Published in September 2019 by the French Institute of International Relations, this article by the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre’s Andrew Carr has increased relevance given Australia’s recent 2020 Defence Strategic Update and the ramping up of its critical comments on China. Andrew Carr punctures the pretensions that infuse Australia’s formal strategic and defence policy documents and found in a lot of political statements. He paints a realistic and sobering picture of the relative decline in military and economic influence facing Australia.Read more
This article is one of a number of pieces circulating that usefully starts to ponder the effect COVID-19 will have on strategic relations in the Indo-Pacific. It presents one of the more comprehensive lists of possible effects. The narrow focus of the article, however, means two major results of the pandemic, a change in the relativities in economic power and a possible change in the US Administration, are not clearly factored into the analysis. With regard to the question of impact of Covid-19 on military readiness, there may be room for greater caution; it is yet to be seen if the worst predictions about a shift in the military balance because of readiness issues will eventuate.Read more
The Lowy Institute authors’ objective analysis suggests China has not been engaged in such problematic debt practices in the Pacific as to justify accusations of debt trap diplomacy, at least not to date.Read more
The recent report ‘Eyes Wide Open: Managing the Australia-China Antarctic Relationship’ contains a lot of information about China’s activities in Antarctica and usefully sets out aspects of the Chinese-Australian relationship.
But are the report’s recommendations a disproportionate reaction to a manufactured crisis regarding China’s presence and activities in Antarctica?
Amid rapid geopolitical change at the start of the 2020s, nuclear weapons manifest grim continuity with the previous century. Especially persistent is a capability that has existed since the 1960s: the deployment of nuclear weapons on submarines. The ungainly acronym SSBN represents nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines: the most destructive armaments carried on a supposedly undetectable, and thus invulnerable, platform. This complex maritime-nuclear dynamic brings deterrence but also great risk. Yet the intersection of undersea nuclear forces,Read more
In recent months, China – and the potential for conflict in Northeast Asia – has been prominent in discussion amongst Australian strategists. However, the complexity of strategic relationships in the region is often overlooked in this debate. In a policy paper published 31 March 2020, Bobo Lo, Associate Research Fellow with the Russia/NIS Center at the French Institute of International Relations (IFRI), reminds us that Northeast Asia has emerged as a critical theater of RussianRead more
Harvard academic Graham Allison finds in Thucydides’ ‘The History of the Peloponnesian War’, some near universal law of international relations where war between established and rising great powers is close to inevitable – the ‘Thucydides’ Trap’. But are there different lessons to be drawn from analysis of the Peloponnesian War?Read more