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The Lowy Institute is an independent, nonpartisan international policy think tank located in Sydney, Australia. The Institute provides high-quality research and distinctive perspectives on foreign policy trends shaping Australia and the world. On Soundcloud we host podcasts from our events with high-level guest speakers as well as our own experts. Essential listening for anyone seeking to better understand foreign policy challenges!
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One year after the corruption-tainted government of Najib Razak was ousted in a stunning electoral upset, sentiment in Malaysia has turned from elation to frustration. The motley coalition led by Mahathir Mohamad, the 93-year-old former and now new prime minister, has been weighed down by in-fighting. There are growing fears that he is backsliding on promises to roll back draconian laws and reinvigorate the sluggish economy. Is Mahathir really a changed man? Will his government be subsumed by internal battles? And how will he manage growing US–China rivalry and simmering tensions with neighbouring Singapore? Two leading experts on Malaysian politics, Professor James Chin and Dr Vilashini Somiah, and the Director of the Lowy Institute’s Southeast Asia Project, Ben Bland, discussed these pressing questions and more.Professor James Chin is Director of the Asia Institute at the University of Tasmania. He is a leading commentator on Malaysian politics and has published extensively on Malaysia and the surrounding region. He is the author of a recent Lowy Institute paper, New Malaysia: Four Key Challenges in the Near Term. He has written and edited several books on Southeast Asian politics including Malaysia Post-Mahathir: A Decade of Change?.Dr Vilashini Somiah is the Head of Research at Iman, a think-tank in Kuala Lumpur that focuses on community engagement. It is known for its research on preventing violent extremism, socio-religious trends and public perceptions. Vila has a PhD in Southeast Asian Studies from the National University of Singapore. Her academic work focused on irregular cross-border migrants on the island of Borneo and their struggle against state power.This event was part of the ASEAN–Australia Visiting Fellows Program at the Lowy Institute, which is supported by the Australian Government through the Australia–ASEAN Council of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
The Indian general election is the world’s biggest exercise in democracy, with 900 million eligible voters. The election has been held in seven phases since 11 April, and results were declared on 23 May. Prime Minister and leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party Narendra Modi has been elected for a second term. India’s foreign policy under Prime Minister Modi has divided analysts. Some believe India’s foreign policy has undergone a remarkable transformation, others argue Modi has merely repackaged the policies of his predecessors. Under Modi, the quad alliance with Japan, Australia and the United States has been resuscitated, although he has pursued a ‘neighbourhood first’ focus in foreign policy. On the border with Pakistan, tensions have escalated to the level of nuclear threat. Bilateral relations with China are a balancing act. Professor Harsh V Pant, Director of Studies and Head of the Strategic Studies Programme at New Delhi’s Observer Research Foundation, gave an address on the future of India’s foreign policy in the wake of Prime Minister Modi’s re-election. Professor Harsh V Pant is an influential and prolific foreign, defence and strategic policy writer and thinker. His latest book, Indian Foreign Policy: The Modi Era, was launched in April 2019 by India’s former Foreign Secretary, Dr S Jaishankar. Professor Pant visited as a guest of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade as part of its Canberra Fellowships Program.
The Lowy Institute was pleased to host the Hon Kevin Rudd for a discussion on Xi Jinping’s China and the new era of strategic competition with the United States across trade, technology, and geopolitics. Mr Rudd served as Australia’s prime minister and foreign minister, lived in China as a diplomat, has studied the country’s history, politics, and language over many years, and has dealt with the leaders of the ruling Communist Party at the most senior levels. Mr Rudd, who now leads the Asia Society Policy Institute in New York, had a conversation with Richard McGregor, Lowy Institute’s Senior Fellow for East Asia. They were also joined by Chris Johnson, senior adviser and Freeman Chair of China Studies at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. Mr Johnson previously served as a CIA analyst for China.This event was presented in partnership with the Asia Society.
Since September 11, Australia has enacted over 80 counterterrorism and national security laws. The laws are often controversial although usually passed quickly through Parliament. The Independent National Security Legislation Monitor (INSLM) reports on whether such laws are necessary, proportionate to the threats that caused them to be enacted, and comply with human rights standards and international law obligations. The role has been described as “an important and valued component of Australia’s national security architecture”.Lowy Institute Research Fellow Dr Rodger Shanahan had a conversation with the current Monitor, Dr James Renwick SC, where they discussed the role of the INSLM and two laws under his review: the so-called ‘encryption laws’ that allow security agencies to access encrypted messages; and the laws that lead to automatic loss of citizenship by dual citizens who engage in acts of terrorism.Dr James Renwick SC is a member of the NSW Bar with a general commercial and public law practice, and particular interests in appellate, disciplinary, national security and inquiry work. He is an Adjunct Professor of Law at the Australian National University and since 2017 has been the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor.
