US-led global arms sales grew 8.5% in 2019, Australia top host of foreign arms companies (SIPRI)

New data from SIPRI’s Arms Industry Database shows that arms sales by the world’s 25 largest arms companies totalled US$361 billion in 2019, an 8.5 per cent increase over 2018. The top five arms companies were all based in the United States: Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and General Dynamics. Outside of North America and Western Europe, the largest number of foreign arms company entities are hosted by Australia (38).

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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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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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A bigger canvas: Russia, China and Australia’s strategic policy

The proximity and size of China, and the belligerence of the US toward China, has occluded the view of Russia among Australia strategic planners. While Russia poses no credible direct threat to Australia, it could be a key player in a conflict between the US and China. Once Russia is factored into the analysis of the situation in East Asia, the global consequences of a war are magnified and the recklessness of contemplating participating in such a conflict becomes even clearer.

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China’s newfound intimacy with Russia is a strategic blind spot for Australia (Alexey D Muraviev)

We have become very China-centric in our strategic thinking in Australia — and this could be to our detriment. Beijing’s deepening defence ties with Russia remain a blind spot in our public debate. China and Russia have grown much closer in recent years, especially when it comes to security and defence. Instead of taking a serious look at the ‘comprehensive strategic partnership’ between Russia and China, we largely play down what unites these two major nuclear powers and the world’s most potent militaries outside the United States.

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Putin

Forward to the past? New-old theatres of Russia’s International Projection (ISPI)

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 (INSS)

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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