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Regional affairs

Submitted by Project Syndicate on September 26, 2006 - 2:03am.
Censor and Sensibility

"Without endangering those in China, news organizations could conclude deals with other companies to ensure that uncensored reports are echoed from one free server to the next, thereby defying China to filter the entire Internet if it wishes to eliminate content. Of course, news organizations operate as businesses, and defying powerful governments can be a bad business strategy.": Jonathan Zittrain

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Submitted by Melody Kemp on September 21, 2006 - 4:50pm.
The Thai & I

"On Saturday I had sat with my friend Bounthanh and we watched Thai TV, all the reporters in the mandatory acid yellow that indicates deep and abiding love for the Thai king. It must be particularly unnerving for the old boys and girls of the Lao Peoples’ Democratic Republic whose one party police state is run with an iron fist and an eye to the borders. The police presence in Vientiane yesterday was probably more closely linked to the Politburo having a feeling in their collective water about what was to come over the river and wanted to show the Lao people that a similar party was not theirs to have.": Melody Kemp

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Submitted by Project Syndicate on September 19, 2006 - 10:56pm.
Islamicizing Malaysia

"Malaysian society is now gripped by a fundamental question: is the country, which is more than half Muslim, an Islamic state? In practice, various religious and ethnic groups give Malaysia a distinctly multi-cultural character. But the Malaysian constitution provides room for arguments on both sides of the question, and the relatively secular status quo is facing a serious challenge. " Maznah Mohamad

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Submitted by Melody Kemp on August 21, 2006 - 1:45am.
In the Depths of the Temple

"The Japanese Prime Minister, Junichiro Koizumi, Minister is currently stirring the regional political pot with his repeated visits to the controversial Yasukuni shrine. TV news readers allude to the temple as housing the spirits of war criminals. Most Australians probably are wondering what all the fuss is about. After all John Howard is a shrine junkie, visiting any war shrine he can be photographed at.": Melody Kemp

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Submitted by Project Syndicate on August 19, 2006 - 7:22am.
A History Lesson for Koizumi

"Once again, protests against Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s annual visit to the Yasukuni shrine are breaking out in China as well as South Korea. Koizumi’s insistence on paying homage to the war dead interred at Yasukuni, where convicted war criminals from World War II are among the buried, has been damaging relations with Japan’s neighbors for years. Yet Koizumi remains defiant." Wenran Jiang

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Submitted by drmarkhayes on August 13, 2006 - 12:00am.
Globalization and the Re-Shaping of Christianity in the Pacific Islands

"Christianity in its many forms, Hindu and Muslim faiths, and traditional religions or beliefs, are of enormous influence in the Pacific, and anybody seeking to really understand the Region who ignores or neglects the very strong religious currents Out There is making a category (fatal) error. One of those currents concerns the impacts of contemporary fundamentalist or pentecostal, often US-origin or influenced, globalizing, often direct satellite broadcast delivered, 'religious' operations.": Dr Mark Hayes

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Submitted by Melody Kemp on August 8, 2006 - 8:37am.
Out of sight, out of mines

"In the years of the American war in Indochina, the tiny landlocked country of Laos became the most heavily bombed country on earth. Some 30 million tonnes of bombs rained down on the population of Lao in a deluge of death and destruction. And still, each year at least 400 Laos are killed by Unexploded Ordnance (UXO). Not mines, as in Cambodia, but unexploded bombs, missiles, and bombies - brightly coloured anti personnel cluster bombs particularly attractive to children. It is fitting in a time of media dominance of events like war, and our increasingly short term memory for horror, to remind ourselves that long after CNN packs its cameras, BBC reporters take off their flak jackets, and the ABC has filed the footage, the aftermath of war goes on. And on. And on." Melody Kemp

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Submitted by Project Syndicate on August 6, 2006 - 8:30am.
The Rape of Freedom in Burma

