On this week’s episode, Allan and Darren kick things off with an in-depth discussion of Australian Prime Minister’s Scott Morrison's recent foreign policy speech, delivered a few days before his attendance at the G20 Leaders’ Summit in Osaka. Darren asks Allan to situate the speech in Morrison’s trajectory as Prime Minister, and to describe how speeches like this are prepared. The substance itself was especially fascinating, including China’s apparent new status as a “great and powerful friend”, Morrison’s argument that the post-war order has been an important protector of state sovereignty, and his claim that Australia retains agency to shape international affairs.

The second item on the agenda is the results from the latest Lowy Institute poll of the Australian public’s attitudes towards foreign policy and international affairs. As the founding Executive Director of the Lowy Institute under whose leadership the poll was first developed, Allan outlines why he saw such a poll as being necessary and what we have learned from it over time. The latest results include generally positive sentiments towards the United States (excepting Donald Trump), but increasing scepticism towards China. Finally, the two finish with the seemingly gloomy outcomes of the G20 Leaders’ Summit, although Darren attempts to use game theory to try retain a glimmer of optimism.

As always, we invite our listeners to email us at this address: australia.world.pod@gmail.com We welcome feedback, requests and suggestions. You can also contact Darren on twitter @limdarrenj

Our thanks go to AIIA intern Charlie Henshall for his help with audio editing, Rory Stenning for composing our theme music, and Martyn Pearce for in-studio technical support this week.

Relevant links

Scott Morrison, “Where we live”, Asialink-Bloomberg Address: https://www.pm.gov.au/media/where-we-live-asialink-bloomberg-address

Lowy Institute Poll 2019: https://www.lowyinstitute.org/publications/lowy-institute-poll-2019

Shiro Armstrong, “The rules-based economic disorder after Osaka G20”, East Asia Forum: https://www.eastasiaforum.org/2019/06/30/the-rules-based-economic-disorder-after-osaka-g20/  

Merriden Varrall, “Temper our optimism: the message from the G20 Leaders’ Summit in Osaka”, Lowy Interpreter: http://m.lowyinstitute.org/the-interpreter/temper-our-optimism-message-g20-leaders-summit-osaka

Hugh White, “How to Defend Australia”, book review by Sam Roggeveen in the Lowy Interpreter: https://www.lowyinstitute.org/the-interpreter/book-review-hugh-white-s-how-defend-australia

Arthur C. Brooks, “Your Professional Decline Is Coming (Much) Sooner Than You Think”, The Atlantic: https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2019/07/work-peak-professional-decline/590650/

Allan and Darren commence this episode by discussing the enormous protests in Hong Kong against a proposed extradition law. How has Australia viewed Hong Kong’s trajectory prior to and following its handover to the PRC in 1997, and up to the present? Is it surprising that the Hong Kong government backed down, and what do these events tell us about Hong Kong’s future? Do other governments, including Australia’s, have any capacity to shape what will happen?

The Shangri-La dialogue is next on the agenda. Allan begins by explaining what it is and why it is relevant to watchers of Australian foreign policy. Then, the major theme of this year’s dialogue--growing anxiety at US-China competition--is covered through the lens of the opening address by the host, Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. To what extent do Lee’s remarks accurately diagnose the problem, and reflect the mood of the region?

Finally, as tensions escalate between the United States and Iran, Darren asks Allan for an Australian perspective, and they both wonder whether the mercurial Trump needs a traditional “off-ramp” to get the United States out of this crisis. 

As always, we invite our listeners to email us at this address: australia.world.pod@gmail.com We welcome feedback, requests and suggestions. You can also contact Darren on twitter @limdarrenj

Our thanks go to AIIA intern Charlie Henshall for his help with audio editing, and Rory Stenning for composing our theme music.

