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Deakin Speaking

West Papua violence escalates

West Papua is in turmoil with the killing of 31 construction workers and a soldier, widespread protests and the arrest of 537 West Papuan activists across Indonesia. These events follow what West Papuan sources say have been the killing of numerous villagers in recent weeks. Taken together, these events mark a significant escalation of the […]

Russia raises stakes in eastern Ukraine war

Russia’s firing on and then seizing three Ukrainian navy vessels attempting to pass through the Kerch Straits has raised fears of direct confrontation between Ukraine and Russia, following Russia’s intervention in the separation of Crimea and support for separatists in eastern Ukraine. The blocking of Ukrainian naval access to the Sea of Azov has sparked […]

Timor-Leste in 2018

Timor-Leste started 2018 in political chaos and ended the year with a return to the confrontational politics of the past. What appeared to be the cooperation between key parties CNRT and Fretilin in the ‘government of national unity’ between 2015-17 was shattered following the 2017 elections. The political stalemate that arose under the 2017 minority […]

Sri Lanka crisis deepens

Sri Lanka’s constitutional crisis has deepened, with a split between President Maithripala Sirisena and the man he has, allegedly illegally, appointed as Prime Minister, Mahinda Rajapaksa. This follows President Sirisena’s decision on Friday to call a snap election for 5 January, which appears to be in breach of the country’s constitution. The new elections are […]

Following mid-terms, Trump firms for 2020 elections

It may not have been the ‘tremendous success’ that President Donald Trump claimed for it, but the US mid-term elections have positioned him well to be returned as president in 2020. Having control of the House of Representatives go over to the Democrats might play in President Trump’s favor, rather than against it. It is […]

Sri Lanka’s coup

(First published today in Crikey.com) While the world wasn’t watching, Sri Lanka has had a coup, which may or may not be constitutional. On Friday, the president replaced an elected prime minister with one who had been voted out of office on the back of war crimes allegations, human rights abuses and corruption allegations. Following […]

On Populism

Angela Merkel’s resignation as leader of Germany’s Chistian Democratic Union has signaled an end to her 13 year reign as Germany’s chancellor and de facto leader of the European Union. It has also marks a victory for Germany’s populist politics, effectively claiming the scalp of its biggest prize yet. Germany’s far right populist Alternative for […]

Why Western bluster over Khashoggi will go nowhere

Published in Crikey.com today: US President Donald Trump has led global anger over the presumed murder of Saudi Arabian, US resident journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Istanbul Saudi consulate by threatening sanctions. The Saudis have replied they will retaliate more strongly. But, as with so much of President Trump’s bluster, it is unclear how much […]

The two Koreas could find peace

Symbolism is about conveying emotive meaning. So, when  North Korea’s Kim Jong-un and South Korea’s Moon Jae-in stood at the peak of the locally venerated Paektu Mountain in North Korea, near the Chinese border, and held their raised hands together, the symbolism was powerful; the two Koreas could, and would, work together. The gesture, at […]

Rough seas ahead for the Pacific Islands Forum (published in Crikey.com)

The Pacific Ocean may have been named for its peaceful winds, but this year’s 18 nation Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) has been among the most combative in its five-decade history. At issue was a confluence of sharply competing interests, with China’s growing role at the centre of them. China’s delegation stormed out of the meeting […]