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Power broker. Vladimir Putin. Fernando Bizerra Jr/EPA

MH17 was a victim of the new cold war’s first proxy conflict

It remains to be seen precisely how and why the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 crashed over the territory of the self-proclaimed “Donetsk People’s Republic” in eastern Ukraine on Thursday. But whatever…
With coups in Thailand and troubles elsewhere, Australia exists in a fragile regional environment where it is expected to play a leading role in peacemaking. EPA/Narong Sangnak

Peacemaking should be at the core of Australian foreign policy

Australia’s neighbourhood is currently a hotbed of fragility and conflict, with tensions in the South China Sea, a military coup in Thailand and civil rights abuses against Rohingya in Myanmar. But to…
The Chinese TV market is hard to crack. Shutterstock

Looking behind the screens of the ABC’s China deal

ABC International has reasons to be proud of its recent “landmark” deal to provide ABC content in China. The deal, which will see the establishment of an online portal, also seems to make it harder for…
Modern diplomacy requires a more delicate touch. Haydn West/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Parlez-vous diplomacy? English won’t serve the UK abroad

A report from the British Academy has warned that a lack of foreign language skills could undermine the UK’s future security and capacity for global influence. The report warns of an apathy towards language…
Tony Abbott needs to learn a thing or two about Indonesian culture if he’s to have a successful working relationship with his Indonesian counterpart. EPA/Made Nagi

Saving face: lessons for Abbott on working with Indonesia

There’s a widespread perception in Australia that Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s reaction to Australia’s phone tapping is all about playing domestic politics in Yudhoyono’s home country…
Who holds the upper hand in the Australia-Indonesia relationship? The power may be shifting Indonesia’s way if recent events are anything to go by. EPA/Romeo Gacao

Stretching the friendship: Australia, Indonesia and the ‘good friend’ narrative

How far can friendships stretch? Two months ago, the rhetoric of the Indonesian and Australian governments was centred on the countries being good friends. Until last week, from the Indonesian perspective…
Tony Abbott’s interview with the Washington Post has revived Abbott’s problem of loose lips - but this time, it’s on the international stage. AAP/Matthew Newton

Abbott’s belligerence: putting in the boot or kicking himself?

The words won’t rank with the oratorical flourishes of great leaders but I can’t remember Churchill or Roosevelt describing anybody as “wacko”. When prime minister Tony Abbott uttered this word in an interview…
BFFs no more: Queen Elizabeth and former Gambian High Commissioner Tamsir Jallow in 2006. Steve Parsons/PA

Commonwealth faces new crises but the end is not nigh

All is not well with the Commonwealth of Nations. Gambia’s announcement last week that it has withdrawn from the association…
Great Satan: Iran-US relations will have to overcome 30 years of emnity. Open Democracy

UN assembly could see thaw between Iran and ‘Great Satan’

After more than three decades of false starts and missed opportunities, something might be finally moving on the diplomatic front between Iran and the United States. The two relatively moderate administrations…
What manner of repercussions could Australia anticipate from any British withdrawal from the European Union? EPA/Andy Rain

What a UK referendum on the EU would mean for Australia

British divisions over Europe have something of a “groundhog day” feel to them, even if the current Conservative rift seems like a particularly damaging instance. The stakes are high: the United Kingdom’s…
Three-quarters of Indians say cricket helps the relationship between India and Australia, a new survey has found. Flickr/Foxypar4

It’s not just cricket: Indians have their say on Australia

Australia should work harder on its official and unofficial diplomacy to strengthen its ties to India, after a new survey…
Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian delegation applaud after the vote on a resolution to upgrade Palestine’s status in the UN. EPA/Andrew Gombert

The art of the possible: recognising Palestinian statehood

The road of history is a pot-holed one. But that doesn’t mean, despite the crashes and stutters, that we don’t eventually get past them. The UN vote over upgrading the Palestinians to non-member observer…
New president Xi Jinping (centre) flanked by He Guoqiang (left) and Jia Qinglin (right) at the closing ceremony of the 18th Communist Party Congress in Beijing. AAP/How Hwee Young

The more things change: Xi Jinping’s rise won’t alter much for Australia and the region

CHINA IN TRANSITION: As China goes through its secretive but widely anticipated leadership transition, the rest of the world is watching. This week, The Conversation takes an in depth look at the National…
Indian students scuffle with Delhi police in a 2010 protest against attacks on Indian students in Australia. EPA/Anindito Mukherjee

Australia, India must look beyond lost decade

Many Indians still perceive Australia as a white, monocultural country, according to the authors of a major report that says…
Australia isn’t viewed well in India, and it will take more than cricket to fix the relationship. AAP/David Hunt

Culture shock: mending Australia’s fractured relationship with India

On my last visit to India in April this year, I found the nation in the grip of Indian Premier League (IPL) fever, or so the umpteen news channels had me believe. With Katy Perry in a kitsch Indian costume…

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