"Burma is failing miserably to live up to the standards of decency that the Southeast Asian region is setting for itself. The military remains firmly in control, the rule of law is absent, and the government refuses to admit to the systematic sexual violence committed by its soldiers as they terrorize the population. All of Burma’s people deserve security, and refugee women and girls who have experienced gender-based violence need the world’s solidarity and support. ": Teresa Kok Suh Sim, Nursyahbani Katjasungkana and Eva K. Sundari

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Submitted by Joseph Nye on July 29, 2006 - 11:57am.
Taming North Korea

"The fires of the Middle East must not be allowed to distract the world’s attention from the threat posed by North Korea’s nuclear ambitions, which it demonstrated by its recent test of a long-range missile. Yet that is what appears to be happening." Joseph S Nye

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Submitted by Guest Contributor on July 11, 2006 - 1:28pm.
Should Australia Think Big or Small in Foreign Policy?

This is Alexander Downer's speech last night to the Centre for Independent Studies. Worth a debate?

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Submitted by Project Syndicate on June 16, 2006 - 9:10am.
Will China's Capitalist Revolution Turn Democratic?

"Communist China has experienced a monumental capitalist revolution in the last two decades, with an economy that is now six times bigger than it was 20 years ago. A minor player in the global economy in the 1980’s, China today is the world’s third largest trading power. But if these stunning economic statistics make you think that so much capitalist development must also have brought more democracy to China, think again.": Minxin Pei

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Submitted by Project Syndicate on June 8, 2006 - 8:49am.
Southeast Asia's Arms Race

"Southeast Asia’s return to prosperity since the financial crisis of 1997 has brought a region-wide splurge on new weapons. Most Southeast Asian countries are, indeed, now busily modernizing their armed forces. So far, most have done so without compromising their autonomy in security matters. But, with China’s military build-up causing nervousness everywhere, many governments in the region are starting to work with outside powers.": Hideaki Kaneda

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Submitted by Project Syndicate on May 3, 2006 - 7:30am.
The Philippines' sanctuaries of terror

"The presence of insurgent or terrorist sanctuaries in non-belligerent countries is one of the most intractable, explosive issues in international relations. It was a central fact of the Vietnam War, brought about the destruction of Lebanon, and continues to plague the coalition in Iraq. It is also key to the present war on terror in Southeast Asia." Kit Collier and Malcolm Cook

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Submitted by drmarkhayes on April 24, 2006 - 11:32am.
Peering into a kava bowl, again... predictions for Fiji's election outcome
"Indos, still more of whom have voted with their feet since 2000 and migrated overseas, taking their skills with them, largely assume and operate on the assumption that indigenous Fijians will dominate government in the foreseeable future, so they have to accommodate themselves to it or get out." Dr Mark Hayes
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Submitted by Betty Birskys on April 4, 2006 - 12:44am.
Solomon Islands quandary

"Tomorrow, Solomon Islanders go to the poll. I hope they get a good government, they deserve it, but after only a short stay there I can’t help wondering if this is even possible, let alone probable..." Betty Birskys

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Submitted by Irfan Yusuf on March 31, 2006 - 8:00am.
Tony's Trans-Tasman Terror Talk

"During his recent visit to New Zealand, British Prime Minister Tony Blair spoke of climate change, closer bilateral relations and the strong historical ties between Britain and New Zealand. But not of Iraq. And who could blame him. Even when visiting Australia, a most willing partner in the Iraq expedition, both Blair and visiting US Secretary of State Rice faced anti-war protests." Irfan Yusuf

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Submitted by Project Syndicate on March 15, 2006 - 8:22am.
The crisis of Thai democracy

"The Thai people cannot afford to look to their aging and ailing King every time they have a problem. Moreover, a royal intervention would risk returning Thailand to square one, seeking to rewrite its constitution to remedy the shortfalls of its democratic culture." Thitinan Pongsudhirak

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Submitted by Irfan Yusuf on February 19, 2006 - 8:48pm.
Sharia for complete bankers - Part 1

