Labor Party leader Anthony Albanese celebrates with his partner, Jodie Haydon, right, and Sen. Penny Wong after winning Australia’s federal elections, Sydney, Australia, May 22, 2022 (AP photo by Rick Rycroft).

As Australia welcomes in a Labor Party government for the first time in nearly a decade, the question arises as to whether there will be more change than continuity in Australia’s international and security policy, as well as its domestic affairs. When it comes to national security, there appears little to differentiate the incoming center-left Labor government led by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese from the outgoing conservative Liberal-National Coalition government led by former Prime Minister Scott Morrison. But several issues featuring prominently during the campaign, including climate change and issues of identity, can be expected to shape foreign and defense […]

Chinese President Xi Jinping leads other top officials pledging their vows to the party during a gala show ahead of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party in Beijing, June 28, 2021 (AP photo by Ng Han Guan).

China is gearing up for the 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party to be held later this year, where, according to the consensus view, President Xi Jinping’s historic bid for a third term as the party’s general secretary is all but assured. But for many clear-eyed observers, including inside China, an unprecedented third term for Xi is hardly a cause for celebration. Under his rule, China’s assertive foreign policy has alienated foreign governments and trade partners, while its economy is faltering under the weight of Beijing’s “zero COVID” coronavirus policy. Over the duration of Xi’s tenure, dissenting voices […]

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un leads a meeting in Pyongyang, North Korea, May 17, 2022 (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service photo via AP).

Reliable and accurate data are supposed to be the bedrock of the global health governance system. Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic is demonstrating just how difficult it is to collect such information, and why this failure has so many consequences for national and international responses to infectious disease outbreaks. Let’s use North Korea as an example. How many cases of COVID-19 have there been in the so-called Hermit Kingdom? If you ask North Korean government officials, the answer prior to the middle of May 2022 was zero—despite reports in the South Korean press that nearly 200 North Korean soldiers had died of the disease as early […]

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks to members of the 82nd Airborne Division at the G2A Arena, March 25, 2022, in Jasionka, Poland (AP photo by Evan Vucci).

Ukraine wasn’t supposed to stand much of a chance in a military conflict with Russia. It was outgunned and outmanned. In the first months of 2022, as the threat of an invasion loomed, the Russian military was expected to quickly and decisively defeat its much weaker neighbor with ease. Many experts were asking not if Russia could win the coming war, but how far its ambitions stretched within and beyond Ukraine. But as the war grinds on for a fourth month, Ukraine has defied expectations. With external assistance, its military has been able to force Russia’s troops to pull back […]

Afghans chant slogans against Iran during a demonstration in Massoud Square, Kabul, Afghanistan, April 12, 2022 (AP photo by Mohammed Shoaib Amin).

Over the past month, a series of violent episodes on Afghanistan’s borders have put the country’s relations with its neighbors in the spotlight. Some incidents involved Taliban fighters, such as clashes on the border with Iran. Others, like the Islamic State’s rocket attacks on Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, highlighted the Taliban’s inability to control Afghanistan’s borderlands. And a wave of violence in Pakistan by militants based in Afghanistan has grown so intense that in mid-April Pakistan conducted reprisal airstrikes on Afghan territory, killing dozens of civilians and turning up the diplomatic heat between Islamabad and Kabul. Inflamed tensions between the struggling […]

Travelers wait in line at a check-in counter at Kunming Changshui International Airport, Kunming, China, March 22, 2022 (AP photo by Dake Kang).

A growing number of Chinese middle- and upper-class citizens are seeking to emigrate, citing disillusionment with Beijing’s heavy-handed “Zero COVID” pandemic restrictions. The sense of despair and desperation driving their planned departures stand in contrast to the overwhelming sense of optimism that characterized public sentiment during China’s rise as a global power over the past two decades. On the Chinese social media platform WeChat, search entries for the word “immigration” increased more than fourfold between early and mid-April, the Economist reported. “It’s like an alarm bell has gone off,” said Miranda Wang, a Chinese videographer based in Shanghai, where a seven-week […]

U.S. President Joe Biden meets with business leaders in the White House to discuss the Bipartisan Innovation Act and its provisions for increasing U.S. semiconductor manufacturing, Washington, March 9, 2022 (SIPA photo by Yuri Gripas).