Relevant links

Tyler Cowen. “What Hong Kong’s Freedom Means to the World”, Bloomberg: https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2019-06-12/hong-kong-protests-show-the-limits-of-economic-freedom

Marise Payne, “Statement on protests in Hong Kong”: https://foreignminister.gov.au/releases/Pages/2019/mp_mr_190612a.aspx

Milia Hau, “Britain failed Hong Kong”, Foreign Policy: https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/06/12/britain-failed-hong-kong/

Lee Hsien Loong’s opening address to the 2019 Shangri-La Dialogue: https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/lee-hsien-loong-speech-2019-shangri-la-dialogue-11585954  

Florence Parly, “Speech at the Shangri-La Dialogue”: https://in.ambafrance.org/French-Defence-Minister-Florence-Parly-s-speech-at-the-Shangri-La-Dialogue

We are very excited to bring you a special interview this episode with Rebecca Skinner, Associate Secretary of Australia’s Department of Defence, and therefore one of the most senior women working on Australia’s national security. It is a wide-ranging conversation that covers topics including the nature of the Associate Secretary role, civil-military relationships inside the department, the never-ending question of reform, gender issues, and contrasts between private and public sector organisations. Allan and Darren also pose big picture questions on the disrupted strategic environment and how to better integrate Australia’s national security community. On the lighter side, the $400 ash tray from the TV show “The West Wing” and (perhaps) its Australian equivalent – a flute – also come up.

As always, we invite our listeners to email us at this address: australia.world.pod@gmail.com We welcome feedback, requests and suggestions. You can also contact Darren on twitter @limdarrenj

Our thanks go to AIIA intern Charlie Henshall for his help with audio editing, Rory Stenning for composing our theme music, and Martyn Pearce for technical assistance in setting up this episode.

Relevant links

Rebecca Skinner’s biography: http://defence.gov.au/leaders/MsRebeccaSkinner.asp

The West Wing: “Four hundred dollar ashtray”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7R9kH_HOUXM

It’s been a busy few weeks in Australia and the world, and in a full episode Allan and Darren begin with the restrictions announced by the Trump Administration on the sale of technology to Huawei, and what this means for US-China competition. They pivot closer to home to Papua New Guinea and the resignation of its Prime Minister. Next, they reflect upon four election results: Australia, India, Indonesia and the European Union, and then turn to the announcement of two new Australian Ambassadors to the United States and the United Nations, both ex-politicians. Finally, Allan remembers Prime Minister Bob Hawke.

As always, we invite our listeners to email us at this address: australia.world.pod@gmail.com We welcome feedback, requests and suggestions. You can also contact Darren on twitter @limdarrenj

Our thanks go to Charlie Henshall for his help with audio editing, and Rory Stenning for composing our theme music.

Relevant links

Darren Lim and Victor Ferguson, “Huawei and the decoupling dilemma”: https://www.lowyinterpreter.org/the-interpreter/huawei-and-decoupling-dilemma

Angus Grigg, Lisa Murray and Jonathan Shaprio, “Revealed: PNG PM Peter O’Neill’s ‘very bad’ Oil Search deal”: https://www.afr.com/news/policy/foreign-affairs/revealed-png-pm-peter-o-neill-s-very-bad-oil-search-deal-20190523-p51qhk

BBC Brexitcast podcast episode, “From Tusk ‘til Dawn”: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p07bf8pv

Allan Gyngell, “Bob Hawke and Australian foreign policy”: https://www.lowyinterpreter.org/the-interpreter/bob-hawke-and-australian-foreign-policy

Review of The National album, “I am easy to find”: https://www.theguardian.com/music/2019/may/17/the-national-i-am-easy-to-find-review

Thaddeus t. grugq, “A kompromat mystery”: https://medium.com/@thegrugq/a-kompromat-mystery-29caa1fd94a2 ;

“Kompromat of solace: Timeline”: https://medium.com/@thegrugq/kompromat-of-solace-timeline-fbdd33c4a75c ;

“Kompromat of solace: Operations”: https://medium.com/@thegrugq/kompromat-of-solace-operations-408d1e1480b6

With the Australian federal election happening on Saturday 18 May, in this episode Allan and Darren follow the practice of all government departments in preparing an “incoming government brief”: a document presented to the new (or returning) minister for each department, for the purpose of providing a descriptive overview of what the department does, and highlighting the most important issues facing that particular portfolio as the new term commences.

