April 23, 2020

Ep. 45: The WHO; “mask diplomacy”; DFAT & Covid-19

Covid-19 remains central to the news this week. Allan and Darren begin with President Trump’s decision to freeze U.S. funding to the World Health Organization, and assess the validity his criticisms. Australia’s Foreign Minister Marise Payne has proposed an inquiry, but is there even an alternative? And does this case tell us anything new about great power rivalry and the future of the international order?

Darren is curious to explore the concept of “mask diplomacy”, a term used to describe deliveries of equipment and supplies by China to other countries stricken by the coronavirus. How should we think about this form of statecraft, and how novel is it, really?

In the final segment, Darren asks Allan to explain what’s behind a change in DFAT’s organisation chart, with many new senior positions being created as part of the whole-of-government response to Covid-19. Allan describes some of the many things the department is doing, and also weighs in on a (small) controversy regarding the recall of Australia’s ambassador to Indonesia.

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

We thank AIIA intern Maddie Gordon for her help with research and audio editing, XC Chong for research support, and Rory Stenning for composing our theme music.

Relevant links

Jeff Mason and Steve Holland, “Trump halts World Health Organization funding amid coronavirus pandemic”, Reuters, 15 April: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-trump-who/trump-halts-world-health-organization-funding-amid-coronavirus-pandemic-idUSKCN21W34Y

Brett Worthington, “Marise Payne calls for global inquiry into China's handling of the coronavirus outbreak”, ABC News, 19 April: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-04-19/payne-calls-for-inquiry-china-handling-of-coronavirus-covid-19/12162968

Geoff Raby, “Why the bell must toll for WHO chief Tedros”, Australian Financial Review, 17 April: https://www.afr.com/policy/foreign-affairs/why-the-bell-must-toll-for-who-chief-tedros-20200417-p54kpe

Alexander Downer, “China must be held to account for unleashing a global catastrophe”, Australian Financial Review, 19 April: https://www.afr.com/policy/foreign-affairs/china-must-be-held-to-account-for-unleashing-a-global-catastrophe-20200419-p54l3o

Allan Gyngell, “Australia in a post-Covid-19 world”, East Asia Forum, 29 March: https://www.eastasiaforum.org/2020/03/29/australia-in-a-post-covid-19-world/

Ilyana Kuziemko and Eric Werker, “How Much Is a Seat on the Security Council Worth? Foreign Aid and Bribery at the United Nations”, Journal of Political Economy 114(5) (2006), pp. 905-930: https://scholar.princeton.edu/sites/default/files/kuziemko/files/kuziemko_werker.pdf

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Organisation Chart, April 2020: https://www.dfat.gov.au/sites/default/files/dfat-org-chart-19-april.pdf

Amanda Hodge, “Coronavirus: Canberra ‘condescending’ over withdrawal of ambassador to Indonesia”, The Australian, 16 April: https://www.theaustralian.com.au/world/canberra-condescending-over-withdrawal-of-ambassador-to-indonesia/news-story/282edc6f297cead2c78197fdfa07cf93

Peter Edwards, “Law, Politics and Intelligence: A life of Robert Hope”, NewSouth: https://www.newsouthbooks.com.au/books/biography-robert-marsden-hope-qc/ 

Knives Out (film): https://www.imdb.com/title/tt8946378/

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