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Author: Editorial Board, ANU

Australia goes to a federal election on 18 May. While the campaign and political debate has been dominated by domestic policy issues, whichever party wins government will quickly confront the need to deal with a fundamentally changed international order. President Trump’s United States is undermining the global leadership role it has played since 1945. The US–China relationship is mired in talk of a ‘new Cold War’. And the Asia Pacific region — while still the major contributor to global economic growth — faces challenges on everything from the threat to the trade system on which its prosperity has been built, to the North Korean nuclear crisis, climate change, and the flow of refugees.

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Author: James Curran, University of Sydney

Regardless of who wins office in Australia on 18 May, the new government will face once more the challenge of achieving security in a turbulent strategic environment.

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Australia’s uphill battle for influence at the upcoming summits

Author: Susan Harris Rimmer, Griffith University

Yet again, the Australian election timetable is disastrous as it relates to key foreign policy gatherings in the region. If the Australian Labor Party (ALP) is successful in the 18 May federal election, incoming prime minister Bill Shorten and his cabinet will be thrown straight into the deep end with crucial, tightly successive regional summits in June. If Scott Morrison’s Coalition is re-elected, it will face many of the same timing issues.

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Indian foreign policy after the election

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Author: Chitrapu Uday Bhaskar, Society for Policy Studies

One of three possible outcomes will likely eventuate by the time the upcoming Indian election reaches its end. First, Prime Minister Modi leads the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to an emphatic victory and emerges with a significant single-party majority in the 543 member Lok Sabha. This is not being accorded a ‘high’ degree of probability in the closing weeks of a long, drawn out election campaign. Read more…

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Competition in the Asia Pacific gas market heats up

Author: Xunpeng Shi, UTS

In 2011, the International Energy Agency (IEA)a ‘golden age’ of gas, where natural gas would be a Spark 1 43 Scale - S0407 BMW 320 P.Y Corthals ETCC 2002 Resin model car’ between coal and renewable energy over the next two decades. But weak demand for natural gas in Asia in 2013–15 forced the IEA to step back in June 2015 from its previously optimistic projection, concluding: ‘In a world of very cheap coal and falling costs for renewables, it was difficult for gas to compete’. Even so, the demand for natural gas in East Asia has still significantly increased after 2015, especially in South Korea and China. Minichamps 1 43 430 003718 Mercedes CLK DTM 2000 Team Persson MIB

GST still searching for stability in India

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Author: Sacchidananda Mukherjee, NIPFP

A comprehensive multi-stage value-added tax (VAT) system, the Goods and Services Tax (GST), was introduced in India on 1 July 2017. The GST encompasses various indirect taxes from union and state tax bases. In a federal system, the harmonisation of tax rules, regulations, rates, processes and procedures across states is expected to improve the ease of doing business, encourage investment and produce economic growth.

 

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Lessons learnt from Indonesian and Malaysian approaches to terrorist rehabilitation

Indonesian Muslim youth salute during a ceremony for defending the country against terrorism, radicalism and drugs in Jakarta, Indonesia, 17 January 2016 (Photo: Reuters/Beawiharta).

Author: Sabariah Hussin, RSIS

As the last pockets of the so-called Islamic State’s (IS) caliphate in Syria collapsed, the US-backed coalition pushed for captured IS-affiliated foreigners to be returned to their home countries. Several cases have made international headlines, including those of British national Shamima Begum and US-born Hoda Muthana — both women left their respective countries to join IS in Syria and Iraq from late 2014 and are now trying to return.

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Healing Japan and South Korea’s Cold War wounds

Author: Seung Hyok Lee, University of Toronto

Relations between Japan and South Korea are in a crevasse. The rise of negative emotions projected by of both countries makes the current deterioration especially problematic.

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An evening view of the financial Central district in Hong Kong, China 23 November 2017. (Photo: REUTERS/Bobby Yip)

Author: Olivia Cheung, University of Warwick

In November 2018, when meeting with representatives from Hong Kong and Macao, China’s President Xi Jinping said that the two cities have made ‘enormous contributions’ and played ‘irreplaceable’ roles in the motherland’s reform and opening-up

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China’s calculus after the INF Treaty

Author: Wu Riqiang, Harvard Kennedy School and Renmin University of China

It seems that the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty is coming to an end. The Treaty prohibits the United States and Russia from possessing, producing or testing land-based ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of 500–5500 kilometres, including both conventional and nuclear-armed missiles. Read more…

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Patronage-based business as usual in ‘New Malaysia’

Author: Edmund Terence Gomez, University of Malaya

When Pakatan Harapan unexpectedly secured power after Malaysia’s 14th General Elections (GE14) in May 2018, voters expected the coalition and Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad to dismantle the well-entrenched government–business institutional framework that had contributed to extensive clientelism, collusion, nepotism and embezzlement. After all, the institutionalisation of more transparent and accountable governance was a Pakatan campaign pledge.

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Will Modi win?

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Author: Arun Swamy, University of Guam

In 2014 Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) became the first party in 30 years to win an absolute parliamentary majority. They did so on the promise of development. If the BJP wins re-election after serving a full term, it will be the first party other than the once-dominant Indian National Congress (INC) to do so.

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Author: Christopher Hughes, University of Warwick

Japanese policymakers fretted for many years over the ‘slow death’ of techno-nationalism and its impact on national security. Rather than entirely bow to demands to ‘buy American’ in defence equipment, Japan is searching for new ways to maintain the centrality of techno-nationalism in its security strategy.

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Author: Stephen Olson, Hinrich Foundation

The global trade system is under greater stress than at any other time since its inception. The most significant trade war in almost a century lumbers on, tit-for-tat trade restrictions are becoming increasingly commonplace, and the World Trade Organization (WTO) appears incapable of restoring order. Read more…

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Dealing with a new American psychosis

Author: Editorial Board, ANU

US Vice President Mike Pence’s declaration of a ‘new Cold War’ against China in October 2018 marked the first official endorsement of a force that’s claimed powerful influence over thinking about the United States’ new position in the world. It came after Trump’s tariff war was well underway and the US Treasury had issued regulations to screen Chinese inward investment tightly, in line with the new Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act. For good measure, the US Commerce Department will also screen corporate technology flows destined for China, following the updated Export Administration Act.

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