Independent Strategic Analysis of Australia’s Global Interests

Associate Papers

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.

Chinese Tariffs on Australian Wine in 2020: The Domestic Drivers of International Coercion

China targeted Australian wine as part of an economic coercion programme in 2020. Australian wine imports were also seen as a threat to the Chinese wine industry, which was a domestic driver of the trade barriers that Beijing erected. As those barriers are unlikely to be removed in the near term, the Australian wine industry will need to adapt to them.

Myanmar’s Latest Coup: What is to be Done?

16 February 2021 | Associate Papers, Indian Ocean

Successive Myanmar governments have exploited the inability of the international community to exert any real pressure on the country’s military leaders, who are increasingly supported by China. Whatever policies are adopted by the international community over the short term, there are no quick or easy answers to the complex questions surrounding modern Myanmar.

Djibouti at a Crossroads: China’s African Engagement and an Adversarial Beijing-Washington Relationship

9 February 2021 | Associate Papers, Indian Ocean

Djibouti’s geostrategic position and willingness to host the military forces of external powers, including of the United States and China, continues to draw the country to the centre of great power politics. Beyond the wider strategic concerns emanating from US-China rivalry, the confined space of Djibouti presents a potential opportunity for the two powers to improve their co-operation at close range because instability and insecurity in the Red Sea and western Indian Ocean Region are equally disadvantageous for both Washington and Beijing.

Social Media in Pakistan: The War of the Narratives

4 February 2021 | Associate Papers, Indian Ocean

The “post-truth” age has inflicted serious harms on Pakistan, and the authorities are now making a concerted effort to control social media because it has gained the power to deconstruct official narratives. In also making people aware of their past errors and prompting them to find the truth, social media is thereby transcending the boundaries imposed by the judiciary-military mix.

Timor-Leste Pipe Dreams: After Compulsory Conciliation, What Comes Next?

28 January 2021 | Associate Papers, Indian Ocean

Eighteen months after the ratification of the Australia and Timor-Leste Maritime Boundary Agreement, the development of the Greater Sunrise hydrocarbon field remains just a “pipe dream”, with the revenue-sharing formula still open to conjecture.

India and the Strategic Salience of The Vanilla Islands

19 January 2021 | Associate Papers, Indian Ocean

The islands of the south-western Indian Ocean – Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mayotte, Réunion and Seychelles – sit astride important chokepoints and Sea Lines of Communication and are gaining prominence in India’s strategic calculus. Enhanced statecraft, a forward presence of the Indian Navy and closer relations with France, including via a “Quad Plus” security dialogue, are ways for India to step up its engagement in the region while also contributing to the continuation of the rules-based order in the waters around the Vanilla Islands.

Too Many Eggs in the Dragon’s Basket? Part Two: Diversifying Australia’s Export Base

15 December 2020 | Associate Papers, Indian Ocean

Despite serious current issues, Australia’s export reliance on China as a key destination for commodity exports will continue, but concurrent initiatives to broaden and grow the export base have to be pursued. While Australia has an unequivocal global advantage in resources and human capital, a 50-year strategy with practicable, achievable pathways to achieving a broader and deeper export base should still be developed.

The Logic of China’s Economic Coercion on Australian Agriculture

The imposition of Chinese trade barriers against Australian agricultural exports have been widely reported, but they leave a series of unanswered questions. Why is China targeting particular industries with particular instruments? What are the costs of the barriers for Australia and China? What are the drivers from within China? How can Australia realistically respond?

The US Element: Diego Garcia as a Strategic Dilemma for India

26 November 2020 | Associate Papers, Indian Ocean

With its growing strategic engagement with Washington now short of formal alliance, India must not only consider the disadvantages generated by the US Indian Ocean presence, but also the effect of any future withdrawal of US forces and the likelihood of an ensuing vacuum filled by China. Thus, there are obvious advantages for India in the continued US presence on Diego Garcia, but its commitment to decolonisation and support for Mauritius has created a conundrum.

Gilgit-Baltistan as Pakistan’s New Province could be a Game-Changer in Indo-Pacific Geopolitics

19 November 2020 | Associate Papers, Indian Ocean

Pakistan is set to make Gilgit-Baltistan, in the disputed Kashmir region, its fifth province. India has strongly condemned that decision and has asked Pakistan to vacate what it considers an occupied area. China is a major stakeholder in the region and has been pressuring Pakistan to exert more control over the area, with India’s response to that a critical factor in shaping the geopolitics of the Subcontinent. Amid this zero-sum game, the interests of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan do not occupy much space.

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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