Russia and Myanmar are both run by strongmen who have judged that overwhelming violence can beat their opponents into submission. Responding to their aggression, and supporting democratic voices to prevail, requires careful attention to the values we hold.
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A strategy document released last month gave graphic insight into where dispassionate analysis by a peak Australian government agency sees the region headed. It points to a future in which the Morrison government’s hairy-chested posturing towards China does the national interest no favours.
The Australian government has vowed to "step-up" its engagement with its "Pacific family," emphasising that its relationships with Pacific states will be characterised by respect for, and listening to them, as equals. While this advances the government's strategic interests, puzzlingly, leaders and officials continue exhibit beliefs and behaviour that undermine this goal.