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Hugh White

Hugh White

Hugh White is Emeritus Professor of Strategic Studies at ANU and a Visiting Fellow at the Lowy Institute for International Policy. He studies Australian strategic and defence policy, and the regional and global security issues that most directly affect Australia. He has worked on Australian strategic, defence and foreign-policy issues for thirty years in a number of capacities inside and outside government, including the Deputy Secretary for Strategy in the Department of Defence 1995–2000, an adviser to Prime Minister Bob Hawke and to Kim Beazley. He was the principal author of Australia’s 2000 Defence White Paper. His recent publications include How to Defend Australia (2019, Black Inc.) and Power Shift: Australia’s Future between Washington and Beijing, published in Quarterly Essay 39 (2010). In the 1970s he studied philosophy at Melbourne and Oxford Universities.

Hugh White reviews 'The Three Trillion Dollar War: The true cost of the Iraq Conflict' by Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes

May 2008, no. 301 01 May 2008
Last year, the fifth of the war, America sent another forty thousand troops to Iraq to halt the rise in violence. So far this surge seems to have worked: the number of Iraqis killed per month has fallen from over three thousand per month a year ago to under one thousand, and American combat deaths have fallen as well, from over one hundred to less than forty per month. Now the extra troops are bei ... (read more)

Hugh White reviews 'A History of Australian Defence and Foreign Policy 1901–23: Volume Two – Australia and World Crisis, 1914 – 1923' by Neville Meaney

November 2009, no. 316 01 November 2009
War aims to achieve essentially political objectives through the use of organised violence. It is a tricky business because the means we try to use – the violence itself and the way we organise and inflict it – exert a powerful fascination which often overshadows the objectives we have set ourselves. We so easily focus on the fighting itself and forget why we are doing it. Afghanistan today sh ... (read more)

Hugh White reviews 'Australia’s China Odyssey: From euphoria to fear' by James Curran

August 2022, no. 445 26 July 2022
On 17 November 2011, President Barack Obama quoted Banjo Paterson to an audience of Australian and American military personnel at RAAF Base Darwin. He recited a question that Paterson posed about Australia in a poem he wrote to celebrate Federation in 1901: ‘Hath she the strength for the burden laid upon her, hath she the power to protect and guard her own?’ The question haunts us still. Obama ... (read more)

Hugh White reviews 'After The Neocons: America at the crossroads' by Francis Fukuyama and 'Ethical Realism: A vision for America’s role in the world' by Anatol Lieven and John Hulsman

March 2007, no. 289 01 March 2007
Beyond American failure in Iraq lies a second, deeper failure. America’s Iraq project was always intended by its proponents not just to fix Iraq and transform the Middle East, but also to demonstrate a new grand policy concept for the twenty-first century. This was the Bush Doctrine, enshrining the now-familiar ideas of the neo-conservatives: America’s power, especially its military power, is ... (read more)

Hugh White reviews 'China’s Grand Strategy and Australia’s Future in the New Global Order' by Geoff Raby

November 2020, no. 426 22 October 2020
Scott Morrison does not like to explain the decisions he makes on our behalf. Sometimes he just refuses to discuss them, as he did when, as immigration minister, he simply rejected any questions about how his boat-turnback policy was being implemented at sea. At other times he is a little subtler, as he has been this year while presiding over what will probably prove to be the most consequential s ... (read more)

Hugh White reviews 'America and the World: Conversations on the future of American foreign policy' by Zbigniew Brzezinski and Brent Scowcroft, moderated by David Ignatius

February 2009, no. 308 01 February 2009
It is easy to believe, in the glad confident morning of the new presidency, that not being George W. Bush will be enough: that to restore America’s place in the world, Barack Obama need only avoid the mistakes and repudiate the misdeeds of his discredited predecessor. If so, his task will be easy, and this book may help. But what if something more is needed? America and the World, produced at s ... (read more)

Hugh White reviews 'There Goes the Neighbourhood: Australia and the Rise of Asia' by Michael Wesley

July–August 2011, no. 333 29 June 2011
Sometime around 1820, forty years after its Industrial Revolution began, Britain overtook China to become the world’s richest country. Sometime between now and 2020, forty years after China’s own Industrial Revolution was launched by Deng Xiaoping’s economic reforms, China is set to overtake the United States and regain its place at the top of the world’s economy. ... (read more)