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/

This week Allan and Darren begin their discussion with a focus on the Five Eyes intelligence grouping, which has been thrust into the limelight after US Secretary of State Pompeo’s warning that allowing Huawei’s participation in 5G infrastructure could jeopardise intelligence cooperation. Allan explains the history and purpose of the grouping, and both question what United States can and should be trying to achieve on this issue.

Australian coal exports are next on the agenda, the question being whether reports of delays at the Chinese port of Dalian reflect political interference or something else, such as good old fashioned protectionism. Would that be ‘better’ than economic coercion? The discussion evolves into a reflection on how China is often treated as a “unitary actor” when, in reality, policy coordination is exceptionally difficult and one should be cautious when imputing grand strategic precision behind reports like these.  

Darren then asks Allan to provide some context for how the Australian government approaches the question of sovereign recognition, given Australia has joined with the United States and others in recognising the leader of the Venezuelan opposition as the country’s interim head of state. Finally, the discussion turns to breaking news of brewing conflict between India and Pakistan, which no doubt will be a larger focus in the next episode!

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

Julia Limitone, “Pompeo slams Huawei: US won't partner with countries that use its technolog”, Fox Business: https://www.foxbusiness.com/technology/pompeo-slams-huawei-us-wont-partner-with-countries-that-use-its-technology

Financial Times piece quoting Robert Hannigan: “UK says Huawei is manageable risk to 5G”: https://www.ft.com/content/619f9df4-32c2-11e9-bd3a-8b2a211d90d5

Reuters piece reporting on Australian coal bans at Dalian Port, “Exclusive: China's Dalian port bans Australian coal imports, sets 2019 quota – source” :  https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-australia-coal-exclusive/exclusive-chinas-dalian-port-bans-australian-coal-imports-sets-2019-quota-source-idUSKCN1QA0F1

The Spy and the Traitor, by Ben Macintyre: https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/253399/the-spy-and-the-traitor-by-ben-macintyre/9781101904190

(An even-handed) review of Stranger Things 2, by Alan Sepinwall: https://uproxx.com/sepinwall/stranger-things-2-review-netflix-second-season/

In this first podcast recording of 2019, Allan Gyngell and Darren Lim use the opportunity provided by the new year to look back at 2018 and ask how the events of the past 12 months have shaped their worldviews. Allan focuses on the speed in which the international system is changing, while Darren wonders at the extent to which political institutions are able to moderate some of the wilder swings in politics and policy within democracies across the globe.

On the topic of Australia’s performance in 2018, while there is no doubt that the government was focused very much on itself for much of the year, the two disagree on whether, overall, Australia could still have performed better in its foreign policy. Allan is less forgiving, while Darren wonders whether the structural constraints were too great for any government to overcome.

Looking forward, the two discuss Sino-US relations and in particular the common challenges faced by Australia and its partners in managing the trade-offs in relations with China. Allan is also keenly watching the impact of science and technology on competition between nation-states, and Darren wonders whether both governments and the general public may rapidly change their approach to using and regulating social media.

As always, we invite our listeners to email us: australia.world.pod {at} gmail.com with any feedback, requests and suggestions. You can also connect with Darren on twitter: @limdarrenj 

We want to thank outgoing AIIA interns Stephanie Rowell and Mani Bovell for their outstanding help in getting the podcast up and running last year. We also welcome new AIIA intern Charles Henshall and thank him for his assistance. Rory Stenning composed our theme music.

 

Relevant links

 A World on Edge: The End of the Great War and the Dawn of a New Age, by Daniel Schonpflug: https://www.amazon.com/World-Edge-End-Great-Dawn/dp/1627797629

“The Argument”, a podcast from the New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/column/the-argument

January 9, 2019

Ep. 11: Dennis Richardson

In this very special episode of the podcast (the final recording of 2018), Allan and Darren interview Dennis Richardson, one of the most distinguished public servants in Australia’s history. Dennis is the only person to have served in the following positions: Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister (Bob Hawke); Director General of Security (including during the 9/11 attacks); Australian Ambassador to the United States; and Secretary to both the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Department of Defence.

Dennis and Allan both joined the then Department of External Affairs as graduates in 1969 and, as you will hear, much has changed, and much is still the same! Dennis offers his thoughts on a wide-ranging set of issues including the centralisation and securitsation of foreign policy, an assessment of the United States under Trump, the “economics versus security” debate in Australia, and what qualities political leaders need to be successful in navigating today’s complex world.

A reminder: 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

We give our warmest thanks to outgoing AIIA interns Stephanie Rowell and Mani Bovell for their stellar support in helping us launch the podcast. We also thank Martyn Pearce of the ANU’s Crawford School, Rory Stenning for composing our theme music, and AIIA CEO Melissa Conley-Tyler.

Stay tuned for new episodes in the weeks ahead!

In the penultimate episode of Australia in the World for 2018, Darren interviews Danielle Cave and Tom Uren, both of whom work on cyber issues at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI). The conversation (recorded in late October) steers away from the current news of the day, instead taking a macro perspective on this emerging issue. What does the term “cyber” even mean? Why should Australian policymakers, and indeed ordinary Australians, care about the issue? What are the major policy areas where attention is needed? How should we resolve the tension between the need to regulate activity in cyberspace to improve the medium and its users’ welfare, versus the risks to free flows of information and exchange that increasingly interventionist and heavy-handed governments might pose?

In the realm of international affairs, what are the major sites of contestation between major powers in cyber? How does Australia’s vision of a “open, free and secure internet” contrast with notions of “cyber sovereignty” pushed by governments such as China’s? Finally, what do we now know about the risks posed by “disinformation” using cyber means, especially with respect to elections? How are the social media companies responding, and to what extent should governments involve themselves? What might Australia’s vulnerabilities be to cyber voter interference?

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

As always, our thanks go to AIIA interns Stephanie Rowell and Mani Bovell, Martyn Pearce of the ANU’s Crawford School, Rory Stenning for composing our theme music, and AIIA CEO Melissa Conley-Tyler.

Relevant links

Danielle’s bio: https://www.aspi.org.au/bio/danielle-cave

Tom’s bio: https://www.aspi.org.au/bio/tom-uren

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