Independent Strategic Analysis of Australia’s Global Interests


South China Sea Incremental Encroachment Tactics Replicated on Doklam Plateau

22 August 2017 | Associate Papers, Indian Ocean

The standoff at Doklam appears to be the most recent iteration of the strategy of incremental encroachment that China has employed for some time in the South China Sea. As at sea, conflict will benefit neither party, so diplomatic efforts to find a resolution must continue.

Measuring Soil Carbon and Soil Carbon Change

There are compelling reasons to find ways to regularly and accurately measure soil carbon deep into the root zone across the full extent of cropping and pastoral lands, however, currently this remains a technological aspiration. The barriers to achieving a cost-effective solution are challenging but hopefully not insurmountable. There has been a strong commitment globally to carbon accounting and if these schemes are to be broadly successful, agriculture must be able to take advantage of, and contribute to, the economic and environmental benefits.

China’s Djibouti Military Base: Symbol of an Emerging Global Power?

China’s first overseas military base, located astride a crucial maritime choke point, is symbolic of its growing confidence as an emerging global power, capable of projecting military force and directly protecting its interests in Africa and the western Indian Ocean.

Aerial Boost to Security in the Sulu Sea

Aerial patrols will provide a significant boost to maritime patrols in the Sulu Sea through tracking militant movements. Further assistance from Singapore and Brunei is also likely.

The Bear and the Dragon: Do Not Fear a Chinese Land Grab in the Russian Far East

Poor economic opportunities and an unstable investment climate will, over the long term, deter Chinese entrepreneurs from using land in the Far East as a long-term investment.

Troubled Waters: Malaysia to Re-Contest Singaporean Boundary

The Malaysian application for a revision of the International Court of Justice judgement regarding Pedra Branca is a shrewd move by Kuala Lumpur to stir up nationalistic fervour ahead of a difficult election in 2018.

Zero Carbon Tourism: Opportunities for Northern Australia

Domestic and international tourists to northern Australia are showing considerable interest in community efforts to address global warming, particularly when they provide an opportunity to make a practical contribution to these projects. This may well be an environmental and economic opportunity to be further developed.

The Removal of Nawaz Sharif and Changing Role of Punjab in Pakistani Politics

15 August 2017 | Associate Papers, Indian Ocean

The removal from office of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif could be the catalyst for a change of approach to the civil-military relationship on the part of the influential province of Punjab. If Sharif’s party, the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz), decides to continue his attempts at better relations with India, it will again place the government at odds with the army.

The Yemeni Civil War: A Microcosm of Rivalries

Since intervening in Yemen in 2015, the Saudi Arabian-led coalition against the Houthi rebels has become embedded in a protracted counterinsurgency. Not equipped or prepared to cope with such a scenario, progress has been limited, resulting in a dire humanitarian crisis. The resulting breakdown in human security has fuelled sectarian violence and further complicates the Saudi mission.

Security Drives United States Engagement in South-East Asia

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s visit to South-East Asia does little to reassure the region about the US protectionist stance on economic relations. Tillerson’s agenda for the visit also suggests a deeper focus on the strategic aspect of the relationship.

Publication Guide

  • Associate papers are primary source assessments written by FDI associates. The assessment topics range from regional bilateral relationships and opportunities and challenges in our neighbouring countries.

  • Feature interviews are interviews conducted by an FDI Research Manager. Interview topics range from the sustainability of our planet to the improved provision of emergency food aid.

  • Normally issued in hardcopy, these represent a comprehensive study of one of FDI’s four research areas.

  • Strategic alerts are priority current intelligence items. We provide these alerts when events such as military deployments or foreign election results occur.

  • A 1500 to 3000 word, single topic assessment.

  • A number of short articles addressing current intelligence topics, issued each week.

  • A record of discussions resulting from a single, or series of, roundtable conferences.

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