After decades as an unconsidered backwater, the South Pacific Islands have become a strategic frontline in a multi-nation contest for power and influence in Greater Asia. A report this week by the British-based global risk assessment company, Oxford Analytica, says China has four objectives in extending its reach into the South Pacific. By Jonathan Manthorpe.
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Results for Op-Ed World Affairs
Monday 10 June 2019
Wednesday 5 June 2019
Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland has outlined a framework to help member countries investigate and prosecute corruption offences, which cost the global economy around $2 trillion a year. She was speaking at the fifth annual regional meeting of the Caribbean heads of anti-corruption agencies, hosted in the Cayman Islands from 3-7 June.
Tuesday 4 June 2019
Since the Tiananmen Square massacre 30 years ago, China has achieved extraordinary economic development. Yet, contrary to the expectations of many Western leaders and analysts, the country has not gradually embraced press freedom or respect for civil rights. On the contrary: as a recent Reporters Without Borders (RSF) report shows, China today is actively working to build a repressive “new world media order” – an initiative that poses a clear and present danger to the world’s democracies. By Wu’er Kaixi and Christophe Deloire.
Friday 3 May 2019
New Haven, USA
This is a big year for anniversaries in China. On May 4, the People’s Republic will commemorate the centennial of the May Fourth Movement, the student-led protests in front of Beijing’s Tiananmen Gate in 1919 that marked the birth of Chinese nationalism. And then, one month later, on June 4, will come the 30th anniversary of the violent suppression of pro-democracy student protests on the same site. This milestone, by contrast, will not be officially acknowledged, much less commemorated, in China.
Saturday 27 April 2019
New Delhi, India
The Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka rank among the deadliest terrorist attacks in modern history, and underscore the metastasizing scourge of Islamist violence in Asia. Radical Islamic groups, some affiliated with larger extremist networks, have been quietly gaining influence in an arc of countries extending from the Maldivian to the Philippine archipelagos, and the threat they pose can no longer be ignored.
Monday 18 March 2019
Wellington, New Zealand
I arrived in New Zealand on Friday, the Muslim day of prayer, which became a day of massacre. Like the assassination of Olof Palme in Sweden in 1986, the 9/11 attacks in the US, and the murderous rampage of Anders Breivik in Norway in 2011, March 15 will mark the day New Zealand lost its innocence and entered the age of postmodern mass terror. By Ramesh Thakur
Friday 15 February 2019
London, United Kingdom
The philosopher Bertrand Russell believed the Cold War nuclear standoff resembled a high-risk game played by "youthful degenerates." British Prime Minister Theresa May is playing a similar game, and if her Brexit brinkmanship goes wrong, the victim would be Britain. By Chris Patten
Wednesday 2 January 2019
New Delhi, India
America’s decision to abandon the global system it helped build, and then preserve for more than seven decades, marks a turning point, because others lack either the interest or the means to sustain it. The result will be a world that is less free, less prosperous, and less peaceful, for Americans and others alike. By Richard N. Haass.
Tuesday 13 November 2018
On his week-long tour of Asia, US Vice President Mike Pence has been promoting a vision of a “free and open” Indo-Pacific region, characterized by unimpeded trade flows, freedom of navigation, and respect for the rule of law, national sovereignty, and existing frontiers. The question is whether this vision of an Indo-Pacific free of “authoritarianism and aggression” is achievable. One country that seems willing to contribute to realizing this vision is Japan. By Brahma Chellaney
Tuesday 16 October 2018
Arab countries have a long history of rewarding journalists who toe the official line, while punishing those, like Khashoggi, who dare to speak truth to power. Such behavior is not limited to dictatorships. It does not help that many of those press-freedom violators – including Saudi Arabia – are among America’s closest allies. President Donald Trump’s attacks on the US press, together with his silence on attacks occurring elsewhere, have gone a long way to embolden violators of press freedom around the world. By Daoud Kuttab
Saturday 25 August 2018
As Australia watched its democratically elected government self-destructing in a morass of self-interest and narrow-sightedness, visions of Dorothy journeying through the Land of Oz repeatedly came to my mind. Australia’s leaders need to show more brains, heart, and courage, Sharon Bessell writes.
