Politics + Society – Analysis and Comment

Narratives of grievance are foundational to Islamic radicalisation. It may have helped motivate 15-year-old Farhad Khalil Mohammad Jabar’s actions. AAP

How are Western youth conditioned to commit terrorist acts?

Each individual case of radicalisation has its own characteristics. But the research has highlighted some patterns that may help to explain the dark world that is drawing in some Australian youth.
So strong is public opposition to his miltarist policies that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, having ignored the popular will, faces questions about democratic representation. AAP Image/Newzulu/Munesuke Yamamoto

Kicking pacifism: Japan’s pivot to militarism defies popular will

Shinzo Abe’s government (now in its second term) has consistently been vocal about Japan's national defence.
Julie Bishop was a particularly strong advocate in urging Indonesia to spare the lives of Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan. AAP/Mick Tsikas

What more can Australia do to end the death penalty worldwide?

Beyond general expressions of “opposition” to capital punishment, Australia did not emphasise specific human rights principles in its lobbying of Indonesia to spare Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran.
Information commissioner John McMillan (pictured right with then minister Brendan O'Connor) has not been replaced since resigning in June, nor has the FOI commissioner who left in January. AAP/Alan Porritt

Closing down FOI: a case study in sneaky government

In a year and a half the Abbott government managed, in practice, to undo the painstaking reforms of the federal Freedom of Information (FOI) system.
Under the assertive leadership of Xi Jinping, China won’t meekly accept the terms of closer engagement with Australia being determined by the US alliance. AAP/Lukas Coch

Australian foreign policy needs a shake-up after two decades of sclerotic decline

The past two decades were years of sclerosis and decline in Australia’s once creative and agile foreign policy. A new course must be set to meet the challenges of exciting but risky times.
Kevin Rudd is reportedly campaigning to take over as UN secretary-general when Ban Ki-moon’s term expires in 2016. EPA/Peter Foley

Is Kevin Rudd the very model of a modern UN secretary-general?

If history is a guide, the next UN secretary-general will be from Eastern Europe, working in their national government, and with strong foreign service experience.
Police in NSW will soon be equipped with body cameras – as will their counterparts on Queensland’s Gold Coast in domestic violence incidents. AAP/Andi Yu

Beware the unintended consequences of police-worn body cameras

Police-worn body cameras could be a helpful tool for law enforcement in cases involving domestic violence. But they could also have unintended consequences.