Jonathan Pearlman
Jonathan Pearlman

Jonathan Pearlman is the editor of Australian Foreign Affairs and the world editor of The Saturday Paper. He previously worked at The Sydney Morning Herald, covering foreign affairs and politics from Canberra and Sydney. He has worked as a correspondent in the Middle East, and has covered various international stories, including the 2008 US election and the violence in eastern Congo. He is a correspondent for The Straits Times newspaper (Singapore) and was Australia–Pacific correspondent for The Telegraph (UK). His work has appeared in numerous publications, including The Diplomat, Good Weekend magazine and Australian Book Review, and he has been a Walkley Award finalist and a United Nations Media Award winner.  He was born in Sydney and studied at the University of New South Wales and Oxford University.

Australia is increasingly affected by events beyond its borders, especially as global power and wealth shifts towards Asia. The challenges facing Australia and the region are varied and complex, but they are also fascinating. There is a strong need and appetite for a publication that explores these challenges and debates the ways Australia should respond.

— Jonathan Pearlman, Editor, Australian Foreign Affairs

As a contributor

An Alliance in Flux

An alliance in flux

Power play in the Pacific

What challenges does Australia face as the world's great powers battle for a foothold in the Pacific?

Australia and the Changing World Order

How has Russia's invasion of Ukraine changed the international security, economic and political terrain?

AFA13 cover image
Asia's Huge Question

Could India, an emerging giant and growing geopolitical player, change the balance of power in the Indo-Pacific?

AFA12 Feeling the Heat cover image
Australia Under Climate Pressure

As countries including the United States edge closer to international climate action, will Australia follow suit, or risk becoming an outlier?

AFA11 The March of Autocracy
Australia’s Fateful Choices

The eleventh issue of Australian Foreign Affairs examines the rise of authoritarian and illiberal leaders, whose growing assertiveness is reshaping the Western-led world order.

Friends, Allies and Enemies
Asia’s Shifting Loyalties

Friends, Allies and Enemies looks at Australia’s diplomatic options as loyalties shift in an increasingly turbulent region.

Cover of AFA9 SPY VS SPY
The New Age of Espionage

The ninth issue of Australian Foreign Affairs explores the threat facing Australia as changes in technology enable malign actors to target individuals, officials, businesses and infrastructure – challenges that have only sharpened due to COVID-19.

Articles by Jonathan Pearlman

 Five big COVID-19 questions
And five answers from AFA

Extracts by Jonathan Pearlman

As an editor

The AUKUS Delusion

The latest issue of Australian Foreign Affairs examines Australia’s momentous decision to form a security pact with the United States and the United Kingdom that includes an ambitious, expensive and risky plan to acquire nuclear-power submarines – a move that will have far-reaching military and strategic consequences.

Dead in the water looks at whether the AUKUS deal will enhance or undermine Australia’s security as tensions between China and the US rise, at the impact on Australia’s ties with its regional neighbours, and at whether the submarines plan is likely to ever be achieved.

Essays include: 

  • Hugh White examines whether Australia needs nuclear-powered submarines and whether the AUKUS plan will deliver them.
  • Susannah Patton looks at the lessons for Australia from the region’s responses to AUKUS.
  • Elizabeth Buchanan explores how Australia could use its valuable geography to enhance ties with AUKUS allies and other partners.
  • Andrew Davies weighs the benefits of nuclear-powered submarines against the costs of acquiring and maintaining them.
  • Hervé Lemahieu proposes that Australia pursue a common travel area and an integrated digital market with the Pacific.
  • Jack Corbett considers Solomon Islands’ economic options in an era of great power rivalry
Does China really want to attack Australia?

The latest issue of Australian Foreign Affairs examines China’s ultimate goals as an emerging superpower, including the extent of its territorial ambitions.

The New Domino Theory looks at Australia's place in China’s long-term plans and at the threat – if any – that Beijing poses to Australian security, politics and society. 

Essays include:

  • Power play: What does China want from Australia?
  • Uncommon destiny: How Beijing sees the world
  • Agents and influence: Inside the foreign interference threat
  • No daylight: Behind the Labor-Coalition consensus on AUKUS and China

PLUS Correspondence on AFA18: We Need to Talk About America, The Fix, and more

An Alliance in Flux

An alliance in flux

Power play in the Pacific

What challenges does Australia face as the world's great powers battle for a foothold in the Pacific?

Australia and the Changing World Order

How has Russia's invasion of Ukraine changed the international security, economic and political terrain?

AFA15: Our Unstable Neighbourhood
The Contest for South-East Asia

As the great powers clash in South-East Asia, how will Australia secure its interests in the region?

Cover of AFA14 The Taiwan Choice
Showdown in Asia

If Asia’s key flashpoint erupts into war, what will Australia do? The decision could reshape our future in Asia.

AFA13 cover image
Asia's Huge Question

Could India, an emerging giant and growing geopolitical player, change the balance of power in the Indo-Pacific?

AFA12 Feeling the Heat cover image
Australia Under Climate Pressure

As countries including the United States edge closer to international climate action, will Australia follow suit, or risk becoming an outlier?

AFA11 The March of Autocracy
Australia’s Fateful Choices

The eleventh issue of Australian Foreign Affairs examines the rise of authoritarian and illiberal leaders, whose growing assertiveness is reshaping the Western-led world order.