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Richard Broinowski

Richard Broinowski

Richard Broinowski is an Adjunct Professor in Media and Communications at the University of Sydney. He was an Australian diplomat in Asia, the Middle East, and Central America.


Richard Broinowski reviews ‘The Weapons Detective: The inside story of Australia’s top weapons inspector’ by Rod Barton

August 2006, no. 283 01 August 2006
Early in his book, Rod Barton describes his reaction to two events that showed what kind of intelligence officer he would become. In the late 1970s he was asked by the Joint Intelligence Organisation to deter-mine the winners and losers in a nuclear exchange between the superpowers. But how, he asked, could this be done without taking into account environmental, political, medical and psychologica ... (read more)

Richard Broinowski reviews ‘A Not-So-Distant Horror: Mass violence in East Timor’ by Joseph Nevins

December 2005–January 2006, no. 277 01 December 2005
The publisher’s blurb that accompanied my review copy of Joseph Nevins’s book makes two prominent assertions. One is that the United Nations has given Indonesia a six-month deadline to prosecute war crimes committed in East Timor in 1999. The other is that Paul Wolfowitz, a former US ambassador to Indonesia and an architect of the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, was complicit in East Timor atrocitie ... (read more)

Richard Broinowski reviews 'Phnom Penh: a cultural and literary history' by Milton Osborne

September 2008, no. 304 01 September 2008
Milton Osborne began his observations of Phnom Penh as a junior Australian diplomat from 1959 to 1961. Norodom Sihanouk presided over a town influenced by a powerful French cultural presence, a buoyant Chinese commercial sector, Vietnamese clerks, Cambodian civil servants, teachers and bonzes, and free-spending Americans. Osborne returned in April 1966 as a Cornell graduate student, then each year ... (read more)

Richard Broinowski reviews 'The Devil We Know: Dealing with the new Iranian superpower' by Robert Baer

April 2009, no. 310 01 April 2009
One of the legacies of the Bush years has been the creation in the United States of an image of Iran as a monster, a dangerous rogue state that sponsors world terror and is bent on acquiring nuclear weapons with which to attack Israel. The image is encouraged by disgruntled Iranian expatriates who promote their personal interests by peddling out-of-date ‘expertise’ to grateful think-tanks alon ... (read more)

Richard Broinowski reviews 'The New American Militarism' by Andrew J. Bacevich and 'Unintended Consequences' by Kenneth J. Hagan and Ian J. Bickerton

November 2007, no. 296 01 November 2007
Andrew Bacevich is a former West Point graduate, a principled man on the conservative side of politics who considered it wrong for wealthy citizens to leave the fighting of America’s wars to the poor and disadvantaged. He had fought in Vietnam, and his son, a newly commissioned second lieutenant in the United States Army, had volunteered for duty in Iraq. Just before Bacevich Sr was to attend th ... (read more)

Richard Broinowski reviews 'Vietnam Days: Australia and the impact of Vietnam', edited by Peter Pierce, Jeffrey Grey, and Jeff Doyle

September 1991, no. 134 01 September 1991
In their introduction to this collection of essays, the editors state that Australia’s war experiences in Vietnam left some lasting legacies, but ones that were either unexpected or unintended: a loss of moral authority on the part of Australian conservative governments, a breakdown in the defence and foreign policy consensus about the ‘threat’ to Australia, the revival of populist politics ... (read more)

Richard Broinowski reviews 'North Korea: State of paranoia' by Paul French

October 2014, no. 365 01 October 2014
North Korea always gets media attention for negative reasons: a border skirmish with its southern neighbour; a missile trial launch or nuclear test; vitriolic propaganda attacks on South Korea, Japan, or the United States; or the appalling findings of some human rights group like Michael Kirby’s recent UN Commission of Inquiry on North Korea’s human rights abuses. The picture that emerges is o ... (read more)

Richard Broinowski reviews 'Charles Robert Scrivener: The surveyor who sited Australia's national capital twice' by Terry Birtles

November 2013, no. 356 31 October 2013
In the 1890s the six Australian colonies were preoccupied not only with getting a fair deal over tariffs and customs – and maintaining the purity of the Anglo-Saxon race – but also with the location of the national capital. Denizens of Melbourne and Sydney felt that it should be one of them. The compromise was a capital in New South Wales, closer to Sydney than Melbourne, but with Melbourne as ... (read more)

Richard Broinowski reviews 'Sydney' by Julia Horne and Geoffrey Sherington and 'From New Left to Factional Left' by Alan Barcan

December 2012–January 2013, no. 347 26 November 2012
When I became an adjunct professor at the University of Sydney in 2004, I knew nothing of its history, and little of the ideological battles that had taken place there. These two books provide a rich narrative of both, and made me appreciate the privilege I have, even as a marginal player, in belonging to such a significant institution. ... (read more)
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