Allan and Darren’s brief contains three “chapters”. Chapter 1 is on the structure of national security and foreign policy making, and the discussion turns on the best way of coordinating decision-making given the complex challenges faced in Australia’s international relations. Chapter 2 is on Donald Trump, where Allan and Darren largely agree on the impact of the Trump presidency on the world so far, but diverge slightly in their resulting degree of pessimism. Chapter 3 is on China, where the disagreement is more on the quality of Australia’s policy response to this most difficult set of policy dilemmas. Along the way, the two discuss recent events relating to Iran, the White House’s contrasting approaches to diplomacy, the second Belt and Road Forum and the US-China trade war.

As always, we invite our listeners to email us at this address: australia.world.pod@gmail.com We welcome feedback, requests and suggestions. You can also contact Darren on twitter @limdarrenj

Our thanks go to AIIA intern Charlie Henshall for his help with audio editing, and Rory Stenning for composing our theme music.

Relevant links

“Morrison says 'no difference' with Bishop on China relationship”, SBS News: https://www.sbs.com.au/news/morrison-says-no-difference-with-bishop-on-china-relationship

Tyler Cowen, “How real news is worse than fake news”, Bloomberg: https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2018-09-05/how-real-news-is-worse-than-fake-news

Adam Tooze, “Is this the end of the American century”, London Review of Books: https://www.lrb.co.uk/v41/n07/adam-tooze/is-this-the-end-of-the-american-century

Tanner Greer, “The utterly dysfunctional Belt and Road”, Scholar’s Stage Blog: http://scholars-stage.blogspot.com/2019/05/the-utterly-dysfunctional-belt-and-road.html

Andrew Batson, “The Belt and Road is about domestic interest groups not development”: https://andrewbatson.com/2019/05/02/the-belt-and-road-is-about-domestic-interest-groups-not-development/

Nadege Rolland, “Beijing’s response to the Belt and Road Initiative’s ‘pushback’, Asian Affairs (currently free to access): https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/03068374.2019.1602385?scroll=top&needAccess=true&

In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, Allan and Darren focus this episode on understanding and responding to the challenges posed by these types of attacks. How has Sri Lanka typically been viewed through the lens of Australian foreign policy, and do these attacks change that? How should we understand these attacks through the lens of the broader challenge of Islamic extremism and what policy responses are available? What role do DFAT and other security agencies play? And do these attacks cast the issue of foreign fighters—with which Australia has been grappling in recent years—in a different light? Allan concludes the episode with some thoughts why foreign policy challenges tend to be downplayed or ignored during Australian election seasons.

As always, we invite our listeners to email us at this address: australia.world.pod@gmail.com We welcome feedback, requests and suggestions. You can also contact Darren on twitter @limdarrenj

Our thanks go to AIIA intern Charlie Henshall for his help both with research and audio editing, and Rory Stenning for composing our theme music.

Relevant links

Lydia Khalil, “Islamic State's three tactics that will bring terror closer to home”: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-04-27/is-3-tactics-that-will-bring-terror-closer-to-home/11046346

Hilary McGeachy, “US-China technology competition: Impacting a rules-based order”: https://www.ussc.edu.au/analysis/us-china-technology-competition-impacting-a-rules-based-order

Sue Halpern, “The terrifying potential of the 5G network”: https://www.newyorker.com/news/annals-of-communications/the-terrifying-potential-of-the-5g-network

David French, “The great battle of Winterfell”: https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/the-great-battle-of-winterfell/

Claire Cain Miller (NYT Upshot), “Women Did Everything Right. Then Work Got ‘Greedy’”: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/26/upshot/women-long-hours-greedy-professions.html

