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AFA Weekly is a free email published each Wednesday by Australian Foreign Affairs.
Written and curated by editor Greg Earl, it features news and insights on crucial world events and their effect on Australia, in a style that’s clear, succinct and free of jargon.
It also offers a round-up of the week’s key articles by leading foreign policy thinkers from Australia and around the world.
Read previous editions
8 May 2019
Asia’s residual royals
It has been a right royal year thus far for hereditary monarchs, those vestiges from a different time who still reign in modern Asia’s new power constellation of populists, capitalists and bureaucrats. In one single day last week we saw Thailand’s new King Maha Vajiralongkorn turn his flight attendant consort into his queen just prior to his …
1 May 2019
One road, many questions
Even after last week’s intricately choreographed second global forum of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) – to which Australia’s relationship remains unsettled – many questions are still unanswered. How is a project badged “BRI”? How might companies join the Chinese consortia that finance and build BRI infrastructure? With countries …
24 April 2019
How Joko won
Last August, Indonesian president Joko Widodo, with hours left to register a running mate for this year’s election, faced a terrible choice.
He had to decide between his preferred candidate – a former chief judge – and Ma’ruf Amin, a powerful Islamic cleric who has fuelled the nation’s growing intolerance of minorities. Ma’ruf …
17 April 2019
The election and foreign affairs
Last year, Bill Shorten promised that if he were elected, Australian foreign policy will “speak with a clear Australian accent”. He insisted he would assert Australian values, and would be confident, independent and ambitious. So, it will be interesting to see how – when it is inevitably raised during this election campaign – he handles …
10 April 2019
India’s jumbo elections
Voting starts tomorrow in India, the world’s largest democracy. It is a hefty process that involves 900 million voters, eleven million electoral officials and 800,000 polling stations. Voting will occur on seven nominated days over the next six weeks, with the results due on 23 May.
Indian elections are an incredible feat. They reflect a …
3 April 2019
The budget’s pitiful response
Tucked away inside last night’s budget papers was a surprisingly candid – and slightly alarming – note that revealed the extent of the government’s concerns about Australia’s global outlook. The note appeared on page thirteen of the budget statement for the foreign affairs and trade portfolio. It began by stating that the 2017 Foreign Policy …
27 March 2019
Is China cutting Australia out?
Earlier this year, customs officers at five harbours in northern China suddenly blocked the passage of Australian coal. Yet they waved through shipments from other countries such as Russia and Indonesia. The block later spread to other Chinese ports, apparently to allow Chinese officials to conduct “radioactivity tests”. Australian coal typically …
20 March 2019
Australia’s muffled voice
Since the devastating attack in Christchurch, there has been much discussion about the spread of xenophobic and anti-Muslim views in Australian media and politics. But this concern should also apply to the nation’s foreign affairs, where successive Australian leaders have put a distorted sense of diplomacy and realpolitik above principles and integrity.
13 March 2019
Australia’s ISIS expats
In Syria, the last holdout of Islamic State is finally being overrun. The so-called caliphate, once the size of Britain, attracted supporters from around the world, including from Australia, but has now been reduced to a small enclave on the Iraqi border. Those remaining – including some of the movement’s most vehement adherents – are surrendering, …
6 March 2019
Trade deal hype
Almost nine years ago, then prime minister Julia Gillard visited Jakarta and announced that talks had started on a free trade deal that would transform ties with Indonesia. On Monday, the agreement was signed. Scott Morrison did not attend the ceremony in Jakarta, perhaps wary of reminding Indonesians of his proposal last year to move the Australian …
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