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  • Author: Evan A. Laksmana
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: A maritime realignment of Australia–Indonesia defence relations could shape the broader Indo-Pacific security architecture and provide an additional strategic hedge for both countries. One of the key prerequisites for the implementation and sustainability of the newly announced Indonesia–Australia Comprehensive Strategic Partnership is the stabilisation of bilateral defence relations. To achieve such sustainability, bilateral defence engagement should focus on joint maritime challenges. Canberra should formulate long-term plans to assist the modernisation of Indonesia’s armed forces with a focus on maritime security operations, and should increase the number and scope of maritime exercises.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Military Strategy, Bilateral Relations, Armed Forces
  • Political Geography: Indonesia, Australia, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: Bobo Lo
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: Putin’s foreign policy will remain grounded in long-standing assumptions about Russia, the West, and international order. There will be broad continuity in Russian foreign policy over the course of Vladimir Putin’s current presidential term. Any policy changes will be stylistic, not transformative. The Kremlin is committed to asserting Russia as a global power, although it will be tactically flexible in pursuing this ambition. Putin will present different faces to the West: sometimes accommodating, at other times assertive and even confrontational. But there will be no compromise on core principles.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Government, Grand Strategy, Vladimir Putin
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia
  • Author: Malcolm Cook
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: Australia’s dialogue partner relationship with ASEAN is more suitable for Australian interests in Southeast Asia than the idea of ASEAN membership. Australian membership in ASEAN is currently not possible. Australia’s dialogue partner relationship with ASEAN supports Australian policy autonomy and Australia’s engagement with Southeast Asia. The ASEAN–Australia dialogue partner relationship has significant room for growth.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Regional Cooperation, Partnerships, Regional Integration, Trade
  • Political Geography: Australia, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Rita Parker
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: Potential drivers of unregulated population migration in the Pacific Islands require attention from regional governments including Australia. The challenges of unregulated population migration in the Pacific Islands region are the result of several push-pull factors and can lead to instability and insecurity in the region. Unregulated population migration in the Pacific Islands region has implications for more than one nation state and civil society and the balance of security and domestic stability can be disrupted. The challenge for policymakers is to recognise that drivers of unregulated population migration, including political or economic uncertainty, natural disasters, pandemics, climatic or environmental change, food or water scarcity, civil conflict, or organised crime, do not occur in isolation.
  • Topic: Security, Government, Migration, Natural Disasters, Immigration, Political stability
  • Political Geography: Australia, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: James Curran
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: President Trump may be unwittingly preparing the United States for the end of American global hegemony. President Trump invokes neither the language nor history of the Pax Americana. His America First approach is only hardening, meaning allies will need to think about American power differently. The United States will not become a ‘normal nation’, but the distance between its sense of providential destiny and limited capacity to effect transformational change abroad will only grow.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Government, Hegemony, Donald Trump
  • Political Geography: Australia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Manu Bhaskaran
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: Without bold adjustments, Singapore’s extraordinary economic performance may prove difficult to sustain. The Singapore economy retains many strengths but is facing growing challenges, including to its key regional hub status. Singapore’s ability to adjust effectively to these challenges may have weakened compared to the past. The major reason for this diminished capacity is that the policy responses required to support a successful adjustment may not be evolving quickly enough. Moreover, the capacity for companies to make more spontaneous bottom-up adjustments seems to be lacking.
  • Topic: Government, Economy, Business , Economic growth, Economic Policy, Capacity
  • Political Geography: Singapore, Southeast Asia, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: Stewart Firth
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: Domestic developments in the Pacific Island states matter more than ever to Australia. The challenges to internal resilience in the Pacific Islands are both structural — in the form of issues arising from population growth, urbanisation, land, immigration, health, and gender relations — and particular to the political situation in each Island nation. The inability of Pacific states to match service provision in cities with their growing populations is a major challenge to resilience. Of all political issues in Papua New Guinea, loss of customary land is the most likely to provoke protest and conflict.
  • Topic: Politics, Political stability, State Formation, Services
  • Political Geography: Australia, Australia/Pacific, Solomon Islands, Asia-Pacific, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, Melanesia
  • Author: Euan Graham
  • Publication Date: 05-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: The Trump–Kim summit is a distinct new phase in the dramatic cycle that defines the North Korea nuclear issue and the peninsula’s highly theatrical brand of geopolitics. Now that North Korea has finally reached the threshold of a nuclear missile capability to directly threaten the US mainland, its scripted brand of hyperbole and brinksmanship is encountering a different sort of melodrama: the political theatre of Donald Trump. The North Korean nuclear issue cannot be understood without an appreciation of the fundamental tension within inter-Korean relations. There is no precedent for a minor, revisionist power developing an asymmetrical nuclear deterrence relationship with the United States. The result is unlikely to be stable.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Diplomacy, Nuclear Weapons, Bilateral Relations, Weapons , Donald Trump
  • Political Geography: Asia, North Korea, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Greg Colton
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: Greater Australian engagement in the Pacific Islands region is needed if Canberra wants to ensure regional stability and underpin Australia’s national security. Inconsistent engagement by Australia, the United States, France and New Zealand in the Pacific Islands region has created space that non-traditional powers have exploited to engage with sovereign Pacific Island states. There is an increasing risk of geostrategic competition in the region, particularly with the growing influence of China and the economic leverage it holds over some indebted Pacific Island nations. The Australian Government should pursue a deliberate strategy of forging stronger links with its traditional partners in the region, and more equitable partnerships with its Pacific Island neighbours, if it is to underpin regional stability and strengthen Australia’s national security.
  • Topic: International Relations, National Security, Regional Cooperation, Geopolitics, Economy
  • Political Geography: China, France, Australia, Asia-Pacific, United States of America
  • Author: Rodger Shanahan
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: Terrorists have manipulated the humanitarian crisis in Syria to create a cover for foreign fighters and to raise funds for terrorist groups under the guise of charitable donations. While terrorist abuse of charitable donations is a limited problem, even small amounts of funding can have disproportionately large effects. Early government intervention in setting due diligence standards for humanitarian aid groups operating in, or raising funds for use in, high-risk conflict zones is essential. The Australian Government should use the ‘declared area’ legislation more widely to raise the risk threshold for those seeking to use humanitarian assistance as cover for supporting terrorist causes overseas.
  • Topic: Humanitarian Aid, Terrorism, Counter-terrorism, Conflict, Syrian War
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Australia, Syria