On this week’s episode, Allan and Darren begin on the topic of geoeconomics, which is a core focus of Darren’s research. Allan first offers his practitioner’s perspective on the definition and context of the term, with Darren following with his academic view. Both recognise that nation-states have long been practicing geoeconomic activities, but that the increasing prominence of the term very much reflects the particular challenges of the present moment. A recent Wall Street Journal story on Myanmar’s successful renegotiation of infrastructure contracts with Chinese financiers becomes the focal point of a discussion of the strategic consequences of economic activity, which in turn sees Allan and Darren debate whether the Sri Lankan port of Hambantota and the Australian port of Darwin indeed harbour such strategic significance as to warrant the geoeconomic frame. The discussion rounds out with Darren asking Allan for his advice on how future Australian governments can integrate geoeconomic approaches into future policy.

Finally, the very high-profile case of Julian Assange, as well as two other members of the Australian community (Hakeem al-Araibi and Yang Hengjun) shine a spotlight on the consular work of Australian diplomats. What is the decision-making calculus the government, and consular officials on the ground, take when deciding whether and how to make representations on behalf of Australians who somehow fall afoul of local authorities while abroad?

As always, we invite our listeners to email us at this address: australia.world.pod@gmail.com We welcome feedback, requests and suggestions. You can also contact Darren on twitter @limdarrenj

Our thanks go to AIIA intern Charlie Henshall for his help both with research and audio editing, and Rory Stenning for composing our theme music.

Relevant links

Wall Street Journal: “U.S. Goes on the Offensive Against China’s Empire-Building Funding Plan” : https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-goes-on-the-offensive-against-chinas-empire-building-megaplan-11554809402

Robert Kagan, “The strongmen strike back”: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/opinions/wp/2019/03/14/feature/the-strongmen-strike-back/?utm_term=.38b19f87a8fa

theringer.com “Talk the thrones” (Season 8, Ep 1 recap): https://www.theringer.com/game-of-thrones/2019/4/14/18308095/talk-the-thrones-game-of-thrones-season-8-episode-1

Vox.com “Who will win Game of Thrones, explained by political science”: https://www.vox.com/culture/2019/4/15/18311189/game-of-thrones-season-8-episode-1-recap-war

We delayed discussing Brexit until after the 29 March 2019 “deadline”, but that day came and went with no further clarity on what will happen, and the show must go on! Allan and Darren discuss this incredibly complex issue along multiple dimensions. They begin with a contextual analysis of the European Union, with Allan offering a view through the lens of Australian foreign policy, while Darren provides an academic perspective on logic of the EU as an international institution. Allan evaluates David Cameron’s decision to call the Brexit referendum in the manner that he did (contrasting it with John Howard’s referendum on an Australian republic) while Darren tries to understand the arguments for Brexit, from reclaiming sovereignty and control to expressing frustration with the modern world. The Northern Ireland issue is covered, and Allan concludes by summarising the entire mess from an Australian perspective.

The two then discuss the recent announcement of $44m in funding for the new National Foundation for Australia-China Relations, to replace the Australia-China Council, and what contribution these organisations make towards building bilateral relations. Finally, with a new Australian Ambassador to China announced, Darren asks Allan to describe what must be the hardest job in all of DFAT!

As always, we invite our listeners to email us at this address: australia.world.pod@gmail.com We welcome feedback, requests and suggestions. You can also contact Darren on twitter @limdarrenj

Our thanks go to AIIA intern Charlie Henshall for his help both with research and audio editing, and Rory Stenning for composing our theme music.

Relevant links

Brexit: The Uncivil War (Trailer): https://www.channel4.com/programmes/brexit-the-uncivil-war

The Brexit Storm (BBC): https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0003wxb

“Strengthening the Future of the Australia-China Relationship”, Australian Foreign Minister's Media Release: https://foreignminister.gov.au/releases/Pages/2019/mp_mr_190329a.aspx?w=E6pq%2FUhzOs%2BE7V9FFYi1xQ%3D%3D

We are delighted to bring you a special edition of the podcast, a recording of a live event at which Allan Gygnell moderated a panel discussion on the topic: “Towards reinvigorating Australian foreign policy studies”.

