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Ep. 37: The Bushfires, Internationally; The Soleimani Killing; Reviewing 2019, Looking Ahead to 2020

10 Jan 2020
By Dr Darren Lim and Allan Gyngell AO FAIIA

In their first episode recorded in the new year, Allan and Darren begin with the news.

First, they take an international perspective on the catastrophic Australian bushfires, which have become an international disaster. How will the bushfires affect Australia’s image and diplomacy abroad, and what about the government’s policy agenda on climate change? Could domestic politics swamp other aspects of Australia’s international agenda? Are there any silver linings from the generosity being shown by the international community? The conversation then turns to the killing of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani by the Trump administration and how Australia may be affected. Is there anything Australia can contribute to deescalating this crisis?

Continuing a practice begun last year, the second half of the podcast looks back at 2019. Allan and Darren each nominate their word of the year: for Allan it’s “sovereignty”, and for Darren it’s “decoupling”. Next, each identifies a notable trend from the past year. For Allan: the decline in the authority of international institutions; for Darren: emerging domestic political cleavages that are having international impacts. Finally, the conversation looks ahead to 2020, in particular how Canberra’s relationship with Beijing might evolve, and what’s at stake in the upcoming US presidential election.

As always, we invite our listeners to email us at this address: We welcome feedback, requests and suggestions. You can also contact Darren on twitter @limdarrenj

Thanks to AIIA intern Isabel Hancock for research and audio editing, XC Chong for research support and Rory Stenning for composing our theme music.

Relevant links

Editorial Board, “Australia, the hapless country”, East Asia Forum, 6 January 2020:

The Lawfare Podcast Special Edition, “Law and the Soleimani Strike”, 6 January 2020:

Pod Save the World, “Trump goes to war with Iran”, 3 January 2020:

Salman Ahmed, et al, “U.S. Foreign Policy for the Middle Class: Perspectives From Ohio”, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 10 December 2018:

Salman Ahmed, et al, “U.S. Foreign Policy for the Middle Class: Perspectives From Colorado”, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 5 November 2019:

Our Man: Richard Holbrooke and the End of the American Century by George Packer (Goodreads page):

The Mandalorian, Disney + :