Category Archives: Uncategorized

Malaysia’s fundamental political shift

Malaysia’s extraordinary election outcome, in which the six decade old government has been defeated, marks a profound and likely permanent shift for the future of politics in the country. The ruling National Front (Barisan Nasional – BN) government had retained power, particularly in the last decade or so, primarily through a system of rigged electoral […]

Trump’s ‘dumb luck’ decision making may not last

Just a couple of short weeks ago, President Donald Trump’s nay-sayers were having to re-think on his Korea strategy and, potentially, his wider unorthodox political style. Perhaps, they were being forced to ask themselves, his brinksmanship really was responsible for what is looking like a rapprochement between North and South Korea and potentially the denuclearization […]

Catalan independence referendum showdown with Madrid

The overwhelming vote of Catalonia’s referendum in favour of independence yesterday was hardly surprising, nor was the violence that accompanied it as police tried to shut down voting. Not all Catalans want independence from Spain, so avoided the vote, leaving the field clear for independence supporters, while sovereign states are usually loath to see any […]

Boycotting Myanmar

In July 2015, the then still relatively new Australia Myanmar Institute held an international conference at Yangon University. It was the first time that an international conference had been held at that university and the first time that politics had been openly discussed there since 1962. It was a great moment, before the elections which […]

Pakistan’s PM is kicked out but expect little to change

Last week the Supreme Court of Pakistan unanimously declared that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was not “honest” and that therefore he was “disqualified to be a member of Parliament”. Mr Sharif subsequently resigned, promising to use all available legal and constitutional means to challenge the verdict. This long-awaited decision was the culmination of over a […]

North Korea steps up missile testing, President Trump steps up ‘diplomacy’ via 140 characters or less

North Korea’s missile test, yesterday, was perfectly timed to help the United States ‘celebrate’ Independence Day. This deeply provocative act has ramped up global concern over how close that country is to developing a nuclear-capable missile. Consensus is developing around the missile fired into the Sea of Japan being a long-range Hwasong 14, a significant […]

In the Middle East it’s business as bloody usual

It would be easy to believe that the Islamic State is all but vanquished but that rising tensions between Saudi Arabia and Qatar will lead to World War III. There’s always been a temptation to extrapolate the best or, more commonly, the worst scenarios from given international situations. In these uneasy times, that tendency has […]

East Timor, 17 years on: a troubled past, a fragile future

Today [30th Au], 17 years ago, in the small town of Balibo, as elsewhere in East Timor, voters queued from before dawn to vote on whether their country would become independent. Having voted, they fled into the hills to await the coming storm. Pro-Indonesian militia already ruled the town, directed by the Indonesian army. In […]