best practice. The pandemic has provided a proof of concept, demonstrating to the CCP that its technology with ‘Chinese characteristics’ works, and that surveillance on this scale and in an emergency is feasible and effective. With the CCP’s digital authoritarianism flourishing at home, Chinese-engineered digital surveillance and tracking systems are now being exported around the globe in line with China’s Cyber Superpower Strategy. China is attempting to set new norms in digital rights, privacy, and data collection, simultaneously suppressing dissent at home and promoting the CCP’s geostrategic goals...

The Point of No Return: The 2020 Election and the Crisis of American Foreign Policy, October 2020. In his first term, President Donald Trump tried to overturn key principles of American foreign policy since the Second World War — alliances, free trade, and support for democracy and human rights. His effort was blunted by members of his own administration and Congress. But we are now at the point of no return. If Trump is re-elected, he will be vindicated and emboldened. He will surround himself with loyalists and will act without constraint. The world may be irrevocably altered — alliances may come to an end, the global economy could close, and democracy could go into rapid retreat...

2020 Asia Power Index Key Findings Report. The annual Asia Power Index — launched by the Lowy Institute in 2018 — measures resources and influence to rank the relative power of states in Asia. The project maps out the existing distribution of power as it stands today, and tracks shifts in the balance of power over time. The Index ranks 26 countries and territories in terms of their capacity to shape their external environment — its scope reaching as far west as Pakistan, as far north as Russia, and as far into the Pacific as Australia, New Zealand and the United States. The 2020 edition — which covers three years of data — is the most comprehensive assessment of the changing distribution of power in Asia so far. Among other things, it aims to sharpen the debate on the geopolitical consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic...

The Australia-India Strategic Partnership: Accelerating Security Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, September 2020. After five decades of testy or distant strategic relations, India and Australia began in the early 2000s to forge an increasingly cooperative defence and security partnership. The primary drivers were similar concerns about China’s rise, behaviour, and assertiveness, as well as converging views about the regional strategic landscape. The decreasing salience of their divergences — Cold War-era geopolitics, India’s nuclear status, strained people-to-people ties, and shallow economic and trade links — also helped create more favourable conditions. Starting slowly in 2000, and accelerating in 2006 and 2014, the Australia–India strategic relationship began to involve policy dialogues, military exercises, defence exchanges, and security arrangements of greater frequency and sophistication...

The Costs of Covid: Australia’s Economic Prospects in a Wounded World, August 2020. Australia is emerging from the pandemic sooner and at less economic cost than widely expected, but with higher unemployment and elevated debt. As the pandemic recedes, it is evident that global output and demand will recover slowly and unevenly. Major advanced economies have sharply increased government debt and their central banks have driven interest rates to rock bottom while buying big shares of additional government debt. At the same time, the US–China quarrel has become more intense, and Australia’s relationship with China has deteriorated. All these changed circumstances, much amplified and extended from their pre-pandemic appearances, limit Australia’s choices...

The World Trade Organization: An Optimistic Pre-Mortem in Hopes of Resurrection, August 2020. For decades, multilateral trade rules operated to keep government protectionist impulses in check. They provided a foundation of openness for international commerce, as well as a framework for liberalisation and integration. With the trade rules as a guarantor, capital and value chains spread across the globe. The creation of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1995 saw these rules reinforced with a feature that is nigh unheard-of in international law: binding and non-optional dispute settlement. For the first time, an international panel of legal experts would have the final say on the legality of trade measures, whether those implementing them liked it or not. On 10 December 2019, a procedural blockade by the world’s largest economy, the United States, culminated in that 24-year experiment being put on hold, perhaps permanently...

Global Order in the Shadow of the Coronavirus: China, Russia, and the West, August 2020. The coronavirus pandemic has thrown a harsh spotlight on the state of global governance. Faced with the greatest emergency since the Second World War, nations have regressed into narrow self-interest. The concept of a rules-based international order has been stripped of meaning, while liberalism faces its greatest crisis in decades. Western leaders blame today’s global disorder on an increasingly assertive China and disruptive Russia. Yet the principal threat lies closer to home. Western governments have failed to live up to the values underpinning a liberal international order — a failure compounded by inept policymaking and internal divisions. The actions of Donald Trump, in particular, have undermined transatlantic unity, damaged the moral authority of the West, and weakened global governance...

Assessing the Quad: Prospects and Limitations of Quadrilateral Cooperation for Advancing Australia’s Interests, May 2020. After a ten-year hiatus, the Australia-India-Japan-US Security Quadrilateral Dialogue — informally known as the Quad — was resurrected in 2017 with the aim to support a ‘free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific Region’. While there are important differences among the four countries on threat perceptions, military capability, strategic priority, capacity to bear the costs of potential retaliation, strategic culture and constitutional imperatives, these differences place limitations on Quadrilateral cooperation, but do not preclude it. All four countries have common interests in maintaining a stable balance of power in the region, freedom of the seas, an open rules-based economic order, to counter debt-trap diplomacy and to limit the use of coercion by a state to assert territorial claims. Under the leadership of President Xi Jinping, China has become more assertive and ambitious, vigorously pressing its claims in the East and South China seas and promoting its BRI. Concerned to preserve the existing liberal rules-based order, the Quad states have already responded by increasing their cooperation...

West Papua: The Issue That Won't Go Away for Melanesia, May 2020. West Papuan grievances with Indonesian rule, including human rights abuses, militarisation and frustrations about self-determination, have attracted increasing international attention and concern, particularly in neighbouring countries of Melanesia. The Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) comprising Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and New Caledonia’s Kanaks, is the appropriate regional grouping to promote the issue, but struggles to do anything. A rising Indonesia is gaining in influence throughout the region, countering support for West Papuan independence aims, and MSG members have become divided over West Papua. But recent flare-ups between West Papuans and security forces, combined with steady international support for the West Papuan struggle, and the emergence of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP), foreshadowed a looming regional diplomatic wrestle...

The Path of Least Resilience: Autocratic Rule and External Powers in the Middle East, March 2020. Almost a decade since the Arab uprisings promised democratic revival in the Middle East, most countries in the region remain firmly in the grip of autocrats. External powers, from Russia and China to the United States and Europe, have either helped the region’s dictators stay in power, or have shaped their policies toward the region in the expectation that such regimes will persist. In effect external powers have made a bet on authoritarian resilience, not least because it has seemed an easier way to secure their respective interests. But a closer look at two countries, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, where authoritarianism is often said to have been revived, underlines the way regimes are struggling to find a new basis for popular legitimacy. As a result, both regimes are becoming even more reliant than usual on repression, bringing with it risks of new explosions of civil unrest. External powers may have hoped they were making a safe wager on continued authoritarian rule in the Middle East. But the Saudi and Egyptian cases suggest that they have chosen instead the path of least resilience.

China’s Economic Choices: Where to from Here? December 2019. China’s economic progress is slowing. A rapidly ageing population means its demographics are becoming increasingly unfavourable, and China has reached the limits of its traditional reliance on investment and exports to fuel rapid economic growth. The key question is what comes next. Continuing with the same approach risks a further decline in the pace of growth. This would create major difficulties for its highly leveraged economy, disappoint the growth expectations of its populace, and add to the internal and external economic risks that are already evident. Deep reforms will be required just to sustain a trajectory of 5–6 per cent growth over the coming decade. Beijing’s current policy strategy, with its focus on domestic innovation and protecting the privileged status of state-owned enterprises, is unlikely to prove sufficient...

Foreign and Security Policy in the New Malaysia, November 2019. Malaysia’s historic change of government in May 2018 returned former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad to office supported by an eclectic coalition of parties and interests under the Pakatan Harapan (Alliance of Hope) banner. This raised questions about how the self-declared Malaysia Baharu (New Malaysia) would engage with the rest of the world. After the election, it was generally assumed that Malaysia’s foreign policy would largely stay the course, with some minor adjustments. This trajectory was confirmed with the September 2019 release of the Foreign Policy Framework of the New Malaysia: Change in Continuity, the country’s first major foreign policy restatement under the new government. Analysis of the Framework and other signals from Mahathir’s Pakatan Harapan government confirms that while there may be some course-corrections in Malaysia’s foreign and security policy, it will not stray far from the approach of previous administrations...

Ocean of Debt? Belt and Road and Debt Diplomacy in the Pacific, October 2019. China’s Belt and Road Initiative has raised important questions about the risk of debt problems in less-developed countries. The risks are especially acute for the small and fragile economies of the Pacific. Our analysis, however, finds a nuanced picture. The evidence to date suggests China has not been engaged in deliberate ‘debt trap’ diplomacy in the Pacific. Nonetheless, the sheer scale of China’s lending and its lack of strong institutional mechanisms to protect the debt sustainability of borrowing countries poses clear risks. Chinese lending is more intense as a share of GDP in smaller economies. If China wants to remain a major development financier in the Pacific without fulfilling the debt trap accusations of its critics, it will need to substantially restructure its approach, including by adopting formal lending rules similar to those of the multilateral development banks...

The Bougainville Referendum and Beyond, October 2019. Australia has a long history and a complicated relationship with Bougainville, an island group to the east of the PNG mainland that was administered by Australia as part of Papua New Guinea for 60 years between 1915 and 1975. On 23 November 2019, its 300 000 people will commence voting in an independence referendum, and a clear majority is expected to vote for independence from Papua New Guinea. The Bougainville Peace Agreement requires PNG and Bougainville to negotiate an outcome after the conclusion of the referendum, and Canberra has indicated that it will respect any settlement reached between them. James Marape, the new PNG prime minister, has expressed a clear preference for an autonomous, not independent, Bougainville...

Once More with Feeling: Russia and the Asia-Pacific, August 2019. The rise of Asia is the central challenge of Vladimir Putin’s foreign policy. No other continent will have a greater impact on Russia’s international prospects in the coming decades. The Asia-Pacific, in particular, is already the principal region of global growth, geopolitical rivalry, and clashing values. Moscow’s long-time Westerncentrism is increasingly obsolescent, and the need for a fundamental reorientation of Russian foreign policy has become compelling. Recent developments point to a new level of commitment in Russia’s engagement with the Asia-Pacific. Moscow has moved beyond platitudes about a ‘turn to the East’ and is pursuing a multi-dimensional approach towards the region: reinforcing the partnership with China; reaching out to other major players; and promoting itself as a significant security and economic contributor...

