Analysis

The Australian war film Jirga is a lesson in Afghan forgiveness

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It is cathartic when a war movie takes us far beyond the horror of bullets, bomb and blood into the other side of the battlefield — the emotional impact on individuals. Ehsan Azari Stanizai The Conversation The Australian production Jirga mines the depth of the heartache and guilt experienced by an Australian ex-soldier whose conscience has caught up with his participation in a night raid on a… In doing so, it moves away from run-of-the-mill cinematic depictions of this war, ... Read More »

World politics explainer: the Iranian Revolution

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To understand what caused the Iranian Revolution, we must first consider the ongoing conflict between proponents of secular versus Islamic models of governance in Muslim societies. Mehmet Ozalp The Conversation It all began with the British colonisation of India in 1858, which precipitated the collapse of classic Islamic civilisation. By early 20th century, almost the entire Muslim world was… The Ottoman Empire, the last representative of the classic Islamic civilisation, collapsed after world war one in 1918. So, the first ... Read More »

Syria’s Idlib Wins Welcome Reprieve with Russia-Turkey Deal

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After weeks of escalatory rhetoric, Russia has partnered with Turkey in a deal to avert an all-out assault on Idlib, the last stronghold of Syria’s armed rebellion. International actors seeking to end the Syrian war should embrace the agreement. ICG Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Russian President Vladimir Putin have unveiled an agreement to forestall a Syrian regime offensive in the country’s north-western Idlib governorate. Per Putin and Erdoğan’s announcement of the deal, signed following bilateral talks in Sochi, on Russia’s Black ... Read More »

EU and UK need each other on post-Brexit security

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Brexit will leave a gaping hole in Europe’s foreign policy. By JACEK CZAPUTOWICZ, LINAS LINKEVIČIUS AND TEODOR MELEȘCANU Politico The U.K.’s withdrawal from the European Union poses a number of challenges on both sides of the Channel, but Brussels should be alive to one particularly important risk: Brexit’s effect on… The U.K. — in its capacity as a U.N. Security Council member, a nuclear power and a guarantor of approximately one-fourth of European defense capabilities — is one of the key pillars of the EU’s… ... Read More »

Catastrophe overload? Read philosophers and poetry instead of headlines

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For almost two years now, Americans have been confronted daily by ominous tidings. We are living through stressful times. Reading the news feels awful; ignoring it doesn’t feel right either. Rachel Hadas The Conversation Psychologist Terri Apter recently wrote about the “phenomenon in human behavior sometimes described as ‘the hive switch,’ where “catastrophic events eliminate selfishness, conflict and competitiveness, rendering humans as… But if hurricanes, earthquakes or volcanoes trigger the hive switch, does this principle hold for man-made catastrophes? What ... Read More »

Essential reading to get your head around Australia’s aged care crisis

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Tonight ABC’s Four Corners will air the first of a two-part investigation into the often shocking treatment of the elderly in aged care homes around Australia. Sasha Petrova The Conversation The timing coincides with Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s weekend announcement of a royal commission into Australia’s aged care system. The prime minister said poor standards had led authorities to close one aged centre per month since the Oakden aged mental health home scandal. South Australia’s Oakden facility closed nearly a ... Read More »

China And The SEA In Asia’s Troubled Waters – Analysis

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The never ending disputes over a semi-enclosed sea, the South-China Sea (SCS) was culminated in the consensus between the Philippines and China in bringing the case before the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA). Dhiana Puspitawati Eurasia Review While the PCA under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982 (UNCLOS 1982) ruled in favor of the Philippines and declare that China’s nine-dash line claims are illegal, China has asserted that they will not obeys the… This paper ... Read More »

A Warning From Europe: The Worst Is Yet to Come

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Polarization. Conspiracy theories. Attacks on the free press. An obsession with loyalty. Recent events in the United States follow a pattern Europeans know all too well. Anne Applebaum The Atlantic On December 31, 1999, we threw a party. It was the end of one millennium and the start of a new one; people very much wanted to celebrate, preferably somewhere exotic. Our party fulfilled that criterion. We held it at Chobielin, the manor house in northwest Poland that my husband ... Read More »

