Wednesday 24 Jul 2019 | 16:19 | SYDNEY
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Defence & Security

The strategic order and the nature of conflict are changing. Security competition between nations and military strategy are growing in complexity even as new transnational challenges deepen. The Lowy Institute’s experts in security and defence look at changing strategic relations, security architecture, nuclear strategy, military capabilities and defence and intelligence policy.

From the comments section: Chinese actions in the South China Sea

Featuring the best comments by Interpreter readers, as selected by the editors. A couple of excellent reader responses to Sam Roggeveen's post on Chinese actions in the South China Sea. First, Mishmael disagrees with Sam's proposal that China could pursue a less risky (and cheaper) 'rise' by

Malcolm Fraser taken to task for his Pine Gap claims

An addendum to the long interview I posted last Friday with former prime minister Malcolm Fraser. Fraser argues in his new book Dangerous Allies that the US listening post at Pine Gap in central Australia, known as the 'joint facilities', has evolved from a surveillance base designed to monitor

The China-Vietnam standoff: Three key factors

So, another maritime incident between China and one of its neighbours. There are reports from officials in Hanoi that Chinese and Vietnamese vessels collided on at least two separate occasions in the South China Sea on Sunday, in waters 120nm off the Vietnamese coast. The dispute began last

China escalates South China Sea dispute, but why?

Reuters reports on an escalation in China's dispute with Vietnam over control of contested waters in the South China Sea, with a Chinese state-owned oil company moving an oil rig into territory claimed by Vietnam: On Sunday, Vietnam said the coordinates of the rig put it in Vietnam's exclusive

Ukraine-Russia: Putin fans flames of invasion

Over the weekend and amid escalating tensions in Ukraine's eastern regions, the port-city of Odessa bore witness to harrowing scenes of anarchy which culminated in the death of 42 people in a blaze at the Trades Unions House. The mass media has portrayed this chaotic event as a post-football-

Defence budget: 2% is not a strategy

Andrew Carr is a Research Fellow, and Peter Dean is a Senior Research Fellow, at the Strategic & Defence Studies Centre, Australian National University. There's much we can agree with in Ric Smith's discussion of funding Defence at 2% of GDP. He is right to say that there is no science behind the 2

Jump jets for Australia?

It has just been pointed out to me that in his press conference of 23 April announcing the decision to buy 58 Joint Strike Fighters (JSFs) for the Royal Australian Air Force, Prime Minister Abbott made a tantalising reference to future additional purchases of the JSF. If it means what I think it

Interview: Malcolm Fraser on 'Dangerous Allies'

Yesterday I had a long and fascinating talk with former Australian prime minister Malcolm Fraser, who has just released Dangerous Allies, his new book calling for a substantially more independent Australian strategic posture. You can listen to the whole conversation below, but I have also

Snowden and the struggle for new cyber-surveillance rules

It's 7:15am and you're in a conference room, the same room you sit in every working morning. At the head of the table sits the head of your country's domestic security service. Pick a country, any country. Into that room walks a group of analysts and field investigators, and they lay a new problem

Why Bob Carr's book matters

It was all a trick. A simple scam played on a clueless tabloid media to sell more books. And didn't they oblige! As soon as Bob Carr's Diary of a Foreign Minister hit the shelves, they searched the book for scandal, and found a man apparently addicted to perks and privilege. The Daily Telegraph

The snows of war: A review of 'The Unknown Known'

It is a great shame that the excellent documentary dissection of the complicated and rather dangerous mind of former US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, The Unknown Known, has had such a limited release across the US this month. It undoubtedly has more to say about the nation's recent history

Australia all in with the Joint Strike Fighter

'Together with the Super Hornet and Growler electronic warfare aircraft, the F-35 aircraft will ensure Australia maintains a regional air combat edge', Prime Minister Abbott said today when he announced Australia would spend A$12 billion on 58 additional F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (14 are already on

Obama in Asia: Let the spin begin

Later today US President Barack Obama will begin a short tour through Asia, to Japan and South Korea in the north, and to Malaysia and the Philippines in the south. The punditry will be overwhelming and almost entirely self serving. Elites and interests of every stripe will tell Obama what to say,

Australia needs a cyber white paper

The idea of cyberspace as a common global good has yet to find its place in Australia.  Ensuring that sea lanes remain open for navigation throughout the Indo-Pacific was a prominent concern in the last Defence White Paper. Australia's condemnation of the Chinese ADIZ in November 2013 indicates

Mearsheimer's big question: Can China rise peacefully?