Behind the Veil: Women in Jihad After the Caliphate, June 2019. Women have long played an important role in jihad, but the Islamic State has, since its inception, expanded both the potential and scope of those female roles. The caliphate may be no longer, but Islamic State’s military defeats have not dampened the appeal of jihad in many quarters. In fact, conditions are already set for an IS resurgence. There is a global cohort of over 73 000 women and children (10 000 of them foreigners) in Kurdish camps who surrendered after the fall of Baghouz. The Islamic State considers this cohort, as well as other female supporters, a key part of its future survival. As Islamic State shifts from governance project to global terrorist movement, women will continue to play an important part of that transformation...

New Caledonia’s Independence Referendum: Local and Regional Implications, May 2019. After a long history of difference, including civil war, over independence, New Caledonia’s 4 November 2018 referendum began a self-determination process, but ended 30 years of stability under peace accords. Persistent ethnic division over independence revealed by this first vote may well be deepened by May 2019 local elections. Two further referendums are possible, with discussion about future governance, by 2022, amid ongoing social unease. Bitter areas of difference, which had been set aside for decades, will remain front and centre while the referendum process continues...

Politics in Indonesia: Resilient Elections, Defective Democracy, April 2019. Incumbent President Joko Widodo is the front-runner to defeat long-time rival Prabowo Subianto in Indonesia’s fourth direct presidential election on 17 April. Constrained by compromises and knocked off balance by the rise of identity politics, if Jokowi wins a second (and final) term, he is unlikely to make significant progress on much-needed economic, legal, and political reforms. Despite these concerns, there is hope for the future with a new generation of politicians from outside the elite now seeking to follow Jokowi’s path to national office. Indonesia’s future will depend on how far they use their electoral mandates to shake up a defective system...

‘New’ Malaysia: Four Key Challenges in the near Term, March 2019. In May 2018 Malaysia underwent its first regime change in its political history. This saw the return of Mahathir Mohamad as prime minster, 15 years after his first tenure as prime minster from 1981 to 2003. As the country heads towards the first anniversary of the Pakatan Harapan (Alliance of Hope) government, it is imperative that the momentum for political change is not stalled. This Analysis identifies four key areas that the new administration must deal with in the next 12 months: the Malay Agenda/Bumiputra Policy; the 1963 Malaysia Agreement (MA63); political Islam; and a clear timetable for transition of power. These issues are not only crucial to the stability of the PH administration, but also for long-term institutional reforms...

Reinforcing Indonesia–Australia Defence Relations: The Case for Maritime Recalibration, October 2018. Indonesia and Australia are increasingly important strategic anchors in the Indo-Pacific region, as recognised by the recently announced Indonesia–Australia Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. Yet historically, bilateral defence ties between the two countries have been volatile. This Analysis makes the case for a maritime recalibration of Australia’s defence engagement activities with Indonesia to stabilise defence relations. The process of recalibrating defence relations, however, cannot proceed in a historical vacuum. The evolution of Australia’s Defence Cooperation Program (DCP) with Indonesia since the 1960s is examined in order to understand how the relationship could be recalibrated...

Going Legit? the Foreign Policy of Vladimir Putin, September 2018. Vladimir Putin’s re-election for a fourth presidential term in May 2018 has enshrined his position as the dominant personality of the post-Soviet era. Over the next six years, there will be few major changes to Russian foreign policy. There is broad consensus in Moscow that this has been outstandingly successful, and that Russia has emerged as a formidable power. But alongside an overall sense of confidence, there is also caution and even anxiety. Putin recognises the importance of tactical flexibility in an international environment that is increasingly fluid and unpredictable. He is also aware that Russia’s foreign policy gains are fragile and potentially reversible, and that the country faces considerable obstacles in its quest to become a rule-maker in a new, post-American world order...

Indonesia's Economy: Between Growth and Stability, August 2018. Views of the Indonesian economy oscillate between optimism that it is set to become the world’s next economic giant and fear of renewed instability. Such views, however, get the story backwards. Indonesian policymakers have consistently prioritised stability over growth. The more concerning issue is that the economy is now heading into its fifth consecutive year of subdued growth. Although growth is solid at about 5 per cent a year, it is inadequate in terms of the job creation and economic modernisation required to meet Indonesia’s development needs and ambitions. The problems are structural...

ASEAN–Australia Relations: The Suitable Status Quo, August 2018. The first ASEAN–Australia Special Summit held in Sydney in March 2018 led some Australian commentators to advocate for Australia to join the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Even if Australian membership could be made possible by changing the ASEAN Charter and achieving a consensus among ASEAN member states in favour of membership, it would not serve Australian interests in Southeast Asia as well as Australia’s current dialogue partner relationship with ASEAN...

Unregulated Population Migration and Other Future Drivers of Instability in the Pacific, July 2018. Unregulated population migration within the Pacific has serious security and stability implications for the region, including Australia and New Zealand. Drivers of unregulated population migration include non‑traditional security challenges such as changing environmental and climatic conditions, disaster management, food and water scarcity, and pandemics. Other drivers include man‑made stresses such as civil conflict and fragile and unstable governments, growing interest from external actors, and organised crime...

“Americanism, Not Globalism”: President Trump and the American Mission, July 2018. From the end of the Second World War, the dominant current of American exceptionalism in the rhetoric and outlook of US presidents has been the belief that the United States has a special mission to redeem the world by extending liberty and democracy to all peoples. However, President Donald Trump is an exception. He believes that in the post-Cold War era successive administrations in Washington have pursued reckless visions of regional or global hegemony — especially in the Middle East — leaving the home front to languish and the nation open to ridicule...

Getting Singapore in Shape: Economic Challenges and How to Meet Them, June 2018. The transformation of the Singapore economy over the past five decades has been impressive, producing rapid economic growth and delivering extraordinary improvements in social welfare. During that period, Singapore has evolved into a developed economy with multiple engines of growth including globally competitive manufacturing clusters, one of the world’s pre-eminent financial and transportation centres, and the location for regional or global headquarters of major corporations...

Instability in the Pacific Islands: A Status Report, June 2018. The Pacific Islands are highly diverse in political status, population, development, migration prospects, and potential for instability. Resilience is most under challenge in western Melanesia: Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu are states-in-formation characterised by extraordinary linguistic and group diversity giving rise to weak consciousness of nationhood. Fiji is different: a weak democracy but a strong state. Many observers see increasing tensions, disputes, and violence over land in Pacific urban areas as people’s traditional connections with rural villages diminish and landlessness becomes more common...

Trump, Kim and the North Korean Nuclear Missile Melodrama, May 2018. As the leaders of the United States and North Korea prepare to meet for the first time, the North Korean nuclear issue sits delicately poised between crisis and breakthrough. Under the Trump presidency, North Korea’s scripted brand of hyperbole and brinksmanship is encountering the political theatre of President Donald Trump. Any US president confronted by a direct threat from North Korean nuclear missiles would treat it as a first-order security challenge. Yet Donald Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign, and showmanship, have also elevated North Korea’s regional melodrama in ways that potentially advantage Kim Jong-un. Even if it fails to yield any tangible outcomes, meeting a serving US president would still be hugely beneficial to Pyongyang as a means of strengthening Kim’s domestic and international position, particularly in respect of its chronic legitimacy deficit in the inter-Korean comparison...

Stronger Together: Safeguarding Australia’s Security Interests Through Closer Pacific Ties, April 2018. Australia views stability in the Pacific Islands region as a critical aspect of its own national security. The 2016 Defence White Paper and 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper each place significant importance on the region. Both white papers also hint at increasing geostrategic competition in the region and a general sense of unease with growing Chinese influence in the Pacific. Yet why the Pacific Islands region is so important to Australia, and the extent to which China may be challenging Australia’s influence with its neighbours, is often poorly articulated...

Charities and Terrorism: Lessons from the Syrian Crisis, March 2018. Humanitarian disasters offer opportunities for terrorist groups to infiltrate conflict areas under the guise of providing humanitarian assistance, and to raise or send funds to these areas under the same cover. In the case of Australia, terrorists and their supporters have at times sought to portray themselves as humanitarian workers in order to construct a legal defence. While most humanitarian groups operating in Syria have legitimate aims, the civil war and rise of radical Islamist groups that resulted has shown how easily the desire to assist those in need can be manipulated by jihadists. In order to minimise the likelihood of this sector being exploited in the future, countries such as Australia should utilise regulatory and legislative frameworks to limit the ability of individuals and groups to exploit humanitarian assistance in high-risk areas.

Beyond Access: Making Indonesia’s Education System Work, February 2018. Indonesia’s biggest challenge regarding education is no longer improving access but improving quality. The Indonesian Government hopes to develop a ‘world-class’ education system by 2025. However, numerous assessments of the country’s education performance suggest that it has a long way to go before it will achieve that goal. Many Indonesian teachers and lecturers lack the required subject knowledge and pedagogical skills to be effective educators; learning outcomes for students are poor; and there is a disparity between the skills of graduates and the needs of employers...

The Missing Middle: a Political Economy of Economic Restructuring in Vietnam, December 2017. Vietnam’s cautious and sequenced adoption of market institutions has brought more than two decades of impressive economic performance, all while leaving the country’s underlying political economy largely intact. Notably, Vietnam has leveraged greater integration with the international economic system, including through ascension to the World Trade Organization in 2007 and the conclusion of a spate of free trade agreements, as a means of reinforcing domestic change...

Clear Waters and Green Mountains: Will Xi Jinping Take the Lead on Climate Change? November 2017. President Trump’s announced withdrawal from the Paris Agreement shone a light on China’s efforts to fight climate change, which are as much about economics and technology as environmental responsibility. Longer-term technological and economic change may lead China to eventually show greater diplomatic ambition on climate. China cannot assume an international leadership position on climate until it deepens its domestic energy transition and greens its overseas investments.

