Two possible paths to ending the pandemic exist, neither of which is guaranteed. In either case, the first step is to reduce the rate of new infections by social distancing; by drastically reducing contact between individuals. Another crucial component is diagnostic testing for SARS-CoV-2 infections.Read more
The COVID-19 crisis will affect the global geostrategic situation in a number of ways. Economic conditions within nation states and across the globalised world will have shifted; governments will be juggling austerity policies, tax increases and welfare demands. Liberal and democratic values, and confidence in political leadership, are likely to have suffered. And internationally, the future geostrategic situation could turn on whether China or the US bounces back best from the current predicament.Read more
A moral dilemma is a situation in which a person is faced with two mutually exclusive choices and urgent reasons to choose each of them. Choosing between saving human lives and saving business ventures poses no such moral dilemma; lives and money cannot be equated. And yet this kind of zero-sum thinking has never been an impediment to individuals focused on political or financial aspirations no matter the human cost.Read more
Writing in The Guardian, George Monbiot sees some common threads in the approaches to COVID-19 of the UK, US and Australian governments. The worst possible people are in charge at the worst possible time. In the UK, the US and Australia, the politics of the governing parties have been built on the dismissal and denial of risk. Just as these politics have delayed the necessary responses to climate breakdown, ecological collapse, air and water pollution,Read more
Seeping faintly through the pronouncements and policies of some government responses to the coronavirus pandemic are the vapours of older belief systems; a whiff of utilitarianism, the scent of social Darwinism, and the fetid reek of eugenics. Examination of the UK government’s ‘herd immunity’ pandemic response suggests that it is not too farfetched to connect contemporary politics with these ostensibly outdated ideas.Read more
The nuclear threat to North Asia, and possibly the US homeland, will remain one of the most intractable problems for the US president.
It is highly unlikely that in a second term Trump would step back from his maximum pressure sanctions strategy, and there is little evidence that this approach is anything other than counterproductive.
There are some indications that a Democrat victory in the presidential election could lead to a change in direction for US policy, which might offer greater opportunities for a pragmatic diplomatic solution.
For North Asian security, the best hope for a partial denuclearisation and a lessening of the security threat probably lies in Trump’s defeat.Read more
This policy paper takes stock of recent trends and issues in the space sector. It analyses Europe’s current position in New Space, highlighting the potential and limits of the space policy pursued by the European Union in recent years and makes five public policy proposals aimed at making Europe a real space power.Read more
An element of strategic divergence means the US and Europe are currently “not quite watching the same movie on the two sides of the Atlantic”, but there is hope that transatlantic defence industrial cooperation can function better if trade-offs are accepted and we have a shared view of the value of working together as allies.Read more
In recent articles, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute’s Peter Jennings has lauded the Australian government’s decision to refurbish and expand the Royal Australian Air Force Base Tindal as ‘a giant strategic step forward’ – a project that ‘will deliver a firmer deterrent posture and a closer alliance with the US’. Does China really view Australia’s defence alliance with the United States ‘with a mix of envy and puzzlement’, as he suggests?Read more
Past US presidents used the potency of the American liberal democratic ideal to rally like-minded nations and to rein in and chasten the world’s miscreants. The liberty and justice rhetoric appealed to and generated hope among peoples suffering under autocracy and oppression. The ideal inspired, and could be leveraged for influence. But under President Trump, the important institutions of constitutional democracy and international law have suffered serious damage, and the long-term prospects for peace and stability have been undercut as a result.Read more
Remarks at the Munich Security Conference by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper are full of unconscious irony.
If ‘the United States’ was substituted for every reference to ‘China’ in each address not much of their coherence would be lost. Can the two premier US leaders of foreign and strategic policy genuinely be so naïve about the current impact of America’s policies on the world order, multilateralism, alliances, and international security?Read more
RAND researchers assess the key challenges confronting the US-Turkish partnership over the coming decade, finding that while US-Turkish relations will remain volatile as Turkey seeks to balance relations with traditional allies and Eurasian neighbors, a major breach can be avoided.Read more
A report focused on EU countries’ difficult balancing act between the US, a long-term strategic and economic partner, and China, the EU’s second most important market and, probably, the next economic superpower. The report shows how US unilateralism and Chinese assertiveness have triggered a rethinking of the EU’s strategic landscape.Read 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
The Munich Security Report 2020 sheds light on “Westlessness” – a widespread feeling of uneasiness and restlessness in the face of increasing uncertainty about the enduring purpose of the West. The Report provides an overview of major security policy challenges and features insightful data and analyses.Read more
New analysis suggests that evaluations of US President Donald Trump’s signature foreign policies are generally negative around the world – except in Israel, the only surveyed country where a majority of people (55%) express net approval of Trump’s policies, and where the level of net approvers is 18 percentage points higher than it is in the US, the second-most-approving country.Read more
Witnesses appearing before the US House of Representatives’ impeachment hearings have connected Russian aggression in Ukraine with US national security. But just how is Ukraine important to the national security of the United States? It may be prudent to have clarity around national interests and to avoid shorthand terms that tend to discourage analysis and articulation of those interests, such as ‘national security’.Read more
The biggest question in geopolitics is: will President Trump be re-elected? More than any previous presidential election, the 2020 election could presage a very dangerous era in world politics, making the presidential election the most important geopolitical event this year. However, the American presidential election will be determined by domestic issues that swirl around a collection of policy issues as well as identity and values.Read more