Foreign and Security Policy

Intense political competition and digital developments have greatly influenced the way we see and understand foreign policy and traditional diplomacy. These complexities have created an increasingly challenging security environment, and to avoid being caught off-guard, political decision makers are forced to think ahead more, taking into consideration a wider array of traditional and non-traditional threats.

Read more +

How to navigate strategic uncertainty in the Indo-Pacific, especially with an eye on the changing leadership role of the US in the region is a formidable challenge for Australia as a regional power committed to upholding the rules-based order. And the European Union, equally facing new economic and security challenges, including issues arising from digital transformation and emerging technologies, works with a clearly articulated vision of ‘strategic autonomy’ under the new ‘geopolitical’ Commission. As the Covid-19 pandemic has only highlighted the vulnerabilities inherent in global interdependencies and intensified existing debates about greater resilience, autonomy and various forms of diversification and decoupling, both Australia and Europe are seeking to take an increasingly active role in shaping the international system.

Here, strategic cooperation centred on upholding the tenets of the rules-based order is of paramount importance to the kind of stability, security and prosperity that will extend well beyond the Indo-Pacific region.

The overarching aim of our foreign and security policy analysis is therefore a finer-grained understanding of present geopolitical challenges, through addressing a variety of topics and from various perspectives – with the overarching aim to better identify future challenges and highlight opportunities for cooperation.

Digital Lens

Digital Snapshot

by Justin Burke

Zeitenwende and the Indo-Pacific

In Australia and across the English-speaking world there is an enduring fascination with German words which capture a unique or complex phenomenon. From zeitgeist to schadenfreude, many have entered everyday discourse.

Read More

Digital Snapshot

by Eva U Wagner

SOLOMON ISLANDS – Australia’s Red Line in the Pacific

When Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States announced that they would develop hypersonic weapons via the recently created AUKUS security alliance, China accused these countries of attempting to build an Asia-Pacific version of NATO. Now that China has signed a security pact with the Solomon Islands, it is for the AUKUS countries to consider its implications for their security. This holds particularly true for Australia, located in close proximity to the Solomon Islands. Given that Australia is scheduled to hold federal elections on 21 May this year, it is unsurprising that the security agreement has become a major election campaign issue. KAS Australia would like to take the opportunity to outline some of the major parties’ responses.

Read More

Digital Snapshot

by Sophia Brook

The Australia-India Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA) – What does it entail and how was it received?

When things get difficult, focus on the basics. In political terms this usually means defence and economy. With war starting up in Ukraine, two years of the coronavirus pandemic dragging on the economy, and continuing rocky relations with China, the Australian government has made great efforts to boost both its defence spending as well as its economic relations.

Read More

Digital Snapshot

by Eva U Wagner

SOLOMON ISLANDS – Security made in China?

Digital Snapshot #06/22 1 April 2022 A potpourri of current affairs topics from Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific brought to you by KAS Australia and the Pacific.…

Read More

Digital Snapshot

by Sophia Brook

Geopolitical Considerations and Disaster Relief – The Future of the ADF

With recent government announcements of plans to expand the Defence Forces and the deployment of the military to assist with flood recovery in Queensland and New South Wales, the future role of the Defence Force in general has become a major topic of discussion in Australia.

Read More

Podcast

by Eva U Wagner

Periscope Podcast Series #1/22

KAS Australia proudly presents the first edition of its new Periscope Podcast Series. Periscope Podcast #1/22 features Dr Robert Glasser – Head of the Centre for Climate and Security Policy of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.

Read More

Digital Snapshot

by Sophia Brook

Condemnation, Sanctions, Lethal and Non-Lethal Aid and Criticisms – Australian Reactions to Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine

‘I’ll call it what it is – the Russian government launched a brutal invasion, unprovoked, on Ukraine, and should be condemned for doing so – and Australia does.’, said Prime Minister Scott Morrison in a statement on the Russia-Ukraine war.

Read More

Digital Snapshot

by Sophia Brook

Global Order, Sovereignty and Territorial Integrity – Why what happens in Ukraine matters to Australia

Although it may appear far away from an Australian perspective, recent events surrounding the increased tensions at the Ukrainian-Russian border have not gone unnoticed Down Under. On the contrary, Australian officials are closely watching the situation and have clearly stated that Australia would not shy away from imposing further sanctions on Russia should the situation escalate and lead to an invasion of Ukraine.