US–Vietnam Relations Under President Trump, November 2017. Under the Obama administration, the US–Vietnam relationship expanded, especially in terms of security cooperation. China’s increasing assertiveness in the South China Sea has helped to warm US–Vietnam bilateral ties. The Trans-Pacific Partnership also offered Vietnam an opportunity to escape China’s economic orbit. But just as the hard-earned security rapprochement was starting to gain momentum, newly elected US President Donald Trump announced the US withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Soon after the rebalance to Asia was declared officially dead. Neither was good news for Vietnam. Despite initial anxiety over Trump’s reluctance to engage with Southeast Asia, there have been some positive signs that the relationship will continue to prosper. High-level meetings have helped to reassure Hanoi that the Trump administration has an interest in deepening bilateral relations. President Trump’s attendance at the APEC Summit in November 2017 in Da Nang and a scheduled side trip to Hanoi will be important signals of how President Trump views what has become one of the United States’ most important emerging relationship in Southeast Asia.

Autopilot: East Asia Policy Under Trump, October 2017. Despite President Donald Trump’s promise to adopt an America First foreign policy, US policies in East Asia — on issues from trade, to diplomatic engagement, to the North Korean nuclear crisis — now more closely resemble those of Trump’s predecessors than his campaign vision. There are few advisers around President Trump with the necessary expertise, experience, and inclination to implement an America First foreign policy in Asia. Most principals hold conventional Republican views, and lead institutions that have advanced conventional policies. As a result, US policy in East Asia is on autopilot. The greatest risks are not a deliberate crash, but that of a crisis, in which the autopilot will disengage and President Trump will be required to fly the plane; or that the United States will drift far off course before a qualified pilot can retake control.

An Accident Waiting to Happen: Trump, Putin and the Us-Russia Relationship, October 2017. US–Russia relations are more problematic and acrimonious than at any time since the end of the Cold War. Hopes in Moscow that Trump’s election might lead to a rapprochement have evaporated, and even limited cooperation appears a distant prospect. Trump’s anarchic tendencies will further destabilise relations in a volatile international context. The risk of direct confrontation between the United States and Russia has increased tangibly.

Xi Jinping’s Moment, October 2017. Xi Jinping is China’s most decisive, disciplined leader in a generation, leading a country that is fast approaching military and economic parity in Asia with the region’s long-standing dominant power, the United States. Xi has swept aside potential rivals at home, re-established the primacy of the Communist Party in all realms of politics and civil society, and run the most far-reaching anti-corruption campaign in the history of the People’s Republic. But on the economy, Xi has been a cautious steward of the existing order...

Neither Friend nor Foe: Pakistan, the United States and the War in Afghanistan, September 2017. In a speech announcing his administration’s Afghanistan policy, President Trump singled out Pakistan saying that the United States “can no longer be silent about Pakistan’s safe havens for terrorist organizations”. But the likelihood that increased US incentives or threats will change Pakistan’s policy in Afghanistan are low. If anything the goals of the United States and Pakistan in Afghanistan have moved further apart. The military is the key player in Pakistan’s policy in Afghanistan...

Managing Economic Risk in Asia: a Strategy for Australia, September 2017. Twenty years on from the Asian Financial Crisis it is timely to assess how the region is placed to manage and mitigate risks of economic crisis, and to consider Australia’s role in this. This Analysis frames the policy options Australia faces through imagining a potential future scenario where a major ASEAN economy faces vulnerabilities as a result of volatile capital flows, exposing gaps in current risk management and crisis mitigation arrangements...

A Global Compact on Refugees: The Role of Australia, August 2017. The UN Global Compact on Refugees provides a unique opportunity to make far-reaching improvements to the international response to refugees. Australia has a vested interest to improve the refugee regime in particular to institute a more effective and equitable regional response to asylum seekers and refugees in Southeast Asia and reduce pressure on its own asylum system...

Thailand's Triple Threat, July 2017. King Vajiralongkorn’s elevation to the Chakri throne comes after decades of whispers that he is an unsuitable king for Thailand. Despite these concerns, the military leadership has swung behind their new monarch. But the potential for future turbulence under the government led by General Prayuth Chan-ocha is high. The fluid situation in Bangkok is complicated by the potential escalation and expansion of separatist violence in southern Thailand. The question is how will Thailand respond to the triple threat of King Vajiralongkorn’s ascension, the entrenchment of military rule, and the potential escalation of separatist violence emanating from the southern provinces...

Can Russia Afford to Be a Great Power? June 2017. Russia wants to be recognised as a great power, and has sufficient economic power and potential to encourage it to behave accordingly. However, under its current leadership it recognises that there are economic limits to its behaviour. There is a consistent commitment to budget discipline and a measured allocation of resources among key claimants — the social and development sectors, as well as defence and security. That limits the allocation of resources to power projection, particularly of the hard variety, even if such allocation is at a level high enough to cause considerable discomfort in the West...

Resource Nationalism in Post-Boom Indonesia: the New Normal? April 2017. During the global commodity boom, Indonesia emerged as an exemplar of resource nationalism. The government introduced a range of nationalist policies in the mining sector, ranging from export bans to forced foreign divestment. Once commodity booms end, however, analysts generally predict that resource-rich states such as Indonesia will abandon the nationalist position with a view to attracting foreign investment. Indeed, historically, economic nationalism in Indonesia has peaked during the good times of a resources boom, and faded during an economic downturn. But the situation in Indonesia today seems to challenge these market-cycle theories. This Analysis examines the durability of contemporary resource nationalism in Indonesia. It argues that structural features of the post-Suharto political economy have sustained the nationalist policy trajectory that emerged during the boom...

Understanding China’s Belt and Road Initiative, March 2017. China’s Belt and Road Initiative (also known as One Belt, One Road (OBOR)) is one of President Xi’s most ambitious foreign and economic policies. It aims to strengthen Beijing’s economic leadership through a vast program of infrastructure building throughout China’s neighbouring regions. Many foreign policy analysts view this initiative largely through a geopolitical lens, seeing it as Beijing’s attempt to gain political leverage over its neighbours. There is no doubt that is part of Beijing’s strategic calculation. However, this Analysis argues that some of the key drivers behind OBOR are largely motivated by China’s pressing economic concerns. One of the overriding objectives of OBOR is to address China’s deepening regional disparity as the country’s economy modernises...

Future Proofing Australia–New Zealand Defence Relations, December 2016. Australia and New Zealand should be natural military partners. But differences in their strategic outlooks and military priorities have sometimes placed limits on the extent of that partnership. Both countries published Defence White Papers in 2016 which suggest greater convergence in their priorities that should enhance their military cooperation in coming years. This includes a shared concern for the future of the rules-based order in Asia and for stability in the Pacific. Consistent with these concerns both countries are investing heavily in the development of maritime capabilities. In particular, some of New Zealand’s leading priorities, including the enhancement of its maritime surveillance capacity, will allow for even deeper collaboration in this sphere...

The Development Benefits of Expanding Pacific Access to Australia’s Labour Market, December 2016. A stable and prosperous Pacific Islands region is essential for Australia’s security and foreign policy. Australia is investing significant amounts of aid in the development of the region with very mixed results. The economic, demographic, governance, and climatic challenges the Pacific faces will make sustained development of the region even more difficult in the years to come. It is for this reason that Prime Minister Turnbull has committed Australia to a ‘step-change’ in Australia’s engagement with the Pacific built on fresh ideas...

Indonesia in the South China Sea: Going It Alone, December 2016. Under President Jokowi, Indonesia’s approach to the South China Sea disputes has moved from that of an active player in efforts to find a peaceful solution to the broader disputes, to one primarily focused on protecting its own interests around the Natuna Islands while not antagonising China. The shift in the Indonesian position has been driven by an increase in Chinese incursions around the Natunas, Jokowi’s lack of interest in regional diplomacy, as well as his goal of attracting Chinese investment for his signature infrastructure projects...

How to Be Exceptional: Australia in the Slowing Global Economy, November 2016. Australia is gliding into its 26th year of uninterrupted economic expansion at the same time that the United States and the United Kingdom are wrestling with political rebellions against the very forces that have stoked Australia’s long boom. Open trade, high migration, and unimpeded economic globalisation are under political challenge in major advanced economies. In those same economies, respected economists are predicting a gloomier future. Former US Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers has declared ours to be an “Age of Secular Stagnation”. US economist Robert Gordon says the best is over for the US economy and others like it...

Economic Migration and Australia in the 21st Century, October 2016. This Analysis assesses the benefits and challenges of contemporary economic immigration in Australia. While the policy arrangements underpinning economic immigration have undergone significant changes in recent decades, Australian governments have managed this transition successfully. Increased intakes of skilled immigrants have assisted structural transitions in Australia’s economy, delivered tangible benefits in addressing challenges related to population, and produced positive effects in relation to fiscal impact, productivity, and immigrants’ employment and labour market outcomes...

The 2016 Presidential Campaign and the Crisis of Us Foreign Policy, October 2016. The 2016 US presidential election is the most consequential election for international order since the Second World War. America’s status as a liberal superpower is on the ballot. To understand Donald Trump’s foreign policy, we must distinguish between his three core beliefs that he has held for many decades and rarely if ever waivered from, the central themes of his campaign, and other issues. His core beliefs are opposition to America’s alliance arrangements, opposition to free trade, and support for authoritarianism, particularly in Russia. If he is elected president and governs in a manner consistent with these beliefs, the United States will be transformed from the leader of a liberal international order into a rogue superpower that withdraws from its international commitments, undermines the open global economy, and partners with Putin’s Russia...

Foreign Fighters in Syria and Iraq: the Day After, September 2016. In the last five years, Western counterterrorism agencies have focused largely on radicalised individuals going to Syria and Iraq. Now and in the immediate future they will need to focus more on those coming out. The prospective collapse of Islamic State’s ‘caliphate’ is likely to increase the number of foreign fighters leaving its territory. More generally, the foreign fighter fallout from the years of conflict in Syria and Iraq will echo that of previous conflicts such as Afghanistan and Bosnia. The fighters who survive and escape will be just as ideologically motivated as those that emerged from Afghanistan and Bosnia, but will be more operationally experienced, have more lethal skills and be better networked than their predecessors.In the last five years, Western counterterrorism agencies have focused largely on radicalised individuals going to Syria and Iraq...