"Sharia is a concept that scares the shut (as they’d say in Otago) out of so many of us accustomed to living the good life in the lands of the free. Sharia conjures up a life with no privacy, where bearded morality police in long robes patrol the streets searching for spare limbs to amputate." Irfan Yusuf

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Submitted by PF Journey on December 17, 2005 - 11:44am.
Asian’s dog’s breakfast

"No, this is not about the Asian fondness of chomping Rover. This about the many forums, summits, talk-fests etc that have been inflicted on us by the politicians of our region. The latest is the East Asia Summit (EAS) in Kuala Lumpur (14/12/05) recently attended by the reluctant John Howard. It must have been a very difficult and uncomfortable summit for John Howard. One can see that from his verbal and body language." PF Journey

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Submitted by drmarkhayes on December 12, 2005 - 1:20am.
What's Going on in Tonga?

"While I describe what's happening in Tonga as a 'revolution', with faint echoes to European revolutions of the late 1700s and into the 1800s, there's no indication whatsoever of Tonga going down that bloody route. Nor is there any indication of Tonga lurching into a 'fragile' or 'failing' state scenario, such as Fiji in 2000, or, worse, The Solomon Islands that same year. It's nowhere near a 'ruined' or 'plundered state' situation, such as PNG arguably has become..." Dr Mark Hayes.

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Submitted by Guest Contributor on December 7, 2005 - 11:30pm.
The mice that roared

"Alexander Downer has expressed himself perplexed and upset that he has been accused of not doing enough to save the life of Nguyen Tuong Van. Well he did not and the result speaks for itself. Downer was obviously moved by the plight of Van Nguyen when it became obvious, in the last week, that his formal diplomatic endeavours had fallen on deaf ears. That emotion might have been better deployed earlier, more creatively and in a less pro forma fashion." Bruce Haigh

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Submitted by Guest Contributor on December 3, 2005 - 12:44am.
Against the dying of the light

Hoping for the hopeless

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Submitted by Phil Uebergang on November 30, 2005 - 1:00am.
China, where everything is big

"It is a chaotic nation in which everything seems to be happening at once. The immense building projects underway, the masses of factories and power stations pumping out unbelievable smog, the huge coal fields and endless villages - you can't help but wonder, constantly, where China is going with all this." Phil Uebergang

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Submitted by tony kevin on October 8, 2005 - 12:52am.
ADF chain of command - accountability v subservience

"The list of examples of questionable ADF conduct over the past four years is very telling. Let me just flesh out the list a little to remind readers of what the substance is. All of these instances are serious cases where the ADF command structure or senior ADF figures in positions of authority and presumed accountability, set aside their own service rules and codes of conduct, and their service loyalties, in their anxiety to give the PM what he wanted of them, or what they may have guessed he wanted of them. And of course, this is how authoritarian unaccountable power structures operate - the subordinates interpret what the leader wants done and they do it, without asking him to specify exactly what he wants done - because they know he does not want to know the detail of what was done or how it was done." Tony Kevin

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Submitted by Stuart Lord on July 3, 2005 - 2:50am.
Mugabe's repression: a call for action

"What if there was military action taken in Zimbabwe for the specific purpose to remove Mugabe and Zanu-PF, holding true and free elections and using the planned aid money to rebuild the economy shattered by years of mismanagement and deliberate destruction? On human rights grounds alone the removal of Mugabe and Zanu-PF would be justified." Stuart Lord

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Submitted by PF Journey on February 18, 2005 - 6:55pm.
Pride and Prejudice: is the third Sino-Japanese war inevitable?
"Although North Korea is grabbing all the headlines, it is only a red herring. The real issue is the little reported rising tensions between the two super powers of East Asia, namely China and Japan. The Chinese and Japanese people have many things in common: ethnicity, custom, culture and language. One can almost say they are family. However, like any family, when family members squabble, it can turn really nasty. They have a 'love hate' relationship that has been running for thousand of years." PF Journey
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