The case for a foreign aid tsar (The Interpreter)

The Australian aid program has always laboured under multiple and competing objectives, both implicit and explicit. This was identified in the 1997 Simons Report on foreign aid, commissioned by the Howard Government, into what was then a separate agency, AusAID:

The managers of the aid program struggle to satisfy multiple objectives driven by a combination of humanitarian, foreign policy and commercial interests. The intrusion of short-term commercial and foreign policy imperatives has hampered AusAID’s capability to be an effective development agency.

Jonathan Pryke

Duterte’s China policy isn’t paying off (East Asia Forum)

In a recent speech, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte conveyed to his countrymen that he expects China will be fair on the South China Sea dispute and that they should eventually accept Beijing as a good neighbour. Duterte’s (misplaced) good faith in China reflects his administration’s appeasement policy on China. This policy involves concerted efforts to foster closer relations with China, coupled with calculated moves to distance the Philippines from the United States and US allies over the South China Sea disputes and other international issues.

Duterte’s China policy isn’t paying off

Renato Cruz De Castro, De La Salle University

America First, in space (The Interpreter)

Over the past few months, US President Donald Trump has seemed infatuated with outer space. He and Vice President Mike Pence have made grandiose announcements about US space policy, foremost among them, the controversial plan to set up an “American Space Force” as a sixth branch of the US military. Trump even invited his supporters to vote on a possible logo for the proposed space force.

Fabio Tronchetti

Where is Abe leading Japan? (East Asia Forum)

Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party will hold its party presidential election on Thursday, 20 September, in a contest that is all but certain to deliver a third three-year term to incumbent Shinzo Abe. While LDP leaders were previously limited to two terms, Abe’s supporters changed the LDP’s internal rules two years ago to permit an extra term. A win will enable Abe to become Japan’s longest serving prime minister.

Where is Abe leading Japan?

Editorial Board, ANU