Reforming the International Protection Regime: Responsibilities, Roles and Policy Options for Australia, August 2016. The international protection regime is failing states and refugees alike. It may be too soon to reform its fundamentals, but the regime needs to be implemented more effectively, and straight away. It is in Australia’s national interest to drive reform, in order to prepare for future asylum flows, take advantage of the success of Operation Sovereign Borders, and fulfil its long-standing commitment to helping people in need. At the domestic level, Australia should set standards for responding fairly but effectively to asylum seekers, and prepare for environmental migration. At the regional level Australia needs to establish leadership credentials to promote protecting people closer to home. At the global level Australia should champion new approaches to refugees and migration, challenging an increasingly complacent regime...

Making the Most of the G20, July 2016. At a time when multilateralism is in decline and many countries are turning inward, the G20 is needed. The premier forum for international economic cooperation has design flaws, but provides political leadership on global economic matters such as international tax, financial regulation and international financial institutions. In an uncertain world, it is the best means that the international community has to coordinate responses to global economic and financial crises. The G20 can also play an important role in countering growing anti-globalisation sentiment...

Principled Engagement: Rebuilding Defence Ties With Fiji, July 2016. The geopolitics of the Pacific Islands region is changing, including the emergence of the new Pacific regionalism. The traditional regional security orthodoxy is also changing. The Russian arms deal to Fiji has underlined the extent to which Australia and New Zealand face competition for access and influence from external players in their relations with Fiji. Since the normalisation of relations in 2014, Australia and New Zealand have pursued a soft approach to engagement. Australia’s and New Zealand’s response to Cyclone Winston offered an opportunity to re-engage with Fiji’s military and test the potential for increased defence diplomacy. It is time for Australia and New Zealand to undertake a principled rebuilding of defence ties with Fiji.

Turning Back? Philippine Security Policy under Duterte, June 2016. Rodrigo Duterte’s resounding victory in the presidential elections in May has shaken up the political landscape of the Philippines. His administration will be vastly different from that of his predecessor, President Benigno Aquino. Security policy under Duterte will likely be very different in focus and approach. Three key policies that involve significant foreign country support will change substantially if the Duterte administration follows through on his campaign promises: the Muslim Mindanao peace process; military modernisation; and maritime rights disputes with China...

The Lion and the Kangaroo: Australia's Strategic Partnership With Singapore, May 2016. There is an enduring, two-way strategic underpinning to Australia’s interactions with Singapore, going beyond the recently agreed Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. Canberra is enhancing its economic access to Southeast Asia in return for granting Singapore greater access to military training areas in Australia. Yet Singapore’s stock is also rising, for Australia, in the context of Southeast Asia’s growing strategic profile. The stark fact is that Australia needs Southeast Asia more than it needs Australia. As a fellow ‘odd man out’ in its region, Singapore may be the exception to this rule because of its defence interest in Australia as a source of strategic depth. The city state can also add strategic depth for Australia. Capabilities aside, the most important attributes to this partnership are non-material: a shared mindset and a willingness to commit for the long term...

The Future of Papua New Guinea: Old Challenges for New Leaders, March 2016. With its vast resources base and young population, the outlook for Papua New Guinea should be positive, but negative trends — in law and order, health, and education — do not augur well for the future. PNG’s next generation of leaders, under pressure to improve both service delivery and the quality of national institutions, should tackle a limited number of problems first to unblock barriers to progress. Australia, which has enduring interests in PNG’s success, should be creative in supporting emerging leaders, through government, private sector, and civil society links, to help them make a real difference.

Islamic State Propaganda and the Mainstream Media, February 2016. Islamic State’s use of social media to disseminate its propaganda is generally well understood. What receives far less attention is how the group also uses the Western mainstream media to spread its key messages. Islamic State tailors the production and release of its material to the needs of mainstream media outlets and to the media cycle. The danger involved in sending Western journalists to Syria and Iraq has made the media more reliant on material produced by Islamic State. The group’s propaganda is often unwittingly used by the mainstream media in ways that serve Islamic State’s objectives...

Russia's Asian Rebalance, December 2015. Russia’s ambitious decision to ‘rebalance’ its strategic orientation towards Asia is going relatively unnoticed, yet has the potential to generate significant regional effects. It is engaging in a large-scale military modernisation project with the intention of projecting power into Asia. Its relationship with China seems to have deepened considerably. And it is looking to consolidate new and existing partnerships in Australia’s regional area of interest in the Indo-Pacific. At the same time, Russia is seeking to tap its considerable energy and resource reserves in the Far East to become a major Asian energy supplier...

Chinese Worldviews and China's Foreign Policy, November 2015. China’s growing assertiveness, particularly in the South China Sea, has resulted in greater scrutiny of Chinese intentions and led to a more intense debate about how the United States and its allies should respond. For some, the motives for China’s international behaviour are simply those of any emerging — or in China’s case, re-emerging — power. However, to gain a more nuanced understanding of what is motivating Chinese behaviour it is necessary to examine the narratives that underpin Chinese worldviews and China’s foreign policy behaviour...

Looking for Leadership in the Arab Middle East, October 2015. The Middle East is in an unprecedented state of flux. It is beset by a number of major security crises, from North Africa to the Arabian Peninsula. The Obama administration has signalled that it will limit America’s role in addressing these crises and that it expects its regional allies to do more of the heavy lifting themselves. Sunni states fear that Tehran is capitalising on both regional unrest and Washington’s recalibration of its policy in the Middle East to expand its influence and they fear Tehran’s position will further improve once sanctions on Iran are lifted...

Congress and Asia-Pacific Policy: Dysfunctionand Neglect, September 2015. While partisan gridlock in Congress has hindered the execution of US foreign policy overall, it has disproportionately affected US policy towards the Asia Pacific because the region has had few champions in either house in recent years. To the extent individual members have focused on the region in recent years, it has often been in pursuit of narrow objectives focused on a single country or issue area, without reference to a broader strategy. Though there are signs of increased interest in the region among more junior members of the current Congress, the nature of that interest and whether it can be sustained will depend on how the Obama administration and its partners in the region engage them.

US Global Economic Leadership: Responding to a Rising China, August 2015. The rise of the Chinese economy means that China and the United States must share a role, although not necessarily an equal one, in shaping global economic rules. The United States is struggling to accommodate China’s desire for a greater say in the way that the global economy is run, as reflected in the US approach to the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, Trans-Pacific Partnership and IMF governance reform. Unless the United States shares economic governance with China, it will undermine US economic leadership and have a negative impact on the management of the global economy.

Trade Protectionism in Indonesia: Bad Times and Bad Policy, July 2015. Difficult economic circumstances have historically led Indonesian leaders to enact economic reforms, leading some to argue that bad times have resulted in good policy. But as Indonesian growth has slowed over the past year, the government has departed from this pattern, and is instead ratcheting up protectionist measures in the form of a variety of non-tariff barriers. These measures are likely to drive up prices for Indonesian consumers at a time when their purchasing power is declining, and undermine the competitiveness and productivity of Indonesian firms...

Australia and the 1951 Refugee Convention, April 2015. In this Analysis, Khalid Koser argues that the implementation of the 1951 Refugee Convention is failing the interests of both states and refugees. Koser argues that Australia is well-placed to lead an international effort for reform...

Australian Foreign Fighters: Risks and Responses, April 2015. In this Analysis, Andrew Zammit argues that Australians fighting in Iraq and Syria pose a threat to Australia’s security and examines the options for responding to that threat, including through non-coercive means...

Australia and Climate Change Negotiations: At the Table, or on the Menu? March 2015. In this Analysis, Howard Bamsey and Kath Rowley argue that any failure to pay proper, high-level attention to the current international climate change negotiations raises several risks to the national interest. Strong, constructive engagement in those negotiations by Australia would serve climate...

Full Spectrum Defence: Re-Thinking the Fundamentals of Australian Defence Strategy, March 2015. In this Analysis, Alan Dupont argues that successive Australian governments have failed to define an effective national defence strategy. Australia needs a defence strategy that counters threats across multiple domains, is based on more diverse regional defence relationships, and is underpinned by...

Iranian Foreign Policy under Rouhani, February 2015. In this Lowy Institute Analysis Rodger Shanahan examines changes in Iranian foreign policy under President Rouhani. He argues that while the Iranian President has changed the tone of Iranian foreign policy, changing the substance will prove much more difficult...

Jordan's Youth after the Arab Spring, February 2015. Despite the lack of a full-scale uprising, protests in Jordan and unrest across the Arab world convinced Jordan’s King Abdullah to announce a series of political reforms. Yet while the result of these reforms has been underwhelming, popular and youth pressure for change since November 2012 has declined. In particular, youth activists in Jordan have stepped back from public demonstrations demanding broad socio-political change. Observing the disastrous aftermath of the Arab Spring in Syria and Egypt in particular, Jordanian youth are caught between a desire for political reform and a fear of instability...

India's New Asia-Pacific Strategy: Modi Acts East, December 2014. The ‘Look East’ policy has been a major part of India’s international engagement since its economic opening in 1991. Having received bipartisan support from successive Indian governments, the policy has evolved from economic and diplomatic engagement with Southeast Asia to broader security and defence ties across the whole Asia-Pacific. In recent years, India has signalled a willingness to play a greater strategic role in the region, deepening links with such partners as Japan, Vietnam, and Australia. The policy has been driven in part by India’s strategy of external balancing against China, but has also been motivated by India’s desire for a greater global role and its rise as a trading nation...

China, the G20 and Global Economic Governance, November 2014. At the closing of the 2014 G20 Brisbane Summit, the presidency of the 2016 G20 was awarded to China. This is the first time China will chair the world’s ‘premier forum for economic cooperation’. Yet the G20 is just one way that China, now the world’s largest economy on purchasing power parity terms, may seek to shape global economic governance. China is both seeking changes to the ‘traditional’ global economic governance model, centred upon the Bretton Woods Institutions, and experimenting with new processes such as the BRICS forum and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank...

