David Fettling reviews 'Blood and Silk: Power and conflict in modern Southeast Asia' by Michael Vatikiotis
Australians, Chris Bowen lamented recently, pay lip service to Asia. While millions of us visit every year, it is too easy to skim across the region’s surface. Few Australians speak Asia More
Australia does not have a great tradition of writers producing books on international affairs for a general audience. Along with others like Hugh White, Michael Wesley – a former head of the Lowy Institute now based at the Australian National University – is helping to correct this.
His previous work, More
Berlin is built on sand, says Stuart Braun in City of Exiles; it is 'never far away from darkness'. It is a city of tolerance, which exerts a psychic pull for anarchists, artists, and those who become Wahlberliners: 'the people who choose to live in Berlin.'
City of Exiles' own sandy foundations make it difficult to find anything s ... More
It is all Vladimir Putin's fault. Two years after the crisis in Ukraine erupted, the prevailing view in Europe, the United States, and Australia remains that responsibility for the conflict there – including the shooting down of flight MH17 – lies with Russia's president. This, the argument goes, is all part of Putin's plan to restore Russia's dominance of its r ... More
April 2015 was the centenary of Gallipoli, an event deeply set in Australian history, but it was also the centenary of the massacre of hundreds of thousands of Armenians at the hands of the then Ottoman Empire. Yet the latter event is mired in controversy, and closure has not yet occurred. It was the first genocide of the twentieth century, but not the last.
The unusual case of David Hicks is one of the most spectacular and politically supercharged miscarriages of justice in Australian history. Like the infamous Boer War case of Breaker Morant, Hicks was politically scapegoated and grossly denied a fair trial. Unlike Morant – a war criminal who murdered prisoners of war – even Hicks’s accuser, the United States, n ... More
Do the ends always justify the means? And if the boats really have stopped coming, should we see the death of Reza Berati and the suffering of thousands as the collateral damage of a successful policy?
Paul Toohey’s panoramic sweep of this human, ethical, and political terrain begins with a visit to Cisarua, a small resort town in the mountains south of Ja ... More
Coinciding with the World War I anniversaries, Malcolm Fraser’s book will polarise Australian opinion on a fundamental issue. It has never been raised in this way, for Australian leaders have not discussed decisions to go to war in public, nor sought popular approval of Australia’s alliances. Yet successive generations of young Australians have fought in British ... More
Reports about the Mossad often have the unfortunate trait of reading like a John le Carré novel. We hear of spies assuming false identities and injecting poison into the ears of Israel’s enemies, or of a Mossad director beginning his weekly meetings with the question, ‘Who are we going to assassinate today?’ Unfortunately, most of these stories are true. As w ... More
Two years ago, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Joseph Lelyveld published a partial biography of Mahatma Gandhi (Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi and His Struggle with India, 2011), which outraged public opinion in India and served as a vehicle for the self-promotion of leading politicians who railed against the supposed contents. Although the book was not yet ... More