Author Archives: Damien Kingsbury

About Damien Kingsbury

Razak’s Malaysia might be crazier than Trump’s America right now

Originally published in What on earth has happened to Malaysian politics over the past few days? That’s what the country’s long-time opposition figure, Anwar Ibrahim, must be contemplating as he wallows inside his prison cell about 25 kilometres north-west of Kuala Lumpur. Malaysia’s political wheel hasn’t just turned, it has turned inside out: […]

The two Koreas first step on a long road to peace

Talks today between representatives of North and South Korea are expected to begin a de-escalation of tensions that had, over recent months, brought North Korea alarmingly close to nuclear war. The tensions arose as a result of North Korea’s nuclear weapons program and long-range missile-testing, which present a major threat to a number of aligned […]

Timor-Leste: two autocrats slug it out

  For a year that started so well in Timor-Leste, it has ended badly. The country in a constitutional crisis, its minority government refusing to reconvene parliament, and there is the prospect of new elections in 2018 looming. 2017 saw Presidential and Parliamentary elections, both of which were peaceful and which indicated that the country’s […]

Papua Controversy

I have been sent a link by an Indonesian acquaintance about being accused, on CNN Indonesia, by a senior former Indonesian general of being involved in, or behind, recent unrest in West Papua. This allegation is quite untrue. In that same statement, the former general also vastly exaggerated my role in Timor-Leste in 1999. […]

East Timor on the brink

As East Timor went to elections this year, the country was the most peaceful and united it had been in its short history. The CNRT-Fretilin government of national inclusion had functioned well, it appeared that the ‘Generation of ‘75’ exemplified by Xanana Gusmao, was stepping back from politics and, with the initialing of an agreement […]

Hope for an end to Yemen civil war dashed with death of former president

The death of former Yemen President Ali Abdullah Saleh as he fled the capital of Sanaa has ended hopes of a possible end to Yemen’s civil war. Saleh abandoned his Houthi rebel allies on the weekend, sparking severe fighting in Sanaa. Despite having an initial advantage, Saleh’s less numerous forces were quickly overwhelmed and Saleh […]

China, the White Paper and the decline of the US

It is unsurprising that Australia’s 2017 foreign policy white paper says little of direct substance and is cautious about change. The world around us is rapidly changing and increasingly uncertain, and our foreign policy boffins generally don’t like unpredictability. But that’s what they have, and have managed to allude to it without providing a detailed […]

Mugabe’s fall from … Grace

‘It is not a coup and anyone who says it is will be shot’, or so should have said Zimbabwe’s military after they took Robert Mugabe and his wife into custody, patrolled the capital of Harare in tanks and positioned troops on the streets.  Zimbabweans were warned not to come out because of the possibility […]