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Articles by Professor Damien Kingsbury

Burma backgrounder: it is not a democracy (yet)

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is in Australia not just to thank those who have supported her. She’s heading up a strategic, concrete push to bring democracy to Myanmar via constitutional reform.

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Abbott, that ‘coarse’ diplomat, is in an Indonesian pickle

It is becoming increasingly clear is that Australia’s close relationship to Indonesia, developed especially since Yudhoyono has been in office and at its strongest just a couple of months ago, may remain in reverse for a lot longer to come.

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What Abbott must do to fix the Indonesian relationship

Australia’s relationship with Indonesia is about the worst it’s ever been. Tony Abbott must act quickly and contritely to avoid long-lasting damage.

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Australia fails to act on latest spying revelations

Australian representatives need to publicly apologise for surveillance activities in Indonesia, if there’s to be any chance of salvaging the relationship between the two countries.

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East Timor’s fragile stability under threat with PM retiring

East Timor’s Prime Minister has announced his intention to retire from politics. Is the former resistance fighter abandoning his country when it needs him the most?

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Sri Lankan human rights concerns derailing Commonwealth summit

Sri Lanka hoped that hosting the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting would showcase its development since the Tamil war. But it hasn’t quite worked out that way.

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With Indonesia, the relationship is going from bad to worse

Relations between Australia and Indonesia have reached a nadir. And it’s entirely the fault of Australian policy. The government’s turn-back-the-boats policy is now in tatters.

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We’ve always spied on Indonesia — and they’ve spied on us too

There has been much hand-wringing over the revelations that Australia is spying on Indonesia. The only real surprise, however, is the feigned outrage.

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Speak softly and don’t stuff up: Bob Carr’s legacy

As former foreign minister Bob Carr resigns from the Senate, we take a look at what he brought to the job.

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West Papuan activists test waters around Australian asylum rules

The three West Papuan activists who scaled the wall of the Australian consulate-general in Bali are testing the roadmap to representation in the disputed Indonesian province of West Papua.

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Abbott’s first foreign test: pulling policy fat from diplomatic fire

Tony’s Abbott’s derided Operation Sovereign Borders policy will test the friendship in meetings with Indonesia today. On his first foreign assignment, is he up for the diplomatic challenge?

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Russia the real winner of Syrian negotiations

Russia has returned from being a struggling second-rate international power to again strutting the international stage as, more or less, the equal of the United States.

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Incoming government crashes into Indonesian diplomacy

The incoming Abbott government has learnt the hard way that it might not be a great idea to make foreign policy campaign promises without first talking to the principals involved.

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Russia may yet offer US a Syrian lifeline

The United States may have been given an opportunity to avoid military intervention in Syria while saving face. But will Bashar Al-Assad really play ball?

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Pause for thought on Syrian chemical attacks — and reprisals

There’s still no clear evidence on which group was responsible for a chemical attack in Syria. This lack of information makes Western intervention risky, argues Crikey’s foreign affairs writer.

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US intervention in Syria could escalate a bloody war

If it is proved the Syrian government used chemical weapons, the United States will likely intervene in the civil war. But would that help save lives or just make things worse?

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Egypt’s brief fling with democracy draws to a close

Egypt’s brief experiment with democracy appears to be drawing to a close as the army tightens its grip on politics, and some turn to terrorism.

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Carr v Bishop: business or diplomacy the foreign policy choice

Bob Carr debated Julie Bishop in a battle of foreign policy at the Lowy Institute last night. The differentiation came down to motivation: do you engage with the world for trade or diplomacy?

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US embassy alert shows war against al-Qaeda offshoot wages

The unprecedented closure of US embassies across the Middle East and Africa shows al-Qaeda and its deadly offshoots are still active and at war with America and its allies.

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Cambodian election: Hun Sen losing his tight grip on power

Cambodians have voted and while strongman Hun Sen retains a majority in Parliament, his grip on power is slipping. What will he do now?

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Lowy results underline the need for foreign policy experts

Australians are not all that keen on democracy — just as well, as they don’t seem to be really sure what democracy is. The Lowy report into our attitudes contains some troubling trends.

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No peace with honour in Afghanistan

There might not be a way for the US to “win” the war in Afghanistan. It also might not be able to achieve a Vietnam-style “peace with honour” defeat.

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Can Aung San Suu Kyi turn Myanmar around?

Observers are celebrating Myanmar’s recent steps towards reform and a new openness, including Aung San Suu Kyi’s decision to run for president. But can she create the change needed, or is Myanmar too far gone?

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Why is China interested in helping war-torn Mali?

Is China’s decision to get involved in a peacekeeping mission to Mali entirely driven out of altruism? The move is seen as part of an increasingly assertive foreign policy agenda.

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Hope for peace in Syria fades as Russia backs away

Fighting has escalated in Syria, and Russia has started to arm pro-Assad forces. A peaceful end to the civil war is looking less and less likely.

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