Read More

Digital Snapshot

by Sophia Brook

Australian-Korean Relations – The Significance of South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s Visit to Australia

This week marked the 60th anniversary of Australian-South Korean relations, the perfect occasion for a state visit by South Korean President Moon Jae-in to Australia. It is the first such visit by a South Korean leader in a decade, the last visit having taken place in 2009, and the first visit by a foreign leader since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. But these are not the only indicators marking the visit as significant.

Read More

Digital Snapshot

by Sophia Brook

Geoconomics and Trade – Australia, China and the WTO

Over the last month, three major topics have dominated Australian political discussions: the AUKUS agreement, climate policy (or the lack thereof) and the nation’s strategy out of Covid-19 restrictions. Preceded by the withdrawal of international forces from Afghanistan and the rapid escalation of the Covid-19 situation in two of Australia’s biggest states, these issues momentarily distracted the public eye from another, previously major Australian concern: China and its increasingly coercive trade tactics. This, however, changed rapidly last week, when Australian representative to the World Trade Organisation, George Mina, in an unusually forceful statement, accused China of using politically motivated, disruptive measures in trade relations.

Read More

Podcast

by Bertil Wenger

EU’s new Indo-Pacific Strategy and relations with Australia

In his interview with the European People's Podcast, KAS Australia and Pacific Director Bertil Wenger discusses the EU's Indo-Pacific Strategy and relations with Australia, AUKUS and the future of German foreign policy post election, offering an insight into his current role and his experiences as International Secretary of the German Christian Democratic Union (CDU) during the last ten years of the Merkel government.

Read More

Digital Snapshot

by Eva U Wagner

PACIFIC – Reception of AUKUS

A lot has been said and written recently about the new trilateral security partnership between Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States, however, we have heard much less about what the Pact actually means for the Pacific region. So, let’s start with some context before taking a closer look at what the media have reported in regards to how it has been received by the Pacific Island states.

Read More

Article

Edited by Katja Theodorakis

Geoconomics and Sovereignty in the Indo-Pacific: Integration across Geographies

KAS Regional Programme Australia and the Pacific hosted a special dialogue event with the Hon Dan Tehan MP, Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment at Parliament House.

Read More

Digital Snapshot

by Katja Theodorakis

PATHS TO PARTNERSHIP: A NEW ERA OF ALIGNMENT?

It has been a big week for multilateralism, diplomacy and partnerships, it appears – with several important summits on the international agenda and big rhetoric by world leaders to mark the occasions. G7 host, Brexit-Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson had pitched the G7+ (Australia was among several countries invited to the expanded version) under the vision of a new "alliance of democratic states". Likewise, on his first Europe trip as US President, Joe Biden was expected to use the G7 Summit, subsequent EU-US and NATO summits as well as a number of bilateral talks (including with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Queen Elizabeth II) to send a clear a signal of consensus - that the West was once again speaking as one voice. Likewise, in a foreign policy speech on Wednesday last week, ahead of his trip to the Summit, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has given a sweeping foreign policy speech which outlined a vision of enhanced cooperation amongst liberal democracies, identifying five ‘areas of advocacy’ where “liberal democracies should be stepping up with coordinated action”.

Read More

Digital Snapshot

by Katja Theodorakis

Lines in the Water: German and European Security Engagement in the Indo-Pacific

Germany is sending a ship to the Indo-Pacific – and it’s a big deal. The German frigate ‘Bayern’ (Bavaria) is expected in Perth in October as part of a journey flanked by engagements with allied nations and organizations (after participating in Operation Sea Guardian in the Mediterranean and the EU’s Operation Atalanta off Somalia, the Bayern will travel through the Strait of Malacca to Australia. On the return journey, it will participate in the United Nations’ sanctions against North Korea, and then pass through the South China Sea).

Read More

Digital Snapshot

by Katja Theodorakis

The Quad Joint-Leaders Meeting: A New Era of Strategic Leadership in the Indo-Pacific?