Wednesday 22 August 2018
Kofi Annan deserves to be remembered as a near-exemplary United Nations secretary-general (SG). Great chief executives need a guiding vision for the exercise of authority, and all the more so when that authority is international civil authority. Annan’s success was based on his ability to combine pragmatism and humility with an enduring vision of human progress and solidarity. By Ramesh Thakur.
Wednesday 13 June 2018
The United States has disinvited China from this summer’s 26-country Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) naval exercise. The move has been played up as a potential indication that the US may finally be adopting a tougher approach toward China. Mattis himself has called the decision an “initial response” to China’s militarization of the South China Sea. ... The Pentagon has flaunted its capability to demolish China’s artificial islands, whose creation Chinese President Xi Jinping has cited as one of his key accomplishments. “I would just tell you,” joint staff director Lt. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie recently said, “the US military has had a lot of experience in the western Pacific taking down small islands.” By Brahma Chellaney.
Monday 11 June 2018
Has North Korea’s ruler, Kim Jong-un, made a strategic decision to trade away his nuclear program, or is he just engaged in another round of deceptive diplomacy, pretending that he will denuclearize in exchange for material benefits for his impoverished country? There are of course no guarantees that Donald Trump’s upcoming summit with the North Korean leader will succeed. What is clear is that successful denuclearization will require a combination of bold political decisions. By Yoon Young-Kwan.
Thursday 31 May 2018
London, United Kingdom
It has been nearly two years since the United Kingdom narrowly voted in favor of leaving the European Union. As the march toward Brexit – formally set for the end of next March – proceeds, fundamental questions about the nature of the future UK-EU relationship remain unanswered. As the reality of Brexit sinks in, members of Britain’s cabinet and leading Brexiteers have turned on one another, while attempting to cast blame on everyone but themselves. The UK must plunge ahead, they insist, because that was “the will of the people," while they prepare their excuses for the impending debacle. By Chris Patten.
Monday 28 May 2018
The abrupt cancellation of next month's planned meeting between the North Korean and US leaders should surprise no one. Developments in recent weeks exposed three factors that doomed the initiative to collapse. By Ramesh Thakur.
Thursday 7 December 2017
The US has talked itself into Kim Jong-un’s trap of exaggerating how much power his rocketry gives him. If the US could deter a much stronger Soviet Union from taking an isolated West Berlin for three decades, it can deter North Korea. - Joseph S. Nye.
Monday 27 November 2017
The Australian government has published a new Foreign Policy White Paper. It is 14 years since the Howard government launched its own Foreign Affairs and Trade White Paper in 2003, although the Gillard government produced the 'Australia in the Asian Century White Paper' in 2013. Much has changed in Australia’s international environment since either of those papers were released. ...The White Paper makes clear that the most significant of the challenges Australia's policymakers now face stems from the two major powers in our region — the United States and China — and the relationship between them. - East Asia Forum, ANU.
Sunday 29 October 2017
New York, USA
For the last 40 years, China has implemented a national strategy that, despite its many twists and turns, has produced the economic and political juggernaut we see today. It would be reckless to assume, as many still do in the US, Europe, and elsewhere, that China’s transition to global preeminence will somehow simply implode, under the weight of the political and economic contradictions they believe to be inherent to the Chinese model. ...When China does become the world’s largest economy over the next decade, the current rule-based international order will not remain immune from this fundamental geo-economic and geopolitical change....To believe otherwise is willfully to ignore the deep changes that are now afoot. By Kevin Rudd
Thursday 21 September 2017
Last week, in a brazen rebuff to tough new United Nations sanctions, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s regime fired a ballistic missile over the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido – its second launch over Japan in less than three weeks. But, far from indicating that sanctions don’t work, Kim’s move shows that they still aren’t tough enough. ... it is the time to do whatever is needed to defuse nuclear tensions and protect the lives of those in the Kim regime’s crosshairs.