Defence Challenges 2035: Securing Australia's Lifelines, November 2014. As the Australian government prepares a new white paper to guide the country’s defence planning to 2035, the burden of strategic risk on Australia’s national interests is increasing. Those interests are extensive and face a widening range of risks, from coercion or conflict in Asia to resurgent terrorism and aggression in other parts of the globe. Australia’s region is becoming more central to global power balances and strategic tensions. Power balances are changing with China’s rise, and this will encourage risk-taking...

China's Foreign Policy in Afghanistan, October 2014. On 31 December 2014 NATO will hand over its final security responsibilities to local Afghan forces. The handover will raise new questions for Chinese policy in Afghanistan. On the one hand, Beijing wants a stable Afghanistan. It does not want the country to become either a haven for Uyghur militancy, or for instability to spread through the region. On the other hand, Beijing is reluctant to become too deeply involved in Afghanistan, conscious of the West’s difficult experience over the last decade and fearful of attracting the attention of international terrorist groups...

Indonesian Foreign Policy under President Jokowi, October 2014. New Indonesian president Joko Widodo’s inexperience in foreign affairs and his focus on domestic issues will see him delegate decisions on foreign and security policy to his key advisers. This will result in increased competition between the institutions those advisers lead. On issues where a consensus does not emerge, this competition will make it more difficult for Indonesian foreign policy-makers to define a clear position...

Global Value Chains, Border Management and Australian Trade, September 2014. In this Lowy Institute Analysis, Nicholas Humphries examines how Australian Customs can increase Australia’s trade competitiveness at a time when goods and services are increasingly produced across borders in so- called ‘global value chains’ (GVC). This Analysis was written as a part of the Australian Customs and Border Protection Services Fellowship at the Lowy Institute...

Violence against Women in PNG: How Men Are Getting Away with Murder, August 2014. The women of Papua New Guinea (PNG) endure some of the most extreme levels of violence in the world. They continue to be attacked with impunity despite their government’s promises of justice. The situation has been described as a humanitarian disaster yet still does not receive the broader public attention it deserves, inside or outside PNG. It is also a significant obstacle to PNG’s development and prosperity...

Responding to Indo-Pacific Rivalry: Australia, India and Middle Power Coalitions, August 2014. China’s rising assertiveness and uncertainties about America’s response to it are causing middle powers in Indo-Pacific Asia to look beyond traditional approaches to security. India, Australia, Japan and some ASEAN countries are expanding security cooperation with each other. The next step should be the creation of ‘middle power coalitions’: informal arrangements where regional players cooperate with one another on strategic issues, working in self-selecting groups that do not include China or the United States...

China's Climate Change Policies: Actors and Drivers, July 2014. China, the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitter, has a poor reputation on environmental issues and was seen to be obstructive at the Copenhagen climate change talks in 2009. Yet paradoxically, China has invested significant resources into policies which reduce greenhouse gas emissions. These policies have been driven primarily by domestic considerations – energy demand, smog, and economic restructuring – but international image has also been a factor. The public outcry in recent years against air pollution has given urgency to the need for a cleaner growth path...

Australia in the UN Security Council, June 2014. In this Lowy Institute Analysis, Richard Gowan reviews Australia’s time as a non-permanent member of the Security Council. Gowan argues that while it has not changed the world, Australia has acquitted itself well, bringing extra rigour and professionalism to the Council’s debates. It has carved out a niche on the issue of humanitarian access in the Syrian conflict, and solidified its reputation as a good international citizen and a serious country...

Australia's Costly Investment in Solomon Islands: The Lessons of RAMSI. May 2014. In this Analysis Lowy Institute Melanesia Program Director, Jenny Hayward-Jones, argues that Australia’s massive expenditure of $2.6 billion on the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) was a high price to pay for restoring stability in a small country. She argues that although there were many laudable achievements, the key lesson of RAMSI for Australia is the importance of knowing how much to spend and when to leave...

Southern Thailand: from Conflict to Negotiations? April 2014. In this Analysis, University of Leeds professor Duncan McCargo argues that the recent Malaysian-backed Southern Thai peace initiative has now run into some serious problems. He argues that despite its various shortcomings the initiative is still worthy of support, since it has gained far more traction that any previous attempts to address the decade-long insurgency. Thailand needs to maintain focus on the southern conflict despite its current preoccupation with a national-level political crisis that threatens to topple the government of Yingluck Shinawatra.

Next-gen Jihad in the Middle East, March 2014. In this Analysis Lowy Institute Research Director, Anthony Bubalo, argues that the current turmoil in the Middle East is incubating a new generation of jihadists. In many respects the current conditions in the region are worse than those that saw the emergence of al-Qaeda. He argues that Australia will need to sustain its counter terrorism efforts in the years to come, but also keep a weather eye on developments in the broader Middle East...

More Talk than Walk: Indonesia as a Foreign Policy Actor, February 2014

Japan Is Back: Unbundling Abe's Grand Strategy, December 2013

China's Economic Statecraft: Turning Wealth into Power, November 2013

Fixing Australia's Incredible Defence Policy, October 2013

Syria: How the West Can Play a Weak Hand Better, September 2013

Judicious Ambition: International Policy Priorities for the New Australian Government, September 2013

Syria: How the West Can Play a Weak Hand Better, September 2013

Saving Multilateralism: The G20, the WTO, and Global Trade, June 2013

Strengthening the Core of the G20: Clearer Objectives, Better Communication, Greater Transparency and Accountability, April 2013

China's Foreign Policy Dilemma, February 2013

Environmental Change and Migration: Implications for Australia, December 2012

Digital Islands: How the Pacific's ICT Revolution is Transforming the Region, November 2012

The Audacity of Reasonableness: Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, US Foreign Policy and Australia, October 2012

Pirates and Privateers: Managing the Indian Ocean's Private Security Boom, September 2012

Anaemic Ascent: Why China's Currency Is Far From Going Global, August 2012
Alistar Thornton

China’s currency is on the rise. Buoyed by the economy’s outperformance and global trade impact, policy steps over the past few years have thrust the renminbi onto the global stage. Is the renminbi going to climb to become a major reserve currency? Not so fast.

Despite impressive progress, obstacles loom. The path to reserve currency status necessitates a near complete retooling of China’s economic model: lifting capital controls, floating the exchange rate and liberalising financial markets. This involves facing down powerful vested interests and a willingness to expose the economy to unknown stresses and external volatilities. This is not going to happen quickly.

So why bother? The central bank, it appears, may be pursuing ‘reform by Trojan horse’. By pinning strategic value to internationalisation, reformers are able to achieve buy-in from top leaders in pushing their own agenda. The central bank does not want internationalisation per se, but the liberalisation that moving towards internationalisation brings. It allows, for example, authorities to push towards a floating currency, without appearing to cave to US political pressure in doing so.

Nonetheless, given rising domestic pushback and a cacophony of competing voices, strong policy support for the necessary continued reform may be lacking. Combine this with the unpalatable economic consequences of further internationalisation, and it appears that breathless commentary about the rise of the renminbi is misplaced. The renminbi’s ascent looks distinctly anaemic.

Egypt's Islamist President: What Lies Ahead? July 2012

Revolution at State: The Spread of Ediplomacy, March 2012
Fergus Hanson

This report is the first time the rapidly growing ediplomacy effort at the US State Department has been mapped. It reveals State now employs over 150 full-time ediplomacy personnel working in 25 different nodes at Headquarters. More than 900 people use ediplomacy at US missions abroad.

The report – the result of a four-month research project in Washington DC and extensive access to State – finds ediplomacy is being used in eight different areas, not just for public diplomacy, and suggests a conceptual framework for understanding this effort.

For other foreign ministries, including Australia’s, there is some catching up to do.

A Key Domino? Indonesia's Death Penalty Politics, March 2012
Dr David McRae

Indonesia is at a crossroads regarding capital punishment, as competing forces advocate for greater use of the death penalty and for its abolition. In 'A Key Domino? Indonesia's Death Penalty Politics', Lowy Institute Research Fellow Dr Dave McRae examines the stance on the death penalty of Australia's key regional neighbour, the prospects for abolition in Indonesia, and the policy implications for Australia.

The Dangers of Denial: Nuclear Weapons in China-India Relations, October 2011
Fiona Cunningham, Rory Medcalf

In this Lowy Institute Analysis, Research Associate Fiona Cunningham and International Security Program Director Rory Medcalf warn of growing security risks in the relationship between Asia’s nuclear-armed rising powers China and India. An asymmetry of capabilities and threat perceptions is helping to drive these dangers. The authors call for a strategy stability dialogue to begin between China and India, embedded in a relationship of greater mutual respect, to ensure that possible future confrontations do not involve nuclear threats or misjudgments. This publication is supported by the Lowy Institute’s partnership with the Nuclear Security Project of the Nuclear Threat Initiative, www.nuclearsecurityproject.org.

Improving Access to Climate Financing for the Pacific Islands, July 2011
Nic Maclellan

In a new Lowy Institute Analysis, Nic Maclellan discusses the challenges and opportunities for Pacific Island governments to access adaptation funding, to respond to the adverse effects of climate change. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) commits developed countries to provide climate financing to developing nations, to address climate impacts on food security, water supply, agriculture and public health. But despite recent commitments of 'fast start' climate funding from donors, Pacific Island governments face significant obstacles in accessing resources to adapt to the adverse effects of climate change. The Analysis outlines innovative approaches that could strengthen Pacific access to climate finance and improve outcomes for vulnerable communities in our region.

Chinese Perspectives on Investing in Australia, June 2011
John Larum

China is not only Australia's largest trading partner, but is also an increasingly important supplier of capital. Indeed, Hong Kong aside, Australia is now China's top foreign direct investment destination. Yet despite repeated official Australian statements welcoming Chinese funds, attitudes on both sides of the investment relationship can be strained. Recent Lowy Institute polls have found that Australian public opinion is quite cool towards Chinese investment. At the same time, Chinese investors and officials argue that Australia discriminates against Chinese money, particularly in the resources sector.

In a new Lowy Institute Analysis, John Larum draws on a series of interviews with Chinese investors and their advisors to look at their attitude towards investing in Australia and to examine some of the reasons behind China's sometimes negative perception of the Australian investment environment.

