Working Papers

A Geoeconomic Alliance: The Potential and Limits of Economic Statecraft

I have a new report out with the United States Studies Centre, A Geoeconomic Alliance: The Potential and Limits of Economic Statecraft. The report examines the history and application of economic statecraft and its relevance to the Australia-US alliance and US-China strategic competition. An important theme that emerges from the report is the limits to economic statecraft in pursuing geopolitical objectives. In particular, China’s economic statecraft has prompted defensive reactions in target countries, including strengthening cooperation with the United States.

There is a short version in Australian Outlook.

posted on 30 September 2021 by skirchner in Economics, Foreign Affairs & Defence, Foreign Investment, Free Trade & Protectionism

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Countering China’s trade coercion should be alliance agenda

I have an op-ed in the AFR arguing that China’s economic statecraft, including its attempted coercion of Australia, has mostly been unsuccessful in promoting its geopolitical objectives and may prompt a collective allied response.

posted on 21 September 2021 by skirchner in Economics, Foreign Affairs & Defence, Free Trade & Protectionism

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CIS Policy Point Lecture: Stern Hu and Stern China

CIS Policy Point Lecture: Stern Hu and Stern China - Why Beijing did it and what it means for Australia-China Relations.

Since the arrest of Rio Tinto executive Stern Hu in mid July, Beijing has stood firm by reiterating several times that evidence against Mr. Hu for commercial espionage causing massive losses to the Chinese state is serious and irrefutable. What has Stern Hu actually done, why has China chosen to charge Mr. Hu and others for espionage, rather than commercial theft, and what will the consequences of this action be for diplomatic and political relations between Australia and China? Join research fellow at CIS and visiting fellow at the Hudson Institute in Washington, Dr John Lee and Paul Kelly, Editor-at-Large of The Australian, as they discuss this issue.

Venue: The Library, The Centre for Independent Studies, Level 4, 38 Oxley Street, St Leonards.
Parking is available across the road at the Hume Street Car Park.

Date: Tuesday, 25 August 2009
Time: 6:00pm – 7:15pm followed by drinks.

Cost: Members – free, Non Members $10 payable in advance by credit card.

Booking: Places are limited and reservations essential. To book please email CIS Events Assistant, Alanna Elliott, at aelliott AT cis.org.au or call (02) 9438 4377.

posted on 24 August 2009 by skirchner in Economics, Foreign Affairs & Defence

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Why the RAAF is Years Ahead of the USAF

The Royal Australian Air Force is a good seven years ahead of the US when it comes to scaring office workers with low altitude photo shoots.

posted on 28 April 2009 by skirchner in Foreign Affairs & Defence

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posted on 01 February 2008 by skirchner in Culture & Society, Economics, Financial Markets, Foreign Affairs & Defence, Higher Education, Misc, Politics

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Pro-War Libertarians

Randy Barnett has a WSJ op-ed on libertarian approaches to war and self-defence, which is partly a response to Ron Paul’s lamentable performance in the Republican presidential candidate debates.  An unfortunate aspect of libertarianism and classical liberalism in the US is its continued fusion with Old Right isolationism, a phenomenon that is largely absent from these traditions outside the US.  As the lead-in to the op-ed notes, ‘first principles tell us little about what constitutes appropriate and effective self-defense.’  There are exceptions to these isolationist views, however, as Barnett notes:

there are those pro-invasion libertarians who are now following the progress of Operations Phantom Thunder and Arrowhead Ripper. They hope that the early signs of progress in this offensive will continue, so that American and Iraqi forces can achieve the military victory necessary to allow the Iraqi government to assume responsibility for protecting the Iraqi people from terrorists, as well as from religious sectarian violence. They hope this success will enable American soldiers to leave Iraq even before they leave Europe and Korea, and regain the early momentum that led, for example, to Libya’s abandonment of its nuclear weapons program.

These libertarians are still rooting for success in Iraq because it would make Americans more safe, while defeat would greatly undermine the fight against those who declared war on the U.S. They are concerned that Americans may get the misleading impression that all libertarians oppose the Iraq war—as Ron Paul does—and even that libertarianism itself dictates opposition to this war. It would be a shame if this misinterpretation inhibited a wider acceptance of the libertarian principles that would promote the general welfare of the American people.

posted on 17 July 2007 by skirchner in Economics, Foreign Affairs & Defence

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North Korean Missile Launches for Fun and Profit

Intrade has a contract available on a North Korean missile launch outside its airspace by 31 July, but not if Ashton Carter and William Perry get their way:

if North Korea persists in its launch preparations, the United States should immediately make clear its intention to strike and destroy the North Korean Taepodong missile before it can be launched. This could be accomplished, for example, by a cruise missile launched from a submarine carrying a high-explosive warhead. The blast would be similar to the one that killed terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in Iraq. But the effect on the Taepodong would be devastating. The multi-story, thin-skinned missile filled with high-energy fuel is itself explosive—the U.S. airstrike would puncture the missile and probably cause it to explode. The carefully engineered test bed for North Korea’s nascent nuclear missile force would be destroyed, and its attempt to retrogress to Cold War threats thwarted. There would be no damage to North Korea outside the immediate vicinity of the missile gantry.

posted on 22 June 2006 by skirchner in Financial Markets, Foreign Affairs & Defence

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Bin Laden the Blogger

Brendan O’Neill makes the case for bin Laden as blogger:

The latest statement reveals the extent to which bin Laden borrows from Western discussions of the Middle East. He seems less a man with a clear religious or political agenda than a parasite feeding off the fear and loathing of his enemies…

Bin Laden’s reliance on Western theorizing about the reasons for Al Qaeda’s existence and actions is clear in Messages to the World. Reading his statements from 1994 to 2004, one can see clearly that he transforms himself from a religious crank obsessed by Saudi Arabia (circa 1994) to a self-described warrior for Palestine (around 2001–02) to a full-fledged Bush basher (from 2004 onward). His campaign is shaped less by his own program of ideas or aims than it is by the West’s interpretation of that campaign.

O’Neill is wrong to suggest that the echo chamber quality of bin Laden’s statements is symptomatic of a lack of purpose.  The fact that bin Laden is cynical and opportunistic enough to position himself within Western intra-mural debates shows that he studies his enemies’ internal divisions and seeks to exploit them…even to the point of having a position on Kyoto.

posted on 03 May 2006 by skirchner in Foreign Affairs & Defence

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United Nations Reform

Forget John Bolton.  Tim Blair has found the man to clean-up the UN.

posted on 19 September 2005 by skirchner in Foreign Affairs & Defence

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