When Vladimir Putin was re-elected as Russian president in 2018, his position as the dominant personality of the post-Soviet era was enshrined. In his 15 years as president over two terms, he has established himself as the strongman of a resurgent great power. He has been unrelenting in the pursuit of core goals: the consolidation of political authority at home; and the promotion of Russia as an indispensable power.Eminent Russian journalist Yevgenia Albats had a conversation with the Director of the Lowy Institute’s Asian Power and Diplomacy Program, Hervé Lemahieu, about Russian politics and what it means for the rest of the world. Yevgenia Albats is a Russian investigative journalist, political scientist, author and radio host. She is Editor-in-Chief and CEO of The New Times, a Moscow-based, Russian language independent political weekly. She is also the host of Absolute Albats, a talk show on Echo Moskvy, the only remaining liberal radio station in Russia. She was an Alfred Friendly Press Fellow assigned to the Chicago Tribune in 1990, and a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University in 1993. She graduated from Moscow State University in 1980 and received her PhD in Political Science from Harvard University in 2004.Dr Albats visited Australia with the support of the University of Melbourne.
The foreign policy of Sir Robert Menzies, Australia’s longest-serving Prime Minister, has often been judged as beholden to Britain and the United States. Under Menzies, however, Australia took some steps towards a more independent role for Australia in foreign policy. Key initiatives include the signing of the ANZUS Treaty, the Colombo Plan and the Australia–Japan Commerce Agreement. Troy Bramston’s latest biography, Robert Menzies: The Art of Politics, reveals a wealth of new information about the Menzies years, including his role in the Suez crisis.Lowy Institute Executive Director Dr Michael Fullilove had a conversation with Troy Bramston, where they explored Menzies’ foreign policy successes and missteps and the lessons they may yield for Australian foreign policy in the future. Troy Bramston is a senior writer and columnist with The Australian and is the author or editor of nine books on Australian politics and political biography. His new biography, Robert Menzies: The Art of Politics, was published in April 2019.
In Remaking the Middle East, Lowy Institute Nonresident Fellow Anthony Bubalo argued that despite continuing turmoil in the region the future of the Middle East was not inevitably bleak. Amid the ferment the region has experienced over the past decade and a half he also pointed to ‘green shoots’ of change: from new forms of ‘uncivil’ society driving social and political change to ‘impious’ politics, making societies more tolerant and pluralist. But one year on, are these green shoots maturing into more sturdy features of the region? Or are they being killed and uprooted by the region’s revived authoritarianism? Lowy Institute Research Fellow Lydia Khalil discussed these and other questions with the author.Anthony Bubalo is a Principal at Nous Group, a Nonresident Fellow of the Lowy Institute, and a commentator on Middle Eastern politics and global affairs. Lydia Khalil is a Research Fellow in the West Asia Program at the Lowy Institute and Director of Arcana Partners, a political and security consulting firm. She is a specialist in Middle Eastern politics and terrorism and has published widely on her areas of expertise.
Through the course of Xi Jinping’s presidency, China has been working to shape an alternative version of the internet – one in which the party state asserts its cyber sovereignty through an extensive censorship apparatus. Many foreign news sources are blocked at the border, and sensitive topics are censored. At a time when open societies are grappling with how to manage the downsides of a free internet such as hate speech and extremist material, other nations are embracing China’s restrictive practices.Hong Kong-based CNN International technology reporter and author of The Great Firewall of China James Griffiths, New York Times reporter Vicky Xiuzhong Xu, Lowy Institute Research Fellow and former Beijing-based diplomat Natasha Kassam, had a discussion with Lowy Institute Research Fellow Kelsey Munro, to explore the history, politics and reality of online censorship in China, and the consequences of an authoritarian internet for the rest of the world.
China’s economic future is more uncertain than ever. Challenges have mounted on multiple fronts, including slowing growth, rising financial risks, and increasingly difficult external relations, not least with the United States.Lowy Institute International Economy Program Director Roland Rajah hosted a conversation with one of the world’s foremost experts on the Chinese economy, Dr Nicholas Lardy of the Peterson Institute for International Economics.Dr Lardy will present the findings from his latest book, arguing that China’s future growth prospects could remain as bright as they were in the past, but are overshadowed by the spectre of resurgent state dominance.
More than a decade since the global financial crisis, economic thinking has continued to evolve, shaped by the harsh realities of recent experience. With global economic governance also under pressure and potentially fraying, the kind of cooperation needed to contain potential crises and sustain global economic prosperity is vastly more difficult and uncertain. What are the key lessons from the 2008 crisis and what does this mean for managing future economic crises?Lowy Institute International Economy Program Director Roland Rajah and Professor Maurice Obstfeld, former Chief Economist at the International Monetary Fund and Professor of Economics at the University of California, Berkeley, discussed the latest economic thinking on the future of the global economy and where policymaking is headed.
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Comments (1)

Sam Love

I fully agree to and support end did rest in future will promote Asia project Ben Bland all directors and same time same International support program ya this is from panel discussion :the year ahead in with Sydney metting 2019 tick Sam Power of Love

Apr 12th
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