Dangerous Luxuries: How the Quest for High-End Capabilities Leaves the ADF (Australian Defence Force) Vulnerable to Mission Failure and More Dependent on the United States, June 2011
Colonel John Angevine

In a new Lowy Institute Analysis, Brookings Institution Federal Executive Fellow John Angevine writes that Australia’s current defence strategy does not correspond with the realities of Australia’s security situation. The plan for the modernisation of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) is focused on expensive maritime and air capabilities for conflicts that the ADF couldn’t fight alone. Consequently, the ADF is exposed with an atrophying ground force and expeditionary capability for the low-level regional operations in which it will be most likely to engage.

The ANZUS alliance is emerging as the cornerstone alliance for stability in the Asia-Pacific region but the US must understand the implications Australian defence planning will have on the future alliance.

The Brookings Institution has published a version of this paper at: http://www.brookings.edu/papers/2011/0601_military_capabilities_angevine.aspx

India's New World: Civil Society in the Making of Foreign Policy, May 2011
Ashok Malik and Rory Medcalf

India’s new world: civil society in the making of foreign policy
In this Lowy Institute Analysis, leading Indian columnist Ashok Malik and Lowy Institute program director Rory Medcalf argue that Indian foreign policy is being shaped increasingly by three dynamic aspects of civil society: business, the Indian diaspora and the aggressive Indian news media. Indian diplomacy needs to adapt to these new realities. And foreign nations need to understand them to engage with this rising power.

The Quiet Achiever: Australia-Japan Security Relations, January 2011
Dr Malcolm Cook Dr Thomas Wilkins

Over the last decade, Australia-Japan defence cooperation has grown significantly, with Australia now Japan's second-closest security partner. The regional, alliance and national forces driving this cooperation are all intensifying, suggesting this positive trend will continue. In a new Analysis, Tom Wilkins from the University of Sydney and Malcolm Cook analyse the origins of this greater cooperation and its future outlook. This paper was made possible by the generous funding of the Australia-Japan Foundation.

Responding to Boat Arrivals in Australia: Time for a Reality Check, December 2010
Dr Khalid Koser

Boat arrivals have been the focus for a flurry of policy-making in 2010. This Analysis by Lowy Institute Non-Resident Fellow Dr Khalid Koser asks why and whether it has been worth it. It argues that Australia is not undergoing an asylum crisis of the sort that warrants such attention and policy reform. None of the policies currently being proposed address the root causes of the problem, and are therefore likely only to be short-term fixes. They may not even succeed in their narrow aim of reducing boat arrivals to Australia. They also carry significant potential costs, both financial and political. The paper recommends that the Government avoids enacting more border enforcement, and instead pays more attention to the other elements of a comprehensive approach to the challenge of boat arrivals.

The Stakeholder Spectrum: China and the United Nations, December 2010
Dr Michael Fullilove

In the past quarter-century, China has become a far more effective player in, and contributor to, the United Nations. Yet limits to the intimacy of the relationship are also becoming clear. In his new paper, Michael Fullilove describes how China conducts itself in New York and the positions it takes on issues such as peacekeeping, Iran and North Korea. He lays out these approaches on what he calls a ‘stakeholder spectrum’. China is not yet acting as a ‘responsible stakeholder’, argues Dr Fullilove, however the West should be careful what it wishes for. China’s version of ‘stepping up’ at the UN will not necessarily be the same as the West’s. China’s leaders would probably say that the responsibilities – and prerogatives – of a stakeholder are open to interpretation.

Health System Strengthening in Papua New Guinea: Exploring the Role of Demand-responsive Mechanisms, November 2010
Dr Katherine Lepani Julienne McKay

This Lowy Institute Analysis by Julienne McKay and Dr Katherine Lepani, exploring the role of demand-responsive mechanisms in health services delivery in Papua New Guinea, accompanies the Policy Brief, 'Revitalising Papua New Guinea's health system', available here.

What Makes a Leader? Mapping Leadership in Our Region, October 2010
Fergus Hanson Alex Oliver (prev. Duchen)

Does Australia understand the leaders of our region? Is our $1.4bn in scholarship funding reaching the right people? There is good reason to believe that leaders matter, and that they are particularly important in developing countries. This new Lowy Institute Analysis presents the results of a major empirical study of nearly 100 senior leaders in Timor-Leste and Samoa, from the President and Prime Minister down. The study yielded intriguing insights into the pathways leaders have taken to power, and the role Australia did (or did not) play in their lives. The findings have important implications for future Australian policy development in the areas of scholarship, special visits and alumni programs, and the potential for fruitful collaboration between government, the private and non-government sectors in building greater understanding and stronger relationships with the leadership in our region.

Nuclear Weapons and American Strategy in the Age of Obama, September 2010
Professor Hugh White

In this Lowy Institute Analysis, Visiting Fellow Hugh White critically examines the 2010 US Nuclear Posture Review (NPR). Professor White argues that – contrary to what has been widely assumed – the NPR does not significantly reduce the role of nuclear weapons in America’s strategic posture. In particular, it does not properly address the central question of how to prevent nuclear strategic issues destabilising the US-China relationship. This publication was produced under the Lowy Institute’s partnership with the Nuclear Security Project (www.nuclearsecurityproject.org).

Into the Dragon's Den: Australian Investment into China, August 2010
John Larum

While Chinese foreign investment into Australia has been the subject of a great deal of controversy, investment flows moving in the other direction have received much less attention. In a new Lowy Institute Analysis, John Larum reviews Australian foreign direct investment into China and discusses the related policy implications.

The paper reviews the Australia-China bilateral economic relationship, looks at the drivers of Australian FDI to China, examines China’s inward FDI policies, and reviews the potential role of a successful Australia-China Free Trade Agreement.

Sweet and Sour: Australian Public Attitudes Towards China, August 2010
Andrew Shearer

Foreign policy has hardly featured in the 2010 election campaign. That's a shame. Australia faces an increasingly uncertain international environment. One of the most pressing challenges facing the next government will be putting in place a durable policy framework to guide Australia's increasingly complex relationship with a rising China.

In this paper Andrew Shearer analyses changing public attitudes to China and the implications for policy.

Reviving Dead Aid: Making International Development Assistance Work, August 2010
Joel Negin

Australia's aid program has been in the news lately, with calls for a wider public debate on the role of overseas aid. But public debate is being shaped by starkly contradictory arguments. An educated layperson who has just finished reading Jeffrey Sachs on The End of Poverty, for example, might think that aid can provide an important solution to the world’s problems. One who has just completed William Easterly’s The White Man's Burden or Dambisa Moyo’s Dead Aid, on the other hand, is likely to have quite different views on the utility of their country’s aid program. In a new Lowy Institute Analysis, Joel Negin provides a general introduction to the increasingly complex arena of international development assistance. Joel places the challenges of development assistance into a global context and provides an overview of global and Australian aid trends.

Al-Qa'ida, tribes and instability in Yemen, November 2009
Dr Sarah Phillips Dr Rodger Shanahan

In a new Lowy Institute Analysis, Sarah Phillips and Rodger Shanahan discuss the re-emergence of a significant al-Qa’ida presence in Yemen. The authors focus on al-Qa’ida’s efforts to build relations with local Yemeni tribes, something that will be central to the movement’s prospects of cementing a long-term presence in the country. The authors point to the importance of undermining any potential nexus between al-Qaida and the tribes as critical to Western counter-terrorism efforts in the region.

Comprehending Copenhagen: a guide to the international climate change negotiations, November 2009
Fergus Green Dr Greg Picker

From 7-18 December, the world’s attention will be focused on Copenhagen, where representatives of 192 nations will gather in an attempt to strike a new international agreement to respond to the urgent challenge of global climate change. In this Lowy Institute Analysis, Dr Greg Picker and Fergus Green aim to demystify the negotiations and deepen public understanding of this important process. From the expansion of international carbon markets to proposals for curbing tropical deforestation, the paper elucidates the key issues to be negotiated in Copenhagen and outlines the positions of the various countries and groups to each issue. The paper also explains the Conference’s processes, weighs the likely outcomes and considers its potential implications for Australia and beyond.

Linking Growth and Poverty Reduction in Papua New Guinea, September 2009
Laurence Chandy

In a new Lowy Institute Analysis, Laurence Chandy examines the relationship between economic growth and poverty in Papua New Guinea. Using a new analytical framework, he explains why the 'poverty dividend' from growth is often small and what can be done to increase it.

These questions have special resonance today. The PNG economy has succeeded in unlocking growth in recent years, delivering the longest uninterrupted spell of economic expansion since independence. Further growth, at a much higher rate, may now be around the corner with the highly anticipated LNG project. Yet despite this good news, the country faces formidable development challenges and remains off track to meet any of the Millennium Development Goals.

Wicked Weapons: North Asia's Nuclear Tangle, September 2009
Rory Medcalf

The United States faces major challenges in engaging China, Japan and the Korean Peninsula in its quest for nuclear disarmament. In this new Lowy Institute Analysis, International Security Program Director Rory Medcalf explores the ‘wicked’ nature of the region's nuclear insecurity: how fixing one part of the problem risks aggravating others. He recommends ways forward, involving mutual and coordinated concessions among the United States, Japan and China, and taking account of the region's strategic realities.

This publication is supported by the Lowy Institute’s partnership with the Nuclear Security Project of the Nuclear Threat Initiative: www.nuclearsecurityproject.org. This project builds on the 2007 Wall Street Journal article 'A World Free of Nuclear Weapons' by George Shultz, William Perry, Henry Kissinger and Sam Nunn.

How Defence Can Contribute to Australia's National Security Strategy, August 2009
Lieutenant Colonel Nicholas Floyd

As the Federal Government prepares to develop the successor document to its inaugural 2008 National Security Statement, this new Lowy Institute Analysis considers what needs to be done to improve the oft-quoted whole-of-government approach to national security, and where Government can draw inspiration for crafting that approach.

Against the backdrop provided by the National Security Statement, the ADF mission must be recognised as supporting a broader spectrum of operations and activities and an ability to transition rapidly between them.

The paper considers these implications, and how Defence can actively support more effective interactions across the national security effort, drawing on Defence and the ADF’s resident experience in interoperability and deliberate planning.