Semiconductors, the tiny chips that power everything from Apple iPhones to F-35 fighter jets, are a true product of globalization. Their technological sophistication is matched only by the logistical complexity of their supply chains, which stretch across the planet. It should be no surprise, then, that these chips are feeling the impact of accelerating deglobalization. Over the past several years, manufacturers of everything from shoes to home appliances have moved to reshore production, encouraged by protectionist governments erecting trade barriers to protect domestic economies from geopolitical forces. Gradually, the “just-in-time” supply chains of the globalized world, which outsourced aspects of […]

A man holds a placard mocking Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison during the May Day rally in Sydney, May 1, 2022 (AP photo by Rick Rycroft).

Australians will head to the polls next week to elect a new government, with the prospects looking dire for the coalition of the Liberal and National parties that has been in power since 2013. During this time, internal divisions within the Liberal Party has led to Australia having had three different prime ministers. Although Prime Minister Scott Morrison has managed to make it through a full three-year term since winning the last elections in 2019, it would be a mistake to conclude that the party has overcome its constant in-fighting. In fact, this election represents the biggest existential threat the Liberal Party […]

A supporter of John Lee, Hong Kong’s chief executive-elect, holds a copy of Lee’s election manifesto during a 2022 chief executive electoral campaign in Hong Kong, April 29, 2022 (AP photo by Kin Cheung).

John Lee, Hong Kong’s former security chief, was confirmed as the city’s next chief executive with 99 percent of the votes from last Sunday’s election. Lee, a career police officer who rose to the highest echelons of the Hong Kong government ran unopposed in what critics call a “political farce.” As a hardliner approved by pro-China elites to carry out the orders of Beijing, Lee is expected to continue the assaults on political freedoms and civil liberties that have progressively eliminated space for dissent in Hong Kong, threatening its reputation as an international hub for commerce. Sunday’s polls marked the first chief executive “elections” […]

Demining experts search for mines in Kohsan district of Herat province, northwest of Kabul, Afghanistan, April 3, 2010 (AP photo by Reza Shirmohammadi).

On the morning of April 1, seven children were playing in the lush wheat fields of Afghanistan’s Marjah district, in the southern Helmand province, by tossing around a metal object. Moments later, it exploded. The blast claimed five of their lives, including the youngest in the group, a 5-year-old boy. “My daughter has not only lost her three sons, but also her senses,” Haji Abdul Salam, a 55-year-old farmer who lost two children and three grandchildren in the explosion, tells me at his home while attending to visitors there for the funeral. “She neither sleeps nor eats.” But Salam is […]

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang speaks at a virtual “1+6” Round Table Dialogue with the heads of the World Bank, IMF, WTO, International Labor Organization, OECD and Financial Stability Board, in Beijing, Dec. 6, 2021 (AP photo by Andy Wong).

As China leveraged its state capitalist model to become a global superpower, it increasingly challenged the market-oriented basis of the liberal economic order founded by the United States and its allies 75 years ago. When this competition between the Chinese and Western economic systems gained steam in the 2010s, the main battlefield of international relations also began to shift from the classical realm of security to the normally “civilian” fields of trade, investment, technology and finance—in other words, from geopolitics to geoeconomics. With Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, military force is front and center once again, even before the United States […]

A man walks past a bank’s electronic board showing the share index at the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, April 12, 2022 (AP photo by Vincent Yu).

A number of prominent economists and business leaders are sounding the alarm over China’s “zero COVID” coronavirus strategy, painting a gloomy outlook for China’s economy. The government-imposed extended lockdowns and isolation periods to stamp out every outbreak of the virus in cities around the country are creating economic uncertainties and casting doubt on Beijing’s ability to reach its target of 5.5 percent economic growth in 2022. Beijing’s continued ambiguity regarding its position on the conflict in Ukraine, in which it professes to be neutral, is also worsening its already tense relationship with the U.S., while straining ties with the European Union. […]

A student holds a poster portraying President Joko Widodo during a rally against postponing the 2024 presidential election, Jakarta, Indonesia, April 21, 2022 (AP photo by Tatan Syuflana).

Indonesian President Joko Widodo won the country’s presidential election in 2014 by presenting himself in part as a democratic reformer, a man of humble origins who would fight graft and curtail the self-dealing elite politics that dominate Jakarta. If at the start of Jokowi’s first term there was some hope that he would follow through on his lofty campaign promises, that all seems like a distant memory today. For most of his second term since being reelected in 2018, he has proven to be the opposite of a reformer, undermining democracy, advancing insider politics in which political dynasties are blossoming, cracking […]