The Interpreter

383 Flips | 1 Magazine | 4 Followers | @LowyInterpreter | The Interpreter is published by the Lowy Institute, an independent, nonpartisan think tank based in Sydney. 

Is Japan’s rare earth discovery fool’s gold?

It is one thing to be in possession of an unrivalled deposit of unmined ore, it is quite another to unlock its vast potential.

Caught in a pincer

The biggest destabilising player in Melanesia over the past five years has not been China, but Indonesia.

Pacific islands links: Vanuatu’s China wharf, leaders in London, elections, and more


Climate change and shifting alliances

The Maldives experience suggests the need to adapt to global warming could in the future be manipulated for political leverage.

Sea Level

CHOGM: the zombie summit that will not die

Wasting Prime Ministerial time is not good diplomacy.

Robert Mugabe

A new take on violence in Indonesian Papua

Violence outside the spectacle of insurgency continues, as mundane as it is pervasive.


As threats to Trump mount, allies must uphold the Iran deal

Perhaps France’s Emmanuel Macron can convince Trump he will retain far more leverage over Iran within the existing nuclear deal.

Angela Merkel

Employment as protection: complementary pathways for refugees

Refugees should have better access to labour migration schemes to reduce the pressure on humanitarian quotas.

World Economy

Biding time: the G20 Eminent Persons Group on financial governance

The EPG says economic reforms proposed by the G20 are neither radical nor novel.

Money Laundering

A new high: India–Japan defence links


Is Trump ready to bear the cost of a trade war?

The test of US policy is not how much Washington can hurt others but how much pain it will withstand.

Foreign Policy

Aid links: Timor youth, India’s biometric ID test, and more


Why poor countries won’t lose out from the US–China trade war

If anyone deserves protection at this increasingly protectionist time it is the least developed countries around the world.

Commonwealth Games: medals, babies, and nation-building

Pacific island countries, especially, win big in a breakthrough event.


Syria strikes: mission accomplished?

The US felt compelled to act, Bashar al-Assad has been punished, yet may not be deterred.

Middle East

Boao Forum, through the eyes of China’s state media

“Confidence” was the message, reinforced in print and online.

In Syria, Trump must collude with Russia

Airstrikes aside, the US needs Moscow to influence the Assad regime and negotiate an end to this sordid conflict.

Middle East

Europe and its populists

The triumph of Viktor Orbán in Hungary is not just a curious and isolated development.


Japan, South Korea and the West’s tension with Russia

Why did Japan and South Korea not join the expulsion of Russian diplomats after the Skripal attack?

New trans