Independent Strategic Analysis of Australia’s Global Interests

Strategic Weekly Analysis

Violence Flares in South Africa as Ex-President Zuma Jailed

Now serving a 15-month prison sentence for contempt of court, the imprisonment of disgraced former president Jacob Zuma has triggered protests and opportunistic looting while perpetuating the division within the African National Congress government between his supporters and those loyal to President Cyril Ramaphosa.

China in a Post-US Afghanistan

China’s criticism of the US decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan is likely due to a deterioration in security, which could negatively affect its investments and BRI-related projects.

Biden May Succeed Where His Predecessors Failed

President Biden may well succeed in forging an Israeli-Palestinian peace by restating in the strongest terms that a two-state solution remains the only viable option and working to create the conditions on the ground to that end.

The G7’s Alternative to China’s BRI

While the G7’s “Build Back Better World” (B3W) offers an alternative to China’s Belt and Road Initiative, it remains a nascent proposition that may not suit every government, especially not the more authoritarian ones.

Doklam Continued: India’s Renewed Focus on China

While India’s decision to move around 50,000 troops to its border with China stands to reason, much more needs to be done economically and politically.

Arsenic and the Ganges Delta: Water Crisis in Bangladesh

In the face of a water crisis started by arsenic poisoning of groundwater and further compounded by climate change-induced salinity, the Bangladeshi Government will need to act swiftly to prevent a future surge of climate refugees.

Spy Games: The Rumour of a Chinese Defection

Amid claim and counter-claim, China could easily settle the matter by producing Dong Jingwei, the Vice-Minister of State Security, in public.

Indonesia Free Trade Agreement a Possibility as Canada Looks to the Indo-Pacific

For Canadian exporters and service providers, ICA-CEPA presents an opportunity to expand into a youthful, growing and technologically-aware market that is also the largest economy in South-East Asia. It will also complement the rising awareness in Canada of the increasing strategic and economic importance of the Indo-Pacific.

New Caledonia Independence: Paris Preparing for Close Result in December

While France has undertaken to work with both sides and to respect the outcome of the vote, if this year’s referendum results in a “yes” to New Caledonian independence, the loss of territory and influence will not be welcomed. For partners such as Australia, New Zealand and the United States, a potentially reduced French presence in the south-west Pacific at a time of growing Chinese influence in the region is likely to be viewed with some concern.

ASEAN, India and the Covid-19 Pandemic

Unlike when it first struck a year ago, the recent Covid-19 wave has affected several ASEAN countries severely. While the absolute numbers of fatalities are not high in countries other than Thailand and Malaysia due to strict restrictions having been imposed, the slow rate of inoculation remains a concern.

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.

Donate Now and Support Independent Research

Donate now to help us provide independent research and advice on global issues facing Australia