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Policy Commentaries

Published 16 Jan 2014

Two Elections that Matter: India and Indonesia

Policy Commentary Two Elections that Matter

This policy commentary provides an analysis of both the Indian and Indonesian elections as well as their broader implications. The contribution by Professor Amitabh Mattoo and Nirupama Subramanian of the Australia India Institute provides an overview of the Indian election that highlights the challenges for the future. Ambassador Rajiv Bhatia of the Indian Council of World Affairs examines the potential implications of India’s election choice on its future foreign policy and what this could mean for Australia. ANU Associate Professor Greg Fealy examines the recent Indonesian parliamentary elections and what the initial results spell for the presidential elections in July. Natalie Sambhi, an analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, looks at what the Indonesian presidential elections will mean for Indonesian foreign policy and future strategic outlook.

Japan’s New Trajectory

japan’s-new-trajectory (735.63 kB)

The pieces in this policy commentary look at Japan’s economic and security trajectory. The introductory contribution by Nobuhide Hatasa of the Japan Institute of International Affairs sets the context by detailing the current state of the Japanese economy including the optimism following Prime Minister Abe’s return to power. ‘Airport Economist’ Tim Harcourt analyses Japan-Australia trade prospects and identifies the factors which could strengthen economic relations. While these two contributions are broadly positive on the economic side, the same cannot be said about the strategic challenges Japan faces. ANU Fellow Dr David Envall identifies Japan’s strategic challenges in its major relationships. He argues that the return of Prime Minister Abe has not led to a major shift in strategic direction but rather significant continuity, with the main area of potential change in the area of constitutional reform. ANU Professor Rikki Kersten describes the dilemma caused by the revival of Japanese assertiveness since Abe’s re-election and Japan’s moves towards normalisation in the context of a US rebalance that will fundamentally affect Japan’s place in the US alliance system. She views the current trajectory of Japanese security policy as unlikely to achieve Japan’s strategic objectives.

Free Trade Negotiations in the Asia-Pacific

AIIA Policy Commentary June 2013 — Free Trade Negotiations in the Asia-Pacific (456.68 kB)

This policy commentary charts the implications of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade negotiations for Australia’s trade and foreign policy more broadly. Bryan Mercurio of the Chinese University of Hong Kong charts the history of the TPP and the game-changing entry of Canada, Mexico and, particularly, Japan. Stephen Grenville of the Lowy Institute casts a cautious eye over the regulatory issues being negotiated in the TPP and looks at the implications for Australia of signing. Finally, Peter Drysdale and Jayant Menon in pieces published in the East Asia Forum contrast RCEP with the TPP and delineate the recent challenges faced by RCEP.

Australian and the UN Security Council

AIIA Policy Commentary October 2012 – Australia and The Security Council Final Web (258.77 kB)

In this commentary, former UN Assistant Secretary-General and Australian National University Professor Ramesh Thakur outlines the importance of the United Nations and the potential for Australia to contribute creatively and effectively through the UN. UNSW legal academic Christopher Michaelsen gives an overview of the responsibilities and powers of the Security Council with a focus on its operations and current agenda. Thom Woodroofe examines what Australia should seek to achieve during a term on the Security Council if elected and looks at the other countries likely to be on the Council during 2013-14. Finally, the Deputy Head of Mission of the Embassy of Mexico Guillermo Puente Ordorica looks back at Mexico’s experiences on the Security Council during its term in 2009-10 to provide lessons for other countries to draw on. Together they provide valuable insights for Australians interested in the United Nations and its key organ, the Security Council.

No Eutopia: The European Union Today

AIIA Policy Commentary April 2012 – No Eutopia: The European Union Today (531.92 kB)

The AIIA’s April 2012 Policy Commentary is entitled ‘No Eutopia: The European Union Today’. The ongoing ‘euro crisis’ in the European Union is one of the most important issues in international relations today. The headlines have been filled with stories about debt levels and austerity measures in Greece, mass unemployment in Spain and prophecies that Europe is disintegrating. At the same time, cooperation on a Common Foreign and Security Policy is gradually increasing and the EU now provides over half of all overseas development aid worldwide. This Policy Commentary looks at how the EU is faring as it struggles to deal with the economic crisis and what the EU today means for Australia. Peter O’Shea discusses the EU’s response to the current euro crisis and argues that the crisis, far from leading to the collapse of the eurozone, is already providing the impetus for renewed integration. Donald Kenyon AM gives an overview of EU-Australia trade and suggests that current cooperation in trade is the best it has been in decades, with re-engagement overcoming historical tensions. Professor Martin Holland sketches a vision of a European entity that is growing into its international role: somewhat hesitantly in defence policy; more confidently in development aid and poverty reduction. Together, the contributors suggest that while Europe is no utopia, it will continue to develop, including through crisis and conflict, in ways that have global impact.