The Global Financial Crisis and International Migration: Implications for Australia, July 2009
Dr Khalid Koser

In a new Lowy Institute Analysis, Khalid Koser, Director of the New Threats and Human Security Programme at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy, examines the impact of the global financial crisis on international migration, the challenges to Australia of these effects, and how national policy should most appropriately respond.

Between Defiance and Détente: Iran's 2009 Presidential Election and Its Impact on foreign Policy, June 2009
Mahmoud Alinejad

In a new Lowy Institute Analysis, 'Between defiance and détente: Iran’s 2009 presidential election and its impact on foreign policy', Iranian researcher Mahmoud Alinejad looks ahead to the Iranian presidential election on 12 June. He assesses the four candidates’ prospects and analyses the potential impact of the election on key aspects of Iran’s foreign policy, in particular the nuclear issue and relations with the United States.

Indonesia's 2009 Elections: Populism, Dynasties and the Consolidation of the Party System, May 2009
Dr Marcus Mietzner

Indonesia's parliamentary elections in April underlined just how far democracy has come in the world's fourth most populous country and Australia's closest Asian neighbour. The campaign itself and the ballot box results also provide some clear signals about the future shape and health of Indonesia's democratic system.

In a new Lowy Institute Analysis, Dr Marcus Mietzner from the Australian National University clearly analyses the election results and what they can tell us about Indonesia's democratic future. The report goes well beyond predictions about the upcoming presidential election and looks forward to the post-Yudhoyono era of Indonesian politics.

'Indonesia's 2009 elections: populism, dynasties and the consolidation of the party system' can be downloaded here.

Nobody's Client: The Reawakening of Iraqi Sovereignty, March 2009
Lydia Khalil

In a new Lowy Institute Analysis, Lydia Khalil explores the growing confidence of Iraq's government under Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki.

In 'Nobody's client: the reawakening of Iraqi sovereignty', Khalil describes the major shift that has taken place in Iraq's relationship with the United States and how today Baghdad is pursuing its own interests with much less regard for Washington's desires.

Lydia Khalil is a non-resident fellow in the West Asia Program at the Lowy Institute. She was recently appointed as an international affairs fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. Prior to this Lydia was a counterterrorism analyst for the New York Police Department and a policy advisor for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad.

Putting the Genie Back in the Bottle: Ruling Regimes and the New Media in the Arab World, December 2008
David Hardaker

In a new Lowy Institute Analysis Australian journalist David Hardaker examines the growth and impact of the 'new media' - primarily the internet and satellite television - in the Arab world. He explores how autocratic regimes face a difficult challenge of reining in new electronic outlets for dissent while at the same time ensuring that their countries benefit from the global digital economy.

David Hardaker is a former award-winning Middle East correspondent for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. He speaks Arabic and has lived and worked in the Middle East for a number of years.

Ambition: The Emerging Foreign Policy of the Rudd Government, December 2008
Allan Gyngell

In a new Lowy Institute Analysis entitled 'Ambition: the emerging foreign policy of the Rudd Government', Lowy Institute Executive Director Allan Gyngell explores what we have learned about the Rudd Government's emerging foreign policy, about the Prime Minister's own contributions to it and what questions it raises for the future.

Australia, East Asia and the Current Financial Crisis, November 2008
Dr Stephen Grenville AO

In a new Analysis, Dr Stephen Grenville argues that as the international crisis begins to impinge more strongly on Asia, one of the potential protective responses – the Chiang Mai Initiative – needs some tweaking to make it politically acceptable for countries which need it. Australia might be able to offer some low-key support here and could use the opportunity to participate more fully.

Hope or Glory? The Presidential Election, U.S. Foreign Policy and Australia, October 2008
Dr Michael Fullilove

In a new Lowy Institute Analysis, Dr Michael Fullilove, Program Director Global Issues and a Visiting Fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC, examines what is at stake in US foreign policy in the contest between Senators Barack Obama and John McCain for the presidency of the United States.

Bad Moon Not Rising: The Myth of the Shi'a Crescent, September 2008
Dr Rodger Shanahan

Accusations that a Shi'a crescent is emerging in the Arab world following the rise of a Shi'a government in Iraq and the actions of Hizbullah in Lebanon, have provoked much discussion and highlighted fears of Iran's co-religionists gaining political power at the expense of the traditional Sunni leadership. In this new Analysis, Dr Rodger Shanahan examines the status of the Shi'a communities in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain and argues that, rather than an emerging Shi'a crescent in the Gulf, there are simply differing national groups struggling to varying degrees to achieve political reform.

Restraining Nuclear Arms in the Asian Century: An Agenda for Australia, September 2008
Rory Medcalf

In this Lowy Institute Analysis, International Security Program Director Rory Medcalf provides background and detail for his proposals for renewed Australian activism on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament issues, introduced in the Lowy Institute Policy Brief 'Nuclear security: what else can Australia do?'

The Dragon Looks South, June 2008
Fergus Hanson

China refuses to release figures on the size of its aid program. In this new Lowy Institute Analysis, Fergus Hanson takes a region-wide look at the scale of China’s aid program, revealing a dramatic increase in aid pledges since 2005. It looks at the key drivers of China’s engagement, the reactions its aid program has sparked, and concludes with some suggestions for improving the way Australia and other donors engage with China in the Pacific.

Nuclear Energy in Southeast Asia: Implications for Australia and Non-proliferation, April 2008
Andrew Symon

This Lowy Institute Analysis by regional energy specialist Andrew Symon explores the reasons and prospects for increased interest in nuclear power in Southeast Asia, as well as implications for Australia and nuclear weapons non-proliferation. A key issue is whether countries will embark on sensitive segments of the fuel cycle. Approaches to help allay such concerns include international fuel supply mechanisms and the possibility of a co-operative approach to nuclear power development within ASEAN. Australia, as a major uranium supplier, regional neighbhour and supporter of non-proliferation, will want to ensure that nuclear power in Southeast Asia develops safely and in a context of co-operation.

Beijing 2008 Olympic Games: One Year to Go, October 2007
John Bowan

In a new Lowy Institute Analysis, John Bowan looks at the progress of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. On the technical side all looks good. On the political and public relations side, there are a number of growing challenges. These span from Taiwan's participation in the Torch Relay, to environmental concerns to growing criticism of Chinese foreign and domestic policies by international NGOs like Amnesty International. Next year's Olympics will put Beijing and China on the world stage The question is: where will the spotlight shine?

John Bowan has worked as a consultant on Beijing's successful bid for the Games and was Manager of International Relations for the Sydney Games from 1997 to 2000. In 2004, John wrote a longer piece on the international politics of the Beijing Games for the Lowy Institute.

Second Thoughts on Globalisation: An Update, September 2007
Mark Thirlwell

Earlier this year in Lowy Institute Paper 18, 'Second thoughts on globalisation', Mark Thirlwell looked at how the globalisation-powered rise of China and India was disconcerting some in the developed world, and prompting a re-evaluation of the costs and benefits of globalisation. This Lowy Institute Analysis looks at how this process has evolved since the earlier Paper was written.

Ten Years After the Asian Crisis: Is the IMF Ready for 'Next Time'? August 2007
Dr Stephen Grenville AO

In a new Lowy Institute Analysis, Dr Stephen Grenville looks back at the decade-old Asian financial crisis in search of insights on current vulnerabilities. Dr Grenville argues that while there is little chance of any repeat of 1997-98 any time soon, at some point in the future the core vulnerabilities of the crisis period will re-emerge: volatile capital flows and fragile financial markets. Moreover, if the future does hold another sudden stop capital reversal, the IMF has neither the resources nor the procedures to act as an effective lender of last resort. Worse, the Fund lost credibility in the region during the crisis, which means that countries will be slow and reluctant to draw on its assistance.

The European Union and China: A Rude Awakening, April 2007
Roberto Menotti

In this new Lowy Institute Analysis, Roberto Menotti of the Aspen Institute Italia examines the European Union's policy responses to the rise of China.

The EU is a newcomer to East Asian affairs, but its stake in the region is growing rapidly in light of China's economic clout. The European approach to China's rise differs profoundly from that of the US, due to geopolitical realities and a general belief in the benign effects of economic interdependence. Roberto Menotti argues, however, that the EU has so far failed to pursue a coherent common policy, as seen in the debate in 2004-2005 over Europe's decision to revoke the arms ban on China. He suggests that one problem of the European approach has been the fuzzy distinction between multilateralism (an international methodology) and multipolarity (a particular type of international system).

Roberto Menotti is Senior Research Fellow in the International Programs at Aspen Institute Italia in Rome.

After Doha: II. Is Globalisation History? October 2006
Mark Thirlwell

In this Lowy Institute Analysis Mark Thirlwell asks whether the collapse of the Doha Round of trade negotiations marks the beginning of the end for globalisation. Several observers have warned of the dangers of a resurgent protectionism, drawing in particular on the historical example provided by the collapse of an earlier globalisation episode. A review of globalisation, nineteenth century style, suggests that such concerns are overdone. Nevertheless, the historical record confirms that globalisation does create significant adjustment pressures, highlighting the importance of a fully functioning multilateral trading system. This paper is a companion piece to After Doha: I. The search for Plan B.

After Doha: I. The Search for Plan B, September 2006
Mark Thirlwell

In a new Lowy Institute Analysis, Mark Thirlwell argues that while the suspension of negotiations in late July may or may not mark the end of the Doha Round, it will almost certainly mark a watershed for the international trading system. With Doha in the deep freeze and the future of the multilateral system in question, the search is now on for a Plan B for international trade. The most likely Plan B on offer is a deepening of the world economy's recent infatuation with preferential trade agreements. In the long term, however, the best alternative would look to reform of the multilateral system.

Roaring Tiger or Lumbering Elephant? Assessing the Performance, Prospects and Problems of India's Development Model, August 2006
Mark Thirlwell

After years of economic underperformance, the Indian economic model has been transformed, and with it, India's growth performance. So much so that the last two years have brought both a widespread rethink on India’s prospects and a wave of foreign portfolio investment. This new-found optimism received something of a setback earlier this year, when there were sharp falls in Indian stocks markets. In a new paper that updates the analysis in his Lowy Paper 'India: the next economic giant', Mark Thirlwell takes another look at India's development model, evaluating both its strengths and its weaknesses and highlighting the idiosyncratic nature of India’s development path.

