Indonesian voters have returned incumbent president Joko Widodo for a second term in office. Although Widodo will be confronted by some significant domestic challenges, with elections occurring only one month apart in both countries and the eventual ratification of the IA-CEPA trade agreement, Australia is potentially well placed to signal a new phase in its relationship with Indonesia.
So far, Jokowi has fared better than Prabowo in the aftermath of the nomination announcements.
Pakistan, which was forced by circumstance to accept financial loans from China, now finds itself increasingly – and, perhaps, dangerously – indebted to Beijing, with little chance of escaping the debt trap into which it has fallen. There could be major consequences for its sovereignty.
Despite the commitments and concessions made by each leader, substantial uncertainties remain. The United States will remain apprehensive about North Korea until it is verified that the North is not capable of launching a nuclear strike against the US mainland. In agreeing to a programme of denuclearisation, while the economic sanctions against it remain in place, North Korea may yet decide against giving away its only strategic leverage.
The large and unexpected loss comes as a major upset for the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition and could unleash a number of changes in the Malaysian political landscape.
In a bold political move, the Northern Territory Government has lifted its moratorium on hydraulic fracturing or fracking. The decision, while being based upon sound scientific advice and a broad range of environmental and regulatory safeguards, is not without electoral risk. With judicious implementation and management, however, it may pave the way for a bright economic future for the Territory.
The decision of Moody’s Investors Service not to lower the South African Government’s credit rating and to upgrade its outlook from “negative” to “stable”, reflects the belief that South Africa, under President Ramaphosa, is moving towards a more transparent, fiscally sound, style of governance.
The resignation of Jacob Zuma offers a chance to move past his controversial presidency but the governing party is far from united. If the ANC can come together to govern equitably and in the best interests of all South Africans, while repudiating the corruption, incompetence and cronyism of the Zuma era, the Cyril Ramaphosa presidency may offer a welcome return to the optimism and vitality that initially characterised post-apartheid South Africa.
The US President now appears to be taking a broader view of the situation in Afghanistan, one that could increase the pressure on Pakistan and bring India into the peacekeeping – and peace-making – equation.
China’s thinly-veiled warning to India to heed the lessons of its loss in their 1962 war and India’s retort that it is a different country from that of the time both fail to recognise their new reality: neither can afford a war with the other.