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AFA Weekly is a free email published each Wednesday by Schwartz Media’s Australian Foreign Affairs journal.
Written and curated by editor Jonathan Pearlman, it features news and insights on crucial world events and their effect on Australia.
It includes links to commentary and reporting by leading foreign policy thinkers from Australia and around the world, presented in a style that’s clear, succinct and free of jargon.
Read previous editions
1 April 2020
COVID-19 – neighbourhood watch
Indonesia, the world’s fourth most populous country, has reported 136 deaths from COVID-19 but just 1528 cases, giving it one of the world’s highest fatality rates. President Joko Widodo has been resisting a nationwide shutdown, but schools and entertainment venues have been closed in Jakarta. Indonesian health experts say the fatality rate is …
25 March 2020
Globalisation and COVID-19
Australia, which has spent decades trying to build bridges to Asia and beyond, is an island again. As COVID-19 spreads, Australia and countries around the world have been raising borders and fencing themselves in. Europe’s free movement of people has ended. The United States has closed itself off from Canada and Mexico.
These measures …
18 March 2020
The geopolitics of COVID-19
These are strange and difficult times. I hope you’re healthy and well.
COVID-19 is disrupting global economics, politics and societal functioning. As past crises have done, it will also cause lasting changes to the international order. Each week, we will try to track these shifts at AFA Weekly. Some will take time to unfold and understand; …
11 March 2020
Coronavirus – a tale of four nations
The coronavirus has now been detected on all continents except Antarctica, and is expected to spread to all countries (it has already reached more than 100). It will have a lasting impact on international affairs, much as the global financial crisis did. The 2008 financial crisis undermined confidence in democracy and capitalism, prompted the first …
4 March 2020
Out of the Middle East, into the Indo-Pacific
On Saturday, the United States and the Taliban signed a peace deal that may finally end America’s – and Australia’s – longest war. The war in Afghanistan is almost twenty years old. It has led to the deaths of more than 100,000 Afghans, and almost 2400 US troops. Australia joined the war at the outset. More than forty Australians have since …
26 February 2020
Missing out on India
In India this week, Donald Trump addressed the biggest political rally of his career. More than 100,000 people attended a “Namaste Trump” event, which was held at the world’s largest cricket stadium in Gujarat, home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Onstage, Modi and Trump shared a hug (Modi’s trademark) and exchanged lavish compliments. …
19 February 2020
Can we trust America?
Last weekend, global leaders, diplomats and security officials gathered in Germany for the Munich Security Conference, the world’s largest foreign policy event. This year’s theme was “Westlessness”, a reference to growing anxiety about the West’s declining influence as it encounters powerful rivals.
But US Secretary of State Mike …
12 February 2020
Wuhan and diplomacy
Australian diplomats are currently attempting a delicate task that could save the country billions of dollars – they are trying to persuade China to open a small gap in its great internet firewall.
As a result of the Wuhan coronavirus, about 100,000 fee-paying Chinese students may not make it to Australia for the start of the academic year. …
5 February 2020
Taco Bell in Indonesia
On Saturday, Indonesian president Joko Widodo is due to arrive in Australia for a visit that will include a speech to the joint houses of parliament. This will be the first such address since March 2010, when President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono urged Australians to see Indonesia as “more than a beach playground with coconut trees”.
In the …
29 January 2020
Wuhan tests trust in China
In 2003, a semi-retired surgeon in China, Jiang Yanyong, wrote a letter to the nation’s leaders, revealing that authorities had been covering up the extent of the SARS epidemic. Chinese authorities responded by sacking the minister of health and mayor of Beijing. They then put Jiang under police surveillance before detaining him.
Five years …
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