Foreign policy

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Former South African presidents Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki at Mbeki’s inauguration in 1999. Reuters

Book review: finding a vocabulary to judge Thabo Mbeki

Former South African President Thabo Mbeki remains a puzzle to many of his compatriots. A new book, ‘The Thabo Mbeki I know’, will help to understand him better.
Obama’s message while in Vietnam and Japan may be twofold. REUTERS

Obama’s trip to Vietnam and Japan isn’t just a friendly visit

Beneath the usual pomp and circumstance of Obama's weeklong visit to Asia lies a clear message for aggressors in the region. An East Asia expert from UC Berkeley reads between the lines.
South African National Defence Force soldiers help to unload maize for flood victims in. Mozambique. Reuters

Why South Africa’s plans to militarise humanitarian work are misguided

The South African military's capabilities for socio-economic development are questionable, even in its own country. The force is in critical decline, but is expected to aid humanitarian efforts.
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.
While Julie Bishop stays on as foreign minister, domestic political calculations might be less of a factor in policy if the government can put dire opinion polls behind it. AAP/Lukas Coch

Can foreign policy be freed from populist politicking?

Australia will benefit if a Turnbull government pursues a foreign policy agenda attuned more to regional and global goals and developments, and less to domestic political challenges.
AAP/Ian Waldie

The ANZUS ascendancy (continued)

What J.K. Galbraith famously called the conventional wisdom is a powerful thing to behold. There are few better local examples than the belief that the military alliance with the US is vital for the security…
In this 2008 photograph, former ambassador to the United Kingdom Robert H Tuttle greets President George W. Bush. Prior to becoming an ambassador, Tuttle was known for his empire of car dealerships. Jason Reed/Reuters

How do you become an ambassador?

If you want a desirable ambassadorship, becoming a Foreign Service Officer and earning the relevant degrees – in other words, accumulating experience – might not be the best plan of action.
Australia’s ability to influence China will largely depend on how it engages with China’s complex and growing diplomatic machinery. Shutterstock

Speaking with: Kerry Brown on China, Australia and diplomacy

Speaking with: Kerry Brown on China, Australia and diplomacy.
The emergence of China as a 21st-century superpower has already had profound impacts on Australia. As China reshapes the balance of power, not only in the Asia-Pacific region but globally, its influence…
Before the Asian Century, it was Gough Whitlam that gave Australians the confidence to enhance their place in the world. Alan Porritt/AAP

Thanks for the confidence, Gough

“Where were you when Gough was sacked?” This of course refers to Remembrance Day, 11 November, 1975, when the elected prime minister Gough Whitlam was sacked by Governor-General Sir John Kerr in cahoots…
The Trans-Pacific Partnership agenda is again being driven by the US on behalf of its major export industries. EPA/How Hwee Young

Trans-Pacific Partnership piles up challenges for democracy

Ten years on from the Australia-US Free Trade Agreement, Australia is entering another round of negotiations towards the new and controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership. In this Free Trade Scorecard series…
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…

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