Security

Government risks over reach on tougher national security laws

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While, at first glance, uploading all of Australia’s drivers licence photos into a central data base in the name of national security seems logical, it is not without some serious… Editorial The Canberra Times The worst is the obvious potential for “big brother” style surveillance of individuals who may not represent threats to the safety of the realm through the rapidly growing national network of CCTV cameras in shopping centres, on streets and… Critics, including members of the Australian Privacy ... Read More »

North Korea Called Me a ‘War Maniac.’ I Ignored Them, and Trump Should Too.

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Smart diplomacy backed by the threat of force, not Twitter bluster, is the way to deal with Kim Jong Un. The last time events on the Korean Peninsula were in a state of crisis as urgent as what we are experiencing now was in 1994, when President Bill Clinton drew a… William J. Perry * Politico The regime in Pyongyang responded by threatening to turn the South Korean capital into a “sea of flames” and calling the U.S. defense secretary ... Read More »

The Twists and Turns along China’s Belt and Road

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China’s trillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative could potentially transform relations with over 60 countries across Eurasia, Africa and beyond But to bring the concept to fruition, Beijing must overcome mammoth logistical obstacles, navigate fragile political situations and placate growing regional apprehension surrounding its ambitions. Michael Kovrig  ICG “The project of the century” is how Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi touted the Belt and Road Initiative to the world when addressing the UN General Assembly on 21 September. It was only ... Read More »

US in direct communication with North Korea, after pressuring rogue state

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Beijing: The United States said on Saturday it was directly communicating with North Korea, seeking to start a dialogue with Pyongyang as its advancing nuclear and missile programs stoke fears of an armed confrontation. Reuters, The Washington Post and Adam Gartrell Brisbane Times  US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made the disclosure about the communications during a trip to China and said it was important to find a way to reduce tensions with North… “We are probing, so stay tuned,” Tillerson ... Read More »

Turkey agrees to ‘only deal with Baghdad’ over oil exports

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In a major U-turn, Turkey has agreed to solely deal with the central Iraqi government over crude oil exports, following a contentious secession referendum held by Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region, the Baghdad government says. PressTV The office of the Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi reported Ankara’s change of mode on Thursday, following a phone call between Abadi and his Turkish counterpart, Binali Yildirim. Yildirim “confirmed the support of his country on all decisions” taken by the Iraqi government, said the… ... Read More »

Australia launches $10m satellite program to help spy planes detect warships, asylum seeker boats

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Australia is building three new satellites that will conduct audio and visual surveillance for the Defence Force The Federal Government has given $10 million to the University of New South Wales (UNSW) Canberra space team to complete the project. By political reporter Stephanie Borys ABC Work on the first satellite is already underway and is scheduled for lift-off next year. The device, which is known as a Cubesat, is the size of a loaf of bread and weighs about four ... Read More »

Grattan on Friday: Careful, Mr Dutton, Donald Trump might hear you

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It’s the tiniest start. But the first offshore refugees leaving Papua New Guinea and Nauru for the US this week represented a new life for more than 50 people and a glimmer of hope for others. Michelle Grattan  The Conversation So it was a nasty, jarring note when Immigration Minister Peter Dutton marked their departure with a derogatory spray. Dutton, appearing in his regular spot with 2GB’s Ray Hadley was asked about a newspaper photo of departees from PNG, which ... Read More »

Are America and North Korea Destined for War?

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Last Friday National Security Advisor H. R. McMaster emphatically told reporters that despite what many have said to the contrary, “there is a military option” for North Korea. Daniel L. Davis, Harry J. Kazianis The National Interest Tuesday afternoon at the United Nations, President Trump went even further, saying that if he felt certain conditions warranted it, then he would have no choice “but to totally destroy North Korea.” The president and his national security advisor, however, are wrong. Engaging in a “preventive war” with ... Read More »

Trump may have to sanction Turkey for Russian deal

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Before their meeting Thursday, President Donald Trump praised Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, bragged about their friendship and claimed U.S.-Turkey relations are at an all-time high. Josh Rogin The Morning Call Trump may not be aware he might soon have to sanction Erdogan for striking a major arms deal with Vladimir Putin‘s Russia. “I think right now we are as close as we’ve ever been. And a lot of that has to do with the personal relationship,” said Trump, on ... Read More »

