In their final episode for 2021, Allan and Darren kick things off by discussing President Biden’s “Summit for Democracy”. Having debated the merits of democracy as a foreign policy organising principle in Episode 77, they now ask: was the actual summit a net positive, despite controversies prior to and during proceedings? It seems clear Beijing was displeased, but Allan and Darren partially disagree on whether a “competition of systems” is the right frame to understand these dynamics. Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Tony Blinken rolled out the Biden administration’s much-anticipated Indo-Pacific Strategy – but was there much there?
Next up, PM Scott Morrison hosted South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in, the first visit of a foreign leader to Australia since borders closed. Was this a significant visit, and was it more about geopolitics, or economics? How much scope is there for cooperation between Australia and South Korea?
Third, Australia does appear to be participating in a political boycott of the Beijing Olympics, but PM Morrison’s announcement of this decision was rather unorthodox. What’s going on, and can such boycotts be effective? Darren is interested in how the case of Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai is elevating public visibility of human rights issues, creating extra pressure on Beijing, and the International Olympic Committee (IOC), as the February games approach.
Finally, both the Olympic boycott and, prior to that, the momentous AUKUS decision were not announced to the public with speeches or formal statements. Is this a growing trend in the public articulation of Australian foreign policy? Does it matter?
Best wishes for the holiday season to all, we’ll be back in 2022!
US Department of State, “Summit for Democracy”: https://www.state.gov/further-information-the-summit-for-democracy/#Summit
“Joe Biden’s Summit for Democracy is not all that democratic”, The Economist, 6 December 2021: https://www.economist.com/graphic-detail/2021/12/06/joe-bidens-summit-for-democracy-is-not-all-that-democratic
Humeyra Pamuk and Michael Martina, David Brunnstrom, “The curious case of a map and a disappearing Taiwan minister at U.S. democracy summit”, Reuters, 13 December 2021: https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/curious-case-map-disappearing-taiwan-minister-us-democracy-summit-2021-12-12/
Scott Morrison, “Virtual address: Summit for democracy”, 11 December 2021: https://www.pm.gov.au/media/virtual-address-summit-democracy
Jessica Brandt, tweet regarding Hamilton 2.0 dashboard data on Chinese mentions of democracy summit, 13 December 2021: https://twitter.com/jessbrandt/status/1470432173199134722
Mareike Ohlberg and Bonnie Glaser, “Why China Is Freaking Out Over Biden’s Democracy Summit”, Foreign Policy, 10 December 2021: https://foreignpolicy.com/2021/12/10/china-response-biden-democracy-summit/
National Security Podcast, “How the Chinese Communist Party sees China’s place in the world”, 9 December 2021: https://www.policyforum.net/national-security-podcast-how-the-chinese-communist-party-sees-chinas-place-in-the-world/
Xi Jinping, “What's the fundamental reason for China's growing strength? in Governance of China: https://www.cgtn.com/how-china-works/news/2021-05-05/What-s-the-fundamental-reason-for-China-s-growing-strength--ZZS93ixp2E/share.html
Lowy Institute Poll, “Democracy”: https://poll.lowyinstitute.org/themes/democracy/
Secretary Blinken’s Remarks on a Free and Open Indo-Pacific, Fact Sheet, US Department of State, 13 December 2021: https://www.state.gov/fact-sheet-secretary-blinkens-remarks-on-a-free-and-open-indo-pacific/
PM Morrison and President Moon, Joint Press Conference transcript, 13 December 2021: https://www.pm.gov.au/media/press-conference-canberra-act-32
Stephen Dziedzic, “Is South Korean President Moon Jae-in's visit more about geopolitics or commerce?”, ABC News, 14 December 2021: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-12-14/south-korea-president-moon-jae-in-visit-analysis/100699582
Scott Morrison, Press Conference, Penshurst NSW, 8 December 2021: https://www.pm.gov.au/media/press-conference-penshurst-nsw
Li Yuan, “Its Human Rights Record in Question, China Turns to an Old Friend”, New York Times, 14 December 2021: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/12/14/business/china-olympics-peng-shuai-samaranch.html
“Beijing Winter Olympics boycott is insignificant, says Macron”, BBC News, 9 December 2021: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-59599063
Oliver Burkeman, Four Thousand Weeks: Time and How to Use it, Penguin: https://www.penguin.com.au/books/four-thousand-weeks-9781847924018
Olivia Rodrigo, Good 4 U: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=byfiQA8HRaE
Sufjan Stevens, Once in Royal David’s City: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UwsLARZN6ro