The 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper highlighted how forces of change are challenging the rules-based global order upon which Australia’s security and prosperity has depended since the Second World War. At this moment of uncertainty in Australian foreign policy, how well-equipped are Australian academics to contribute to navigating a way forward? Asking this question invites reflection on the state of foreign policy studies in Australia as well as the extent to which the study and practice of foreign policy are (or could, or even should be) connected.

The Panel was comprised of three very distinguished guests:

  • Professor Valerie M. Hudson, the ANU Vice Chancellor’s “Australia in the World” Visiting Fellow and Professor and George H.W. Bush Chair in the Department of International Affairs of the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University;
  • Mark Kenny, Senior Fellow at the ANU Australian Studies Institute and former chief political correspondent and national affairs editor of The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, and The Canberra Times; and
  • Professor Jacqui True, Professor of Politics & International Relations and an Australian Research Council Future Fellow at Monash University.

The event was held on Thursday 14 March 2019 on campus at the Australian National University, in partnership with the ANU Australian Studies Institute and the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific. It was the concluding event of a day-long conference on the topic of Australian Foreign Policy Studies chaired by Professor Hudson and Professor Michael Wesley, Dean of the College of Asia and the Pacific (from whom you will also hear from on the podcast).

Our thanks go to Martyn Pearce of the Crawford School for his production and editing support.

Relevant links

Event page: http://asiapacific.anu.edu.au/cap-events/2019-03-14/towards-reinvigorating-australian-foreign-policy-studies

Valerie’s bio: http://www.vmrhudson.org/

Mark’s bio: http://ausi.anu.edu.au/people/mark-kenny

Jacqui’s bio: https://research.monash.edu/en/persons/jacqui-true

The impact of nuclear weapons is the major theme this week. Darren begins by asking Allan for his practitioner’s perspective on the question whether nukes are a stabilising force in international affairs. The discussion then moves to North Korea: what were Allan’s expectations in the leadup to the recent summit in Hanoi between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un, and where does the world stand now? Are we in a better position on this issue than we were when Trump took office? Does it matter that Kim was granted international legitimacy through his participation at the Singapore and Hanoi summits?

The latest on the India-Pakistan tensions follows, with a particular focus on the logic of “off-ramps” in crisis situations like these, and the role of “fake news” in creating them. Darren cannot decide whether fictional narratives are a good or a bad thing in these precarious situations, while Allan offers insight into the meaningful role Australia can play in tense situations involving Pakistan.

Finally, a free trade agreement between Australia and Indonesia has finally been signed and awaits ratification. What took everyone so long?

As always, we invite our listeners to email us at this address: australia.world.pod@gmail.com We welcome feedback, requests and suggestions. You can also contact Darren on twitter @limdarrenj

Our thanks go to AIIA intern Charlie Henshall for his help both with research and audio editing, and Rory Stenning for composing our theme music.

Relevant links

Kenneth Waltz, “Why Iran Should Get the Bomb” in Foreign Affairs: https://www.acsu.buffalo.edu/~fczagare/PSC%20504/Waltz.pdf

Christine Fair, “India’s and Pakistan’s Lies Thwarted a War—For Now” in the Atlantic: https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2019/03/india-pakistan-kargil-kashmir/584392/

“Pakistani army chief reaches out to Australia, UK” in the Sydney Morning Herald: www.smh.com.au/world/pakistani-army-chief-reaches-out-to-australia-uk-20190301-p511bx.html?btis  

DiploPod interview with Evan Feigenbaum: https://player.fm/series/diplopod/where-is-the-us-china-relationship-going

Red flags: Why Xi’s China is in jeopardy by George Magnus: https://georgemagnus.com/tag/red-flags/

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