Cross-Straits at the Crossroads: Taiwan’s 2012 Elections

The AIIA’s January 2012 Policy Commentary, entitled “Cross-Straits at the Crossroads: Taiwan’s 2012 Elections,” gives a timely appraisal of various issues surrounding the presidential and legislative elections due to take place in Taiwan on 14 January 2012. It allocates particular attention to the impact that the elections might have on relations between Taiwan and China, and addresses the way that cross-strait relations influence political affiliation and exacerbate divisions in the Taiwanese polity. In the publication, Professor Malcolm Cook outlines the possible results of the elections and analyses the implications for cross-strait relations: either a continuation of policies, albeit in a more difficult environment, or the potential for dramatic change. Associate Professor You Ji also analyses these scenarios with a focus on how either result will be viewed in Beijing and what changes to China’s cross-strait policy can be expected. Dr Chen-shen Yen examines the potential results for both the presidential and legislative elections and raises the intriguing possibility of a “cohabitation” result in which one party wins the presidency and the other the legislative majority. Finally, Ross Maddock looks at the historical issues underpinning the elections and addresses their likely result and the effect they might have on both Chinese and Australian business relations with Taiwan.

ICT4IR: International Relations in the Digital Age

AIIA Policy Commentary April 2011 – ICT4IR: International Relations in the Digital Age (445.59 kB)

The AIIA has released the April 2011 Policy Commentary entitled “ICT4IR: International Relations in the Digital Age” which focuses on the impact of Information and communication technology (ICT) on international relations. In this volume, Dr Alison Broinowski comments on WikiLeaks from the perspective of a former Australian diplomat; she analyses the polarised and often immoderate reaction to WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange. Fergus Hanson outlines the potential for ICT to assist the work of foreign ministries, particularly in public diplomacy, and the adaptation that will be required of them. Professor Anthony Billingsley evaluates the immediate and longer-term contribution of social media to the current wave of change in the Middle East and North Africa. Finally, Dr Myriam Dunn Cavelty identifies the pervasive narrative of cyberthreat and looks at the case of the Stuxnet worm; her conclusion is to focus on mitigation rather than succumb to fear of ‘cyberdoom’. Together these contributors aim to spark discussion, not to end it.

Democracy and Discontent: the 2010 Elections in Myanmar

AIIA Policy Commentary November 2010 – Democracy and Discontent: The 2010 Elections in Myanmar

The new AIIA’s Policy Commentary released on 1st November 2010 is entitled “Democracy and Discontent : the 2010 Elections in Myanmar” and aims to provide informed opinion and useful source documents on the Myanmar’s general elections to be held on 7th November 2010, the first in twenty years. You will find represented in this volume some key documents to give context to Myanmar’s elections including the Myanmar Government’s Roadmap to Democracy and responses from Australia, the European Union, ASEAN and the United Nations. You will also find commentary by three expert authors analysing the likely impact of Myanmar’s elections. Morten Pedersen assesses the prospects for change and democracy in Myanmar following the elections, and rates the former better than the latter. Mely Caballero-Anthony looks at the ramifications of the elections for ASEAN and its policy of constructive engagement; while Trevor Wilson looks at what China and India have at stake strategically in Myanmar and their expectations of the elections.

Looking West: An Indian Ocean Perspective

AIIA Policy Commentary August 2010 – Looking West: An Indian Ocean Perspective

The AIIA’s Policy Commentary published in August 2010 is entitled ‘Looking West’ and aims to raise public awareness of the significance of the Indian Ocean. The Policy Commentary begins with two public statements; one is a paper presented by Minister for Foreign Affairs the Hon Stephen Smith MP, and the other is an address by Julie Bishop MP, Deputy Leader of the Opposition and Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs, addressing the strategic importance of the Indian Ocean region. Thereafter, five experts contribute essays. Sam Bateman, Professorial Research Fellow in the Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security (ANCORS) at the University of Wollongong, and a Senior Fellow in the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, discusses maritime and maritime security issues in the Indian Ocean. Then, Ian Hall, Senior Lecturer in International Relations at Griffith Business School, explains the growing importance of India as a rising power. Auriol Weigold,Visiting Fellow at the University of Canberra, writes about the Australia-India Relationship. Finally, Roger Donnelly and Benjamin Ford, respectively Chief Economist and Senior Economist at the Australian export credit agency, discuss Australia’s complex relations with Africa. Please click on the link to download a PDF copy of the commentary.

