Strategic capitalism, geoeconomics and Australia’s choices

As market-based economic globalisation gives way to a system of state relations based largely on strategic capitalism, the Australian government seems to be using an outdated operating system. The demise of the multi-lateral, rules-based and open world will pose problems that demand imagination, innovation and deft and agile policy and diplomacy. In this environment Australia has a difficult course to chart.

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China and Germany heading for superpower status as U.S. influence wanes, says Putin

In comments made on 23 October 2020, Russian President Vladimir Putin is reported to have suggested that the role of the United States had waned, along with that of Britain and France, while Beijing and Berlin – in terms of political and economic weight – were heading for superpower status. He reportedly said that Washington could no longer lay claim to exceptionalism and questioned why it would want to.

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The US role in the world: a new normal

President Trump has pursued a different vision of the US’s role in the world – one which has had an undeniable impact on relations with allies and competitors alike, and has reshaped perceptions of the US as a global actor. A robust debate over its future global role has ensued. US allies like Australia should be paying close attention, because whether or not Trump wins re-election, the US will not be able to resume some quasi-mythical past role, and the world will need to adjust to a new normal.

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Global order in the shadow of coronavirus: China, Russia and the West (Lowy)

The coronavirus pandemic has thrown a harsh spotlight on the state of global governance. Faced with the greatest emergency since the Second World War, nations have regressed into narrow self-interest. The concept of a rules-based international order has been stripped of meaning, while liberalism faces its greatest crisis in decades. In this Lowy Institute publication, the French Institute for International Relations (IFRI)’s Bobo Lo argues that it’s time to rethink global governance and its priorities.

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Sino-US competition: the importance of disaggregating China’s revisionism

Revisionism as a strategy in international politics, and China’s revisionism in particular, however is not the “all-or-nothing” proposition portrayed by US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo. A more accurate understanding of the factors that have driven Beijing’s transition between different types of revisionist behaviour suggests that rhetoric such as Pompeo’s will merely reinforce China’s move toward more problematic revisionist behaviours.

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The global order after COVID-19 (Stephen Walt)

The COVID-19 crisis will not produce a dramatic and enduring increase in global governance or significantly higher levels of international cooperation. Instead it is likely to reinforce divisive trends; to accelerate a retreat from globalization, raise new barriers to international trade, investment, and travel, and give both democratic and non-democratic governments greater power over their citizens’ lives. The post-COVID-19 world will be less open, less free, less prosperous, and more competitive than the world many people expected to emerge only a few years ago.

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Putin

Forward to the past? New-old theatres of Russia’s international projection

Under President Putin Russian foreign policy is more energetic than at anytime since the end of the Soviet Union. In Eastern Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and elsewhere, Russia’s influence has grown. While the US has declared Russia a strategic adversary, its behaviour and policies are of even deeper direct relevance to Europe. Understanding Russia’s motivations is of growing importance.

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Predation and predators in the post-alliance era

In this interesting article Heisbourg frames his speculation about the transformation taking place the international environment in terms of a shift from a structured system founded on US-sponsored liberal values to a more dog-eat-dog anarchic situation: in this new “post alliance” arrangement dominated by sovereignism, transactionalism, and authoritarianism, the US, China and Russia will be the top predators.

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The strategic consequences of the coronavirus crisis

Bruno Tertrais proposes a provocative list of trends might be exacerbated or accelerated by the COVID-19 crisis. The list begs the tantalising question of how each of these trends might impact on the progress and direction of the others. How might the decline of globalisation affect the rise in authoritarianism and the risk of conflict? How might sovereignism and isolationism retard responses to the ecological and climate crises of the Anthropocene?

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