British Jacobins on the march in Brexit revolution

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You’re either with or against us, say both sides. By TOM MCTAGUE Politico LONDON — Britain has been radicalized by Brexit. As the clock ticks down to D (as in EU departure) Day on March 29, 2019, both sides are digging in for the coming battle over whatever deal Theresa May is able to bring back from Brussels later this year. For the Brexiteers, the battle cry is “chuck Chequers,” deal or no deal. For the arch Remainers, it’s chuck ... Read More »

Germany’s heated asylum debate has dark parallels to events 30 years ago

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It was a moment that has defined Angel Merkel’s chancellorship of Germany ever since. In early September 2015, she allowed thousands of refugees fleeing violence in Syria and Iraq to enter… Constantin Eckner The Conversation Merkel promised her people that Germany would be able to handle the growing influx of asylum seekers, but her decision provoked a… Since then, German politics has been largely dominated by that one controversial matter – asylum policy. In early September 2018, xenophobic riots rocked ... Read More »

Podcast: The necessity of Indigenous constitutional recognition

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On this episode of The Lawyers Weekly Show, Jerome Doraisamy is joined by Sydney-based barristers Simeon Beckett and Susan Phillips. In this episode, Mr Beckett and Ms Phillips explain why it is so important for the Australian constitution to acknowledge the First Nations peoples and what change will emerge as a result, why the Bar Associations are so supportive of such a change, and the role of member associations across our national legal profession on sociocultural or… Podcast: The necessity… Read More »

It’s Not Too Late to Prevent a Russia-China Axis

Chinese troops parade at the end of the day of the Vostok-2018 (East-2018) military drills at Tsugol training ground not far from the borders with China and Mongolia in Siberia, on September 13, 2018. (Photo by MLADEN ANTONOV / AFP)        (Photo credit should read MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)

Here’s how the U.S. can avoid driving the two countries together. Anja Manuel The Atlantic Chinese tanks splashed through the mud, while a few dozen helicopters flew in formation overhead in eastern Russia, and a young Chinese military recruit explained, “I have never experienced an overseas deployment of this scale.” The scene neatly summed up the much-written-about, enormous Russian military exercises that took place this week. Participants included 300,000 Russian and 3,200 Chinese soldiers. They deeply rattled the… It’s Not ... Read More »

Dangerous Democracy: The Problem With ‘The Will Of The People’

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Westerners don’t really live in democracies, at least not ones where the true majority prevails, writes Stuart Rees. New Matilda Characters in Australia who advocate government by plebiscite think that such a voter mechanism would represent the will of the people and would therefore be truly democratic. A quick look at the political impasse in the ol’ mother country shows the absurdity of such thinking. To justify exiting Europe, Britain’s Brexit politicians keep repeating that they are following ‘the will ... Read More »

Greek Economic Recovery Has Nothing to Do With Odysseus

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According to the prime minister, Greece is emerging from bailout life like Odysseus coming home to Ithaca. This comparison could use some work. Alexis Papazoglou The New Republic In 2010, at a picturesque port on the island of Kastelorizo, then Prime Minister George Papandreou announced the start of “a new Odyssey for Greeks”: entry into an austerity-focused International Monetary Fund-European Union bailout agreement to help finance the… “We know the route to Ithaca,” Papandreou said, “and we’ve got a map.” ... Read More »

An Offensive Plan for the Balkans That the U.S. Should Get Behind

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A Kosovo-Serbia land swap would be peaceful ethnic cleansing. But at least it would bring peace. Charles A. Kupchan * The New York Times The Balkans remains in strategic limbo. Kosovo declared independence from Serbia 10 years ago, but Serbia has yet to come to terms with its loss — refusing to recognize Kosovo and stirring trouble between the country’s ethnic Serbs and the ethnic Albanian majority. Almost two decades after the… A breakthrough may now be in the making. ... Read More »

UN Secretary-General: American Power Is in Decline, the World Is ‘in Pieces’

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Is Democracy Dying? António Guterres confronts the “reemergence of irrationality” in global politics. Uri Friedman The Atlantic For the past two years, the secretary-general of the United Nations, António Guterres, has watched as President Donald Trump upends American foreign policy, engaging in trade wars while simultaneously disengaging from international agreements and… And now Guterres has reached a verdict: The United States, once the guarantor of global stability, is losing its ability to influence world events. “I think that the soft ... Read More »