foreign policy

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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…
The Abbott government is at risk of sullying its international reputation if it fails to acknowledge the seriousness of climate change as a global issue. AAP/Yuli Seperi

Missteps on climate change could cost Australian diplomacy dearly

Tony Abbott will arrive in the US this week for his first face-to-face meeting with US president Barack Obama in Washington since becoming prime minister. It comes at an important time: Australia is to…
Narendra Modi won’t back away from border disputes with China if he wins the Indian election. Al Jazeera English/Flickr

Modi won’t be soft on China if he wins Indian election

Considering India’s aspirations to be a global power, foreign policy has played but a minor role in the current election campaign. The manifestos of the major parties also say little on the subject, so…
Tony Abbott described Shinzo Abe’s Japan as Australia’s ‘closest friend in Asia’. But how might Abbott’s bold declaration affect our relationship in the region? AAP/Karlis Salna

Politics of the ‘closest friend’: Abbott, Japan and the Asia-Pacific

At the joint Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-East Asia summit just held in Brunei, prime minister Tony Abbott hailed Japan as Australia’s “closest friend in Asia”. Abbott invited Japanese…
Tony Abbott has vowed to strengthen Australia’s ties with China, including a potential free trade agreement with the growing superpower. AAP/Dan Himbrechts

Middle power meets Middle Kingdom: Abbott looks to China

Tony Abbott’s initial forays into foreign relations are exceeding expectations. True, the bar was set pretty low for many critics, but the new team is clearly intent on sending positive signals about the…
Three West Papuan activists ‘took refuge’ in Australia’s consulate in Bali on the weekend. What is the actual state of play in the troubled region? EPA/Bagus Indahono

Will Australia take a stand on West Papua?

Recent commentary has compared the situation in West Papua to genocide and drawn parallels to East Timor. There seems to be little doubt that human rights abuses have occurred over a long period of time…
Tony Abbott’s first foreign trip to Indonesia yielded some return, but time will tell if his ‘Jakarta focus’ is a success. EPA/Adi Weda

Was Tony Abbott’s Jakarta trip a success? We’ll see

Evaluating the success of Tony Abbott’s first prime ministerial visit to Indonesia depends, of course, on what you saw as its objectives. Those with high hopes – that it would mark a breakthrough in discussions…
West Papuan refugee Amos Wainggai is on board the Freedom Flotilla, headed for Papuan shores from Australia. What will it mean for our relations with Indonesia? AAP/Cleo Mary Fraser

What will the West Papua flotilla mean for Australia-Indonesia relations?

Given the extreme sensitivity with which the issue of West Papua is viewed in Indonesia, the “Freedom Flotilla” heading from Australia to the Indonesian-controlled territory is sure to create tension…
Julia Gillard’s visit to Papua New Guinea - including meeting PM Peter O'Neill - yielded little in advancing Australian or regional causes. AAP/Eoin Blackwell

Novel for its lack of novelty: Gillard in Papua New Guinea

Prime minister Julia Gillard returned from her first official visit to Australia’s nearest neighbour and former colony Papua New Guinea (PNG) on Saturday with little to show for it. Reports of the visit…

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