Nuclear Futures? The 2010 NPT Review Conference and Australia’s Nuclear Policy Options

AIIA Policy Commentary May 2010 – Nuclear Futures? The 2010 NPT Review Conference and Australia’s Nuclear Policy Options

In May 2010, the AIIA has released a Policy Commentary entitled: “Nuclear Futures? The 2010 NPT Review Conference and Australia’s Nuclear Policy Options” so as to provide Australian and International public with an outlook on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation issue and contribute to debate on this latter. The first part of the Policy Commentary is composed of key resources such as public statements, remarks, press conference and press release that were made by the Hon Kevin Rudd MP, President Barack Obama and the International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and disarmament. In a second part, four essays tackle a specific aspect of the issue. These analyzes have been written by Marianne Hanson, Reader in International Affairs at the University of Queensland; Richard Broinowski, Adjunct Professor at the university of Sydney; Dr Andrew Newman, Research Associate, John F.Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University and Adjunct Research Associate, Global Terrorism Research Centre at Monash university; and Professor Andrew O’Neil, Professor of International Relations and Director of the Griffith Asia Institute at Griffith University.

Perspective on Pakistan

AIIA Policy Commentary June 2009 – Perspective on Pakistan

policy-commentaryThe AIIA’s Policy Commentary published in June 2009 is entitled ‘Perspective on Pakistan’ aiming to raise public awareness of the contemporary Pakistani issues. The Policy Commentary begins with two public statements; one is President Zardari’s inauguration speech, and the other is statement by the Hon Stephen Smith MP, Australian Minister for Foreign Affaris and Trade, addressing future relationship between Australia and Pakistan. Thereafter, three experts contribute essays. Ashutosh Misra, Research Fellow at the Griffith University, explain democratisation in Pakistan. Then, Happymon Jacob, Assistant Professor at the University of Jammu, discusses contemporary India-Pakistan relations from Indian perspective. Finally Salma Malik, Lecturer at the Quaid-i-Azam University, forecasts Pakistan-US relations under the Obama Administration. Please click on the link to download a PDF copy of the commentary.


Bear on the Prowl? The Return of Russia as a Great Power

AIIA Policy Commentary December 2008 – Bear on the Prowl? The Return of Russia as a Great Power

The AIIA has released the December 2008 Policy Commentary entitled “Bear on the Prowl? The Return of Russia as a Great Power”, to contribute to debate on the implications of a resurgent Russia in world affairs. The policy commentary utilises key resources from the European Union, and statements by Russian President Dmitry A. Medvedev, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, and the Hon. Stephen Smith, Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, as well as analyses by Prof. Paul Dibb of the Research School of Asian and Pacific Studies, Australian National University, Prof. Alexey D, Muraviev of Curtain University, and Dr. Kirill Nourzhanov of the Centre of Arab and Islamic Studies, Australian National University. Please click on the link to download a PDF copy of the commentary.

China and the Olympics

AIIA Policy Commentary June 2008 – China and the Olympics

The AIIA Policy Commentary in June is entitled “China and the Olympics.” Many different viewpoints come together in this publication to help put this complex and controversial event into perspective. Media releases from top officials in the Chinese government, the International Olympic Committee, and even the Australian Government, combined with analyses from leading academics from all around the world, will contribute to the debate surrounding the Olympic Games. Contributing academics are: Dr John Lee of the Centre for Independent Studies in Sydney, Erping Zhang of the Association for Asian Research in New York City, and Yang Zerui of the China Institute of International Studies in Beijing. Please click on the link to download a PDF copy of the commentary.

Bali and Beyond

AIIA Policy Commentary March 2008 – Bali and Beyond

The AIIA Policy Commentary of March 2008, entitled “Bali and Beyond: Planning for a Post-Kyoto World”, reprints the official output of the conference, the Bali Action Plan, together with two insightful and contrasting commentaries by leading academics: Robyn Eckersley is a Professor at the University of Melbourne; Dr Michael Heazle is at the Griffith Asia Institute at Griffith University. Click on the link to access the media release.

A Nuclear North Korea?

AIIA Policy Commentary November 2006 – A Nuclear North Korea?

The latest Policy Commentary, entitled “A Nuclear North Korea?”, is a valuable contribution to the debate on North Korea’s recent nuclear test. It brings together key resources to examine these issues, including official statements from North Korea and Australia, UN Security Council Resolution 1718 and three commentaries by leading experts who have closely followed developments on the Korean peninsula and who offer fresh and convincing answers to the most pressing questions arising following North Korea’s test: Rod Lyon of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, Andrew O’Neil of Flinders University, and the former Australian ambassador to South Korea Mack Williams.

White Paper on Foreign Aid

AIIA Policy Commentary July 2006 – White Paper on Foreign Aid

The AIIA Policy Commentary of July 2006 on Australia’s White Paper on Foreign Aid includes the speech given by the Hon. Alexander Downer MP, Minister of Foreign Affairs, at the launch of the White Paper and two commentary articles by Dr Robert Glasser, Chief Executive of CARE Australia and Toby Carroll and Shahar Hameiri, experts from the Asia Research Centre at Murdoch University.