Australian Outlook

Australia in the World

19 Mar 2019
By Allan Gyngell AO FAIIA and Dr Darren Lim
A thermonuclear device with a yield of 10.4 megatons is detonated at Enewetak Atoll in the Marshall Islands in 1952. Source: ICAN/US Government, Flickr

In episode 14 of Australia in the World, Allan and Darren talk nuclear weapons, the Trump-Kim summit, India-Pakistan tensions and the long-awaited free trade agreement between Australia and Indonesia.

The impact of nuclear weapons is the major theme this week. Darren begins by asking Allan for his practitioner’s perspective on the question whether nukes are a stabilising force in international affairs. The discussion then moves to North Korea: what were Allan’s expectations in the leadup to the recent summit in Hanoi between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un, and where does the world stand now? Are we in a better position on this issue than we were when Trump took office? Does it matter that Kim was granted international legitimacy through his participation at the Singapore and Hanoi summits?

The latest on the India-Pakistan tensions follows, with a particular focus on the logic of “off-ramps” in crisis situations like these, and the role of “fake news” in creating them. Darren cannot decide whether fictional narratives are a good or a bad thing in these precarious situations, while Allan offers insight into the meaningful role Australia can play in tense situations involving Pakistan.

Finally, a free trade agreement between Australia and Indonesia has finally been signed and awaits ratification. What took everyone so long?

Allan Gyngell AO FAIIA is national president of the Australian Institute of International Affairs and an honorary professor at the ANU’s College of Asia and the Pacific.

Dr Darren Lim is a lecturer in the School of Politics and International Relations at the Australian National University.