Koizumi's Legacy: Japan's New Politics, August 2006
Dr Malcolm Cook

In a new Analysis, Dr Malcolm Cook evaluates Prime Minister Koizumi's legacy for Japanese politics and international policy. Koizumi has rebuilt the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, moved the Japanese political system significantly to the right and reprioritised Japan's international policy. He has been Japan's most powerful, controversial and successful post-war prime minister.

Fuelling Confrontation: Iran, the US and the Oil Weapon, May 2006
Anthony Bubalo Dr Michael Fullilove Mark Thirlwell

In this new Lowy Institute Analysis, Anthony Bubalo, Michael Fullilove and Mark Thirlwell explore the prospect and implications of Iran's using oil as a weapon in its current confrontation with the international community over the nuclear issue.

The Testament of Solomons: RAMSI and International State-building, March 2006
Dr Michael Fullilove

In this new Analysis, Dr Michael Fullilove analyses the innovative Australian-led state-building exercise, the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI). The mission has made significant progress since its deployment in 2003, securing law and order, arresting the country’s perilous decline and placing it on a new trajectory. The next important tests for the mission will be the national election in Solomon Islands on 5 April and the formation of a new government in the following weeks.

RAMSI’s design is unique: preventive; permissive; regional in nature; nationally led; supported by the United Nations; non-sovereign; police led; and light in touch. This Analysis examines these characteristics and the implications for international state-building, and surveys RAMSI’s future challenges.

Global Macroeconomic Consequences of Pandemic Influenza, February 2006
Professor Warwick McKibbin and Dr Alexandra Sidorenko

In a major new Analysis, Professor Warwick McKibbin and Dr Alexandra Sidorenko explore the implications of a pandemic influenza outbreak on the global economy.

Their paper examines a range of scenarios (mild, moderate, severe and ultra) that span the historical experience of influenza pandemics of the twentieth century.

Their analysis finds that a pandemic would be expected to lead to: a fall in the labour force; an increase in the cost of doing business; a shift in consumer preferences; and a re-evaluation of country risk.

The paper finds that even a mild pandemic has significant consequences for global output, costing the world 1.4 million lives and approximately US$330 billion in lost output.

Multilateral Approaches to the Nuclear Fuel Cycle, August 2005
Lance Joseph

In the latest Lowy Institute Issues Brief, "Multilateral Approaches to the Nuclear Fuel Cycle", former Australian Governor on the Board of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Lance Joseph, addresses nuclear proliferation dangers of today and how these might be addressed. It would help, for example, if proliferation-sensitive technologies — enrichment and reprocessing — were put under multilateral control.

Australia, with its strong non-proliferation credentials, might take a leading role with a coalition of countries to build support for such an approach.

Angels and Dragons: Asia, the UN, reform and the next Secretary-General, July 2005
Dr Michael Fullilove

This Issues Brief assesses the relationship between the United Nations and Asia – both the UN's activities in Asia and the behaviour of Asian states at the UN. Dr Michael Fullilove, Program Director for Global Issues, reviews the current stances of the three major regional powers — China, India, and Japan — towards the UN, previews the September World Summit on UN reform, and examines the prospects for an Asian Secretary-General, which has the potential to thicken Asia's interactions with the UN.

Buying Air Warfare Destroyers: a Strategic Decision, June 2005
Professor Hugh White

The Government has chosen a builder for three new Air Warfare Destroyers [AWDs] before it has properly considered whether we really need to buy them, and how best to buy them if we do. At $6 billion it's the biggest defence equipment decision in fifteen years, so it needs more careful consideration. In fact AWDs are far from our highest defence priority; buying them would be a mistake, and squeeze more important Air and Army capabilities. And Defence's complex new acquisition process raises real risks that, if it goes ahead, the project will run into some of the same problems that have dogged the Collins submarines. Ministers need to look carefully before signing off on it.

Building a Democratic Palestine: an Australian Contribution to Legal and Institutional Development in the Palestinian Territories, May 2005
Anthony Bubalo

Legal and institutional reform in the Palestinian territories is a critical and often overlooked component of the effort to reach a peaceful settlement between Israel and the Palestinians. This Issues Brief by Anthony Bubalo explores the importance of such reforms in the context of current efforts to end violence against Israel and provide Palestinians with greater confidence in their economic and political future. It argues that Australia should join other donors in contributing what assistance it can to help Palestinians strengthen the rule of law and build strong public institutions.

Sensible Climate Policy, February 2005
Professor Warwick McKibbin

After almost 13 years of negotiations the Kyoto Protocol will finally enter into force on February 16, 2005. In a new Lowy Institute Issues Brief, Professorial Fellow Warwick McKibbin, one of the world's leading authorities on climate change policy, argues that Kyoto is likely to achieve very little in the quest to address the problem of climate change. Even worse, the Kyoto Protocol is so badly constructed that it has set back the quest for sensible and effective policy responses to climate change by at least a decade. The basic tenets on which the agreement is built are flawed, leaving it worryingly vulnerable to failure. In this Issues Brief Professor McKibbin outlines the requirements for a sustainable and realistic global response to climate change, describes the progress made so far in developing policy, outlines the flaws in the current Kyoto approach, and presents a more effective alternative.

India's Energy Needs, December 2004
Nick Hordern

India's exploding demand for energy is confronting New Delhi with two important dilemmas. India's internal dilemma is that to satisfy its energy needs, it must balance reform and expansion of its energy sector with the need to avoid alienating key domestic constituencies. The external dilemma derives from India's increasing reliance on imported energy against the backdrop of a hostile neighbourhood.

Nick Hordern analyses the consequences of India's exploding demand for energy and looks at some of the implications for Australia.

Energy Insecurity: China, India and Middle East Oil, December 2004
Anthony Bubalo Mark Thirlwell

Anthony Bubalo and Mark Thirlwell examine China and India's growing thirst for imported oil, particularly from the Middle East, and consider some of the possible longer term strategic implications associated with this trend in a new Lowy Institute Issues Brief.

The 'Khmer Islam' Community in Cambodia and Its Foreign Patrons, November 2004
Dr Milton Osborne

Dr Milton Osborne, Australia's pre-eminent Cambodia expert, in a new Lowy Institute Issues Brief, looks at the revival of Cambodia's Islamic minority in the post-Pol Pot period. After providing a detailed historical background of Khmer Islam and its social marginalisation, the report analyses the largely unreported role regional and Middle Eastern groups and Islamist doctrines are playing in this proposal. Cambodia's revival, as with the rest of Southeast Asia, is a complex mix of entrenched local factors and new regional and Middle Eastern influences.

Beyond Arafat, November 2004
Anthony Bubalo

Anthony Bubalo, research fellow, argues that Yasser Arafat's death could have longer term positive implications for both Palestinian political reform and efforts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but in the short term the impact will be more limited. Arafat's immediate successors will not be able to end the current chaos in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Nor are the fundamentals of the current impasse with Israel likely to be overcome.

Bush is from Mars, Kerry is from Mars too, October 2004
Dr Michael Fullilove

Although there are significant differences in style and substance between George Bush and John Kerry, the similarities in foreign policy terms are more striking than is sometimes understood.

From Australia's perspective, the fundamentals of our relationship with the US are excellent and the alliance will endure regardless of Tuesday's outcome.

However, argues Michael Fullilove in this Issues Brief, the temperature of the relationship will necessarily be affected by the result.

Transpacific Trade Imbalances: Causes and Cures, September 2004
Professor Warwick McKibbin

This Issues Brief by Professor Warwick McKibbin and others explores the causes of the transpacific trade imbalances using an empirical global model. It also evaluates the impact of various policies to reduce these imbalances.

We find the fundamental cause of trade imbalance since 1997 is changes in saving-investment gaps, attributed to the surge of the U.S. fiscal deficits and the decline of East Asia's private investment after the 1997 financial crisis.

An appreciation of East Asia exchange rates (including by China) alone will have an impact on economic activity in the appreciating economies, but does little to change the underlying savings and investment patterns and therefore has insignificant impact on the transpacific trade balance.

The Beijing 2008 Olympic Games: China in the limelight, August 2004
John Bowan

John Bowan, a former senior Australian foreign policy official, and consultant to Beijing's successful Olympic bid, examines how Beijing and China won the 2008 Games and what this will mean for China and its position in the world.

The 2008 Olympics will open China to unprecedented international scrutiny, with consequences that will range far beyond sport.

Israel's withdrawal from Gaza: a role for Australia? May 2004
Anthony Bubalo

This paper explores the possibility that further Australian military forces will be sought for the Middle East, in this case for a peacekeeping force in the Gaza Strip.

Despite the defeat of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's plan for a unilateral withdrawal from Gaza in a Likud Party referendum, the Israeli public will continue to press for a withdrawal, and, in all likelihood, it will occur. But the withdrawal process itself raises a number of questions and it is likely that international assistance, in the form of a small peacekeeping force, will be required. If this occurs, Australia may be sought out as one of only a few countries whose contribution would be acceptable to Israel and the Palestinians.

Election Watch. Japan's Party System: Shifting the Political Axis, Releasing Economic Reform, February 2004
Dr Malcolm Cook

This Issues Brief examines how changes to the Japanese political system, reflected in the November 9 election results, offer new hope for structural economic reforms that would benefit Australia

The Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement: A Preliminary Assessment, February 2004
Mark Thirlwell

On 8 February Australian Trade Minister Mark Vaile concluded an agreed text for an Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement. This Issues Brief provides a preliminary assessment of the agreement, based on the limited information now available.

The International Economy in 2003: Managing Economic Imbalances in An Integrated World, January 2004
Mark Thirlwell

This Issues Brief suggests that a key theme over the past year has been the management of external imbalances in a world economy that is not only increasingly integrated but which is simultaneously undergoing a sustained geographic shift in the distribution of economic weight towards Asia.

Revaluing the Renminbi: A Case of 'Deja Vu All Over Again?' November 2003
Mark Thirlwell

There are strong parallels between today’s US-China tensions over trade and US-Japan economic relations in the 1980s.



Source: Lowy Institute