Taiwan: the lonely winter (The Interpreter)

It’s back to normal: That is the message Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe got from China’s President Xi Jinping when they met last week, after nearly five years of tetchy diplomatic relations between the world’s second and third biggest economies.


Stuart Lau

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

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 next, Jack Ma? (The Interpreter)

On the morning of Monday 10 September, China’s most famous billionaire announced plans to step down as head of the company he founded. Jack Ma (马云) revealed he would leave his role as executive chairman of Alibaba Group, the e-commerce and internet behemoth that he has led for its entire 19-year existence.


Elliott Zaagman

What Canberra’s turmoil means for foreign policy (The Interpreter)

The latest eruption of political infighting in Canberra was unusual for the ineptitude of its instigators, who failed to get their own candidate into the job, and the persistence of the after-shocks. These included the resignation from parliament of the defeated prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, and the decision by the well-regarded foreign minister, Julie Bishop, to step down.


Allan Gyngell

Explaining green and blue growth (The Interpreter)

new report co-authored by Lord Nicholas Stern made headlines earlier this month with the projection that efforts to transition to a low carbon economy within the next 15 years could add $26 trillion to the global economy. The report is underpinned by the concept of “green growth”, an approach to sustainable development that seeks to combine environmental protection with investment in renewable energy, new technologies, and smart infrastructure as engines for economic growth.


Kumuda Simpson