The University of Chicago's famed international relations theorist John Mearsheimer has generously updated, and posted free of charge, the epilogue to his legendary realist book The Tragedy of Great Power Politics. The original book, published in 2001, is frankly hard reading for any young IR or

From the comments: The ethics of leaking

Allan Behm, one of the participants in Monday's panel session on Snowden, WikiLeaks and the future of espionage, contributed this to the comments thread: Governments (should) set their own moral compass. It is important that government employees are ethical and moral. But they are not contracted

Debating Snowden, WikiLeaks and the future of espionage

It was a treat for me to host yesterday's panel discussion on Snowden, WikiLeaks and the Future of Espionage. It was a lively panel which engaged in sometimes passionate discussion on the ethics of leaking, the practical and moral limits of intelligence-gathering, and the implications of spying (

The rise of jihadism in Syria and Egypt

Launched last week, Anthony Bubalo's Next –gen Jihad in the Middle East has attracted much media attention for its argument that current conditions in the Middle East are worse than those that saw the emergence of al Qaeda.  As Lateline quipped, Syria could be the new Afghanistan. Listen to this

Abbott goes to Asia: The security dimension

Prime Minister Abbott poses with the leaders of the Chinese, Japanese and South Korean military efforts searching for MH370 at RAAF Base Pearce. Tony Abbott is about to depart on the most important international visit of his prime ministership thus far. Over the next week he will visit Japan,

Three reasons why North Korea continues to provoke

Yesterday North Korea conducted artillery exercises in the Yellow Sea (West Sea). Approximately one hundred rounds feel across the border, prompting the South to counter-fire and scramble F-15s to the area (here is a useful write-up of the incident). South Korean residents of local islands were

Egypt, Sisi and the next generation of jihadists

At the end of last week, Egyptian military chief Field Marshall Abdel Fattah el-Sisi announced that he would be resigning his military post to run for this year's presidential elections, expected to take place in May. It is a move that has been mooted for months now, and has at its origins the

Anti-piracy effort marks China's rise as global power

Here's a major piece of research from the US Naval War College about China's participation in Gulf of Aden anti-piracy operations over the last four-plus years. It's from November last year but very much still worth flagging. It's incredibly thorough, covering everything from operational lessons to

Next-gen jihad in the Middle East

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. 

Law and strategy in the Crimea crisis

Lawrence Freedman argues that 'The basic challenge of crisis management is to protect core interests while avoiding major war'. He lists some major lessons from the Ukrainian crisis: One main difference between Cold War crisis management and the 21st Century is the importance of the economic

Xi Jinping consolidates his control of PLA

Chinese President Xi Jinping's consolidation of power in military affairs has picked up over the past week. On Saturday state media reported that Xi is to lead a group in charge of deepening military reform. Xi already heads up similar bodies on economic reform and runs the newly established

Is India 'losing' the Bay of Bengal?

Is the Bay of Bengal the next strategic locus for Sino-Indian strategic competition? Prominent strategic commentator Raja Mohan recently lamented that India was on the point of 'losing' the Bay of Bengal to China. The occasion of his complaint was the attendance by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan

The real military game-changer: Hypersonic weapons 101

Harry Kazianis, a non-resident Senior Fellow at the China Policy Institute (University of Nottingham) and Managing Editor of the Washington, DC-based international affairs publication The National Interest interviewed John Stillion, a Senior Fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary

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