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Pages tagged "National Security"


The Arab Democratic Wave and the Middle East: A Window of Opportunity?

by  Ruth Hanau Santini

The Arab Spring has impacted heavily upon the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. The fall of Mubarak and the subsequent political uncertainty in Egypt, turmoil and instability in Syria and protests in Amman have all changed Israeli and Palestinian strategic calculations. The distance between the two sides has now increased to such a point that there is now talk of the death of the already ‘stalled’ process as we know it.

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The U.S. Can Kiss its Political Power in the Pacific Goodbye: Why 2012 Will Shake Up Asia and the World

by John Feffer 

The U.S. has reached the high-water mark of its Pacific presence and influence. The geopolitical map is about to be redrawn. 

The United States has long styled itself a Pacific power. It established the model of counterinsurgency in the Philippines in 1899 and defeated the Japanese in World War II. It faced down the Chinese and the North Koreans to keep the Korean peninsula divided in 1950, and it armed the Taiwanese to the teeth. Today, America maintains the most powerful military in the Pacific region, supported by a constellation of military bases, bilateral alliances, and about 100,000 service personnel.

It has, however, reached the high-water mark of its Pacific presence and influence. The geopolitical map is about to be redrawn. Northeast Asia, the area of the world with the greatest concentration of economic and military power, is on the verge of a regional transformation. And the United States, still preoccupied with the Middle East and hobbled by a stalled and stagnating economy, will be the odd man out.

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The Trans-Pacific Partnership — Its Economic and Strategic Implications

by Joshua Meltzer

While the challenges of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Doha Round have been the focus of attention recently, real trade policy action has been happening in the Asia-Pacific region. Already the Asia-Pacific accounts for about 50 percent of trade and 60 percent of global GDP and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates that by 2030, the GDP of Asia will exceed that of the G7.

One of the key trade negotiations currently underway in the Asia-Pacific region is the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a regional free trade agreement (FTA) that comprises the United States, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. These countries represent about 26 percent of global GDP and approximately 17 percent of world trade.

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The Price of 9/11

By Joseph Stiglitz

The September 11, 2001, terror attacks by Al Qaeda were meant to harm the United States, and they did, but in ways that Osama bin Laden probably never imagined. President George W. Bush’s response to the attacks compromised America’s basic principles, undermined its economy, and weakened its security.

The attack on Afghanistan that followed the 9/11 attacks was understandable, but the subsequent invasion of Iraq was entirely unconnected to Al Qaeda – as much as Bush tried to establish a link. That war of choice quickly became very expensive – orders of magnitude beyond the $60 billion claimed at the beginning – as colossal incompetence met dishonest misrepresentation.

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For Labor's asylum seekers policy, there's only one solution

By Mick Power

How should the Gillard Government react to their latest challenge, delivered this time by the High Court's judgment on the Malaysia Solution? In the tight spot they're already in, sitting on a 27% primary vote and staring down a difficult fight on the carbon price, what to do about this latest policy dilemma?

The right thing, of course. Right now, there's nothing else they can do.

Saturday's headlines reported Tony Abbott calling Gillard to join him in a bipartisan return to the Pacific Solution, processing asylum seekers on Nauru and Manus Island. Some unnamed Labor backbenchers have even gone so far as to suggest that a return to temporary protection visas is the way forward.

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The new middle classes rise up - Marx’s revolutionary bourgeoisie finds its voice again?

THE past four years have seen a sharp contrast between recession-hit rich countries and buoyant emerging giants. This year the rich countries’ economic woes have spilled over to their politics, too: European governments are bogged down in the euro crisis while America brought upon itself a sovereign-debt downgrade. But the woe is not all on one side. Despite their economic achievements, the likes of China, India, Indonesia and Brazil—to say nothing of the Middle East—are suffering discontent almost as profound as the malaise in the West.

In India the Congress-led government of Manmohan Singh has faced its biggest challenge so far from mass demonstrations by supporters of Anna Hazare, a veteran anti-corruption campaigner who went on hunger strike in Delhi. This week Mr Hazare halted his strike with a cup of honeyed coconut water after the government agreed to pass tougher laws against graft. The protests were the culmination of a sequence of huge corruption scandals, from last year’s Commonwealth games in Delhi to the distribution of 2G mobile-telecoms spectrum licences. “What you are seeing on the street is a middle-class rebellion,” says Mohan Guruswamy, a former official at the finance ministry.

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9/11 – A Duty to Remember, but What?

By Bradley Evans and Simon Critchley

The violence witnessed ten years ago was spectacularly horrifying. Mass death quite literally broadcast “live”. Many images of that fateful day still linger. We still recoil at the moment the second plane impacted, the point at which we knew this was no accident. Our memories can still recall that frozen transience, the same experienced shared by President George Bush who in a room full of children cut a powerless figure. And still we are traumatised by the thought that any one of us may have faced that terrifying predicament, whether to jump or not as the searing heat became too intense to bear. Such an impossible decision thankfully most of us will never have to face.

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Financing terrorists and terrorism post 9/11

As the 10th anniversary approaches of the ‘9/11’ terror attacks on the United States in 2001, a law enforcement  academic at Charles Sturt University (CSU) says terrorists have shown adaptability and opportunism in meeting their funding needs.

Dr Hugh McDermott, senior lecturer in law enforcement at the CSU Australian Graduate School of Policing in Manly, says that while the direct costs of mounting individual attacks have been low relative to the damage they can yield, financing is required not just to fund specific terrorist operations, but to meet the broader organisational costs of developing and maintaining a terrorist organisation, and to create an enabling environment – infrastructure - necessary to sustain their goals and activities over time.

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The UK Riots - an Australian's view

by John August

During my recent trip to Scotland, I absorbed the saturation coverage of the English riots. Comedians were saying, "Look, now Scotland is the safest place in the UK". The Scottish first minister emphasised they were English, not Scottish riots. While OK for comedians, some felt it wrong for the first minister to say this. Perhaps he should have been showing more solidarity and sympathy for his southern neighbours. Still, the Scottish tourism brand was being tarnished through confusion with things outside its boundaries. Take your pick.

Being so close and an Australian, it gave me a different viewpoint. There was a lot of hand-wringing and comment that seemed to miss just what was important, or what was really behind the hand-wringing. It was tragic. But there's still a lot we can learn, and a lot we can misunderstand.

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The debasement of public debate

by Dr Ken Macnab

John Stuart Mill argued in On Liberty (1859) that it was 'imperative that human beings should be free to form opinions, and to express their opinions without reserve'. Moreover, they should be free to act upon these opinions, subject only to the limitation that they do no harm to others. Implicit in Mill's emphasis on freedom of opinion was the necessity for civil public debate in pursuit of the truth, a calm and systematic contest which acted as a check on power and authority.

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