Jul 25, 2012

China, Russia and Syria: the ghost of Gadhafi at the U.N.

China and Russia have cast three vetoes so far on draft U.N. Security Council (UNSC) resolutions aimed at tougher international responses to the Syrian’s government’s brutal crackdown on protestors and rebels. They have drawn much flak for their obstructionist resistance to United Nations efforts ...

Jul 20, 2012

Overhauling the anachronistic U.N. groupings

Come October, Australia will be competing with Finland and Luxembourg for two of this year’s five elected two-year seats on the U.N. Security Council. Why against Finland and Luxembourg and not others also contesting for the total of five seats up for grabs? Well ...

Jun 21, 2012

Drone warfare clashes with law, human rights

As in other aspects of human life, the march of military technology has greatly outpaced the laws and institutions to regulate the behavior they make possible. The Obama administration has so greatly expanded the Bush policy of drone strikes as to leave neutral observers ...

Jun 18, 2012

Effective diplomacy in the age of social media

Far from being rendered irrelevant by technological progress, where governments can communicate with one another directly on a need-to basis, diplomacy has become an increasingly critical instrument in an age of interdependence and globalization. Responding to the ever-changing world around it, diplomacy has evolved ...

May 28, 2012

The politics of victimhood

When a group of gay activists engaged in an angry confrontation with Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, who was having dinner with a major columnist in a Melbourne restaurant, the journalist noted how those demanding tolerance of diversity had shown an ugly face of extreme ...

May 21, 2012

Australia and the Security Council

This autumn in New York, Australia will be contesting for one of the elected seats on the U.N. Security Council. Some domestic critics ask why bother with the United Nations? Some international critics ask why waste a vote on Australia? Both are wrong. The ...

Apr 30, 2012

Possession underscores nuclear contradictions

Can the differing world reactions to India’s missile test and North Korea’s attempted “satellite launch” be explained by the familiar saying that success has a thousand fathers while failure is an orphan? The more likely explanation is that the two tests are forcing the ...

Apr 10, 2012

World Bank could use a competitive advantage

From a turn of phrase by Jim O’Neill of Goldman Sachs in 2001, a grouping was born in 2009. BRICS (Brazil, Russia, China, India and South Africa) make up two-fifths of the world’s population, one-fifth of world gross domestic product and one-seventh of world ...

Apr 2, 2012

India and the Iran sanctions

Writing in The Diplomat on Feb. 20, R. Nicholas Burns, undersecretary of state in the Bush administration, lamented the fact that India was going to continue to purchase oil from Iran. He was reacting to reports that to circumvent Western sanctions on Iran’s central ...

Mar 17, 2012

Nuclear agenda after 3/11

A year after the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan on March 11, 2011, all but two of the country’s 54 nuclear reactors are shut down. The Japanese people remain confused, apprehensive and distrustful of government statements and reassurances. The future of the ...