Kexit: How Kurdish Independence Could Reshape the Middle East

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Washington needs to realize that abandoning the Kurds after the defeat of ISIS in Syria is akin to turning that territory over to Assad. Matthew RJ Brodsky The National Interest As world leaders gathered in Turtle Bay, New York, for the annual United Nations General Assembly convergence, there was no shortage of international crises to address. The nuclear issues with North Korea and Iran rightfully dominated President Trump’s first speech before the UN gathering, however, Middle East challenges tend to ... Read More »

Beijing Adopts New Tactic for S. China Sea Claims

This picture taken on April 21, 2017 shows an aerial view of a reef near the island of Thitu, with what are believed to be anchored Chinese boats, in the disputed Spratly islands. 
Philippine Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana flew to a disputed South China Sea island on April 21, brushing off a challenge by the Chinese military while asserting Manila's territorial claim to the strategic region. / AFP PHOTO / Ted ALJIBE        (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)

‘Four Sha’ island groups replace illegal 9-Dash Line The Chinese government recently unveiled a new legal tactic to promote Beijing’s aggressive claim to own most of the strategic South China Sea. Bill Gertz The new narrative that critics are calling “lawfare,” or legal warfare, involves a shift from China’s so-called “9-Dash Line” ownership covering most of the sea. The Washington Free Beacon The new lawfare narrative is called the “Four Sha”—Chinese for sand—and was revealed by Ma Xinmin, deputy director ... Read More »

Trump at the United Nations: Derangement and Delusion Reign Supreme

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If any further proof were needed that the United States has descended into the realm of magical thinking, there could be no clearer example than Donald Trump’s speech to the UN General Assembly on 19 September 2017. James O’Neill Dissident Voice In 40 minutes of what can only be described as a barely coherent and dangerous rant, Trump revealed how the United States has totally lost its grip on reality.  Some brief extracts from the speech illustrate its essential horrors.  ... Read More »

Donald Trump wheels jumble of contradictions onto world stage at UN

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Washington: March into the United Nations, name-calling and threatening destruction, and the chances are there’ll be push-back. Paul McGeough The Age Going one up on George W. Bush’s three-strong “axis of evil”, US President Donald Trump went after a four-strong “small group of rogue regimes” in his first speech to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday. The inward rhetoric of his campaign notwithstanding, Trump issued a contradictory demand for patriotism and sovereignty for all nations that would be policed by his administration. If he ... Read More »

How to Mitigate the Risks of Iraqi Kurdistan’s Referendum

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A century-long quest for an independent Kurdistan has encouraged Iraqi Kurds to exploit Iraq’s ongoing crises and schedule a referendum on 25 September 2017. Maria Fantappie  ICG But the referendum is more a reflection of Iraq’s disorder than the Kurds’ readiness for statehood, and the vote’s outcome could exacerbate internal and regional… On 25 September, barring a last-minute postponement, the Iraqi Kurdistan region will hold an independence referendum.  Voters will be asked whether they want “the Kurdistan region and the ... Read More »

Indonesia Crosses the Nine-Dash Line

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Jakarta tells Beijing the South China Sea isn’t a Chinese lake On July 14, Indonesia took a major step forward in confronting China’s South China Sea claims with an announcement that it was renaming a part of the sea in its territory the “North Natuna Sea,” becoming in a single step the most important Southeast Asian nation to stand up to Beijing. Philip Bowring Asia Sentinel That may have come to many as surprise – certainly to the Chinese, who ... Read More »

What Awaits the Rohingya in Bangladesh?

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Aung San Suu Kyi’s moral conscience has seemingly taken a backseat to cold, hard politics. Michael Kugelman  The plight of the Rohingya community is truly one of the saddest stories of our times. The National Interest It is a tragic tale of perpetual persecution, major marginalization and mass migration. In Burma, where this Muslim community’s numbers are the highest—about a million, according to most estimates—its members are denied citizenship and land. They also live on the fringes of society in India and ... Read More »