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United States

It has become a recurrent point for commentators to propose that we are living in the remnants of an old and dying world order with a new one waiting to take over. Namely, they predict that the US and the West is on the verge of losing its global hegemony to Asia. Even before Covid-19, many predicted that a Chinese-led world order was imminent, as evidenced by a photo in 2018 of US-China trade discussions. Philosopher Antonio Gramsci described such a period as an interregnum where “a great variety of morbid symptoms appear.” The divergent world responses to Covid-19 have been viewed as evidence of these symptoms. Commentators have continuously compared the inertness of Western governments with the efficiency of China, South …

President Donald Trump’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the US Supreme Court has unsurprisingly been greeted by delight from the Right and despair from the Left. The chance to remake the image of the Supreme Court for decades to come with the nomination of a relatively young and reliably conservative justice is dreaded by some and celebrated by others. The significance of Kavanaugh’s – virtually guaranteed – confirmation to the Supreme Court is compounded by the fact that he would replace justice Anthony Kennedy. Kennedy has long been the decisive “swing vote,” who sometimes siding with the four conservative justices and sometimes with the four liberal justices. Being the deciding vote on many cases, Justice Kennedy played an outsized role in …

As expected, the recent NATO Summit was dominated by President Trump’s blunt criticisms of allies. He accused European member states of taking advantage of the United States, of failing to follow through on the 2014 agreement to raise defence spending to a minimum of 2% of GDP, and cozied up to Russia, perhaps most shockingly given the accusations levelled at his own campaign, of colluding with Russia. The basis for these accusations should be taken seriously, even if the latent threat of the United States withdrawing from NATO and the capricious means of delivery seem designed more to appeal to American domestic political interests than to truly illicit reform of the organisation. Cutting through the hyperbole, we see that there …

The recent confirmation of Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State by the Senate symbolizes that nationalist “hawks” dominate the Republican Party’s foreign policy. Even the famously non-interventionist Republican Senator Rand Paul supported his nomination. Pompeo’s quick and frictionless confirmation points to a shift to the right in what constitutes “common-sense” in US foreign policy. However, as this article will argue such changes in US foreign policy have predated Pompeo’s nomination and even President Trump’s election. Mike Pompeo, who came to Congress with the Tea Party movement in 2010, is an interventionist of the America-First variety. He desires strong sanctions on North Korea, Iran and Russia, supports extra-legal military strikes in areas of jihadist activity, and deeply distrusts China’s economic and …

The United States has a consistent Strategic Culture, centered on a sense of exceptionalism, values-driven foreign policy, casualty aversion, as well as strong leadership. These features reflect in its space policy and ambitions, where the US has cooperated with other nations but assumes a position of natural leader. It remains to be seen how this role will evolve – although the sense of exceptionalism may endure – as new actors, including private companies, make their way into space. Why Strategic Culture Matters Developed in the 1970s, “Strategic Culture” is a concept used to analyze the role of culture and national idiosyncrasies in shaping national security decisions. As with many paradigms developed during the Cold War, it emerged in the context of …

Recent revelations about the alleged misuse of the personal data of millions of Facebook users have dominated international headlines. Reportedly, Cambridge Analytica exploited loopholes in Facebook’s privacy settings to create psychometric profiles for targeted political influence campaigns. Thus far, available evidence suggests that the firm was active all over the globe, but not directly involved in Australian politics. So, why has the Cambridge Analytica scandal got alarm bells ringing, on the opposite side of the world, in Canberra? To understand the significance these events for Australia, one must understand our geopolitical position in the Pacific. Australia has long thought of itself as the United States’ younger sibling. In 2003, US President George Bush memorably labelled Australia America’s “deputy sheriff” and …

In yet another major shake up of his administration, Trump, via Twitter, has declared that he will be replacing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson after only fourteen months, the shortest occupation of the position in modern history. Tillerson will be replaced by CIA Director Mike Pompeo after months of both public and private disputes between the former head of Exxon Mobil and the US President. Administration officials have claimed Tillerson was unaware of his imminent release, allegedly learning only briefly of his impending firing. For those who have been keeping up to date with the inner machinations of the controversial administration, it is concurrently unsurprising that Tillerson has met this fate, and surprising that it has taken this long. The …

Donald Trump surprised the world by accepting an invitation to meet with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un. The announcement came unexpectedly, after more than a year of rising tensions between the United States and North Korea over the latter’s nuclear programme. What are the reasons for this diplomatic about-face? We can identify three reasons that have led to this development. The first is North Korea’s long-standing desire of building bilateral negotiations with the United States. The second reason is President Trump’s preference for personal and unconventional diplomacy. Finally, South Korea’s mediating role under the Moon administration has created the conditions to reopen diplomatic contacts between the two opponents. North Korea’s Quest for US Recognition Although North Korea has repeatedly threatened …