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With Jonathan Pearlman

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22 April 2020

COVID-19: Canberra confronts Beijing

On Sunday, Minister of Foreign Affairs Marise Payne abandoned her usual caution and lashed out at China, suggesting that Beijing may have deliberately blocked an Australian military aircraft from delivering aid to Vanuatu.

Payne was referring to an “absolutely regrettable” incident – as she put it – that occurred on 12 April. An A320 …

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15 April 2020

United States or China? Neither, thanks

For flag-wavers on each side of the United States–China divide, the COVID-19 pandemic is providing plenty of ammunition. Washington has focused on the Chinese cover-up during the early days of the outbreak. “I wish China would have told us how bad the situation was”, Donald Trump said late last month. Beijing, meanwhile, has targeted Washington’s …

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8 April 2020

COVID-19: Australia needs to step up

A note to readers:
Thank you to all who responded to the COVID-19 crisis by taking out a subscription to Australian Foreign Affairs. We were all touched by your support at this uncertain and difficult time. Now, more than ever, we believe Australia needs to think about its place in the world and to embrace clear, fresh approaches …

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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 …

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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 …

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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; …

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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 …

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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 …

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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. …

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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 …

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