This is, I would argue, the most significant thing to have occurred to protect Australia’s security and sovereignty since ANZUS.” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, on the Quad leaders meeting between the heads of state of Australia, India, the US and Japan

Read More

Article

by David Merkle

A New World Order at China’s Behest? Why a Swan Song for the Political West is Premature

Note: This article was originally written in German and published in the Neue Züricher Zeitung on 05.02.2021. It was translated into English for the KAS Regional Programme Australia & the Pacific by Katja Theodorakis (Senior Programme Coordinator Foreign/Security Policy) and John Fitzgerald (KAS Research Intern through the ANU’s Australian National Internship Program ANIP)   _______ In a few years’ time, in retrospective reviews of the ‘year of the pandemic’ 2020, two trends of global political significance will stand out. …

Read More

Digital Snapshot

By Katja Theodorakis

Saving Journalism and Curbing Platform Power? Australia’s News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code

"People in free societies like Australia who go to ballot boxes, and go and they vote -- that's who should run the world, the people and citizens of the nations of the world, not big global tech giants. "They produce amazing technology that does amazing things … and it's exciting, but at the end of the day, all of these things must be accountable to sovereign elected governments. "Which means at the end of the day, Australians should be in charge." Prime Minister Scott Morrison, February 26 2021

Read More

Digital Snapshot

by Katja Theodorakis

THE WAY AHEAD FOR US-AUSTRALIA TIES: BEYOND ALLIANCE MANAGEMENT?

"President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. spoke today with Prime Minister Scott Morrison of Australia to highlight the strength of the U.S.-Australia alliance, which remains an anchor of stability in the Indo-Pacific and the world.

Read More

Digital Snapshot

by Katja Theodorakis

FOREIGN AND SECURITY POLICY: 2020 HIGHLIGHTS AND LOOKING AHEAD

2020 is coming to a close and many of us in in the foreign policy and (national) security space may be reflecting back also on the key events of this tumultuous year. As a year marked by staggering impact of the pandemic, the upheavals created by the Trump presidency and his ensuing election loss, Australia’s deteriorating relationship with China, 2020 was not necessarily flanked by too many optimistic takes on world events. Yet, as the US is holding out for the Biden presidency to usher in a new chapter for the country, we also hold high hopes for 2021.

Read More

Article

A Dialogue with the Defence Ministers of Australia and Germany

Edited by Katja Theodorakis

“The Indo-Pacific: Geostrategic Challenges and Opportunities for Australia and Germany”

KAS Australia and the Pacific, in partnership with the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), brought together The Honourable Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, Federal Minister of Defence, Germany and Senator the Honourable Linda Reynolds CSC, Minister for Defence, Australia for a hybrid dialogue on the strategic outlook in the Indo-Pacific and the potential of Australian–German Defence relations.…

Read More

Digital Snapshot

By Katja Theodorakis

Australia, Germany and Europe as Shapers of the Global Order?

"We can be the shapers of a better global order. This is Europe's vocation."

EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, in her November 2019 speech as President -Elect to present her Commission’s programme

Read More

Digital Snapshot

By Katja Theodorakis

Declaration of Independence? Germany’s New Indo-Pacific Policy Guidelines

Germany has just put itself on the map of the Indo-Pacific by issuing a foreign policy guideline paper that identifies the region as a key strategic priority, pledging to actively contribute to shaping it according to the principles of the rules-based order.

Read More

Digital Snapshot

By Katja Theodorakis

‘Tending that Garden’ – Australia’s New Cybersecurity Strategy Amidst a Changing International Society

"It’s fair to say that in 2020, our ‘international society’ is under strain. The reaction of some has been to fret about the weakening of the rules-based international order. Fair enough.

Read More

Digital Snapshot

By Katja Theodorakis

Australia’s Defence Strategic Update and EU Defence: Finding a New Power at the Pointy End of Foreign Policy and Diplomacy?

Disclaimer:The views expressed in these articles do not necessarily reflect the position of KAS Australia and the Pacific. Rather, they have been selected to present an overview of the various topics and perspectives which have been dominating the public and political debate in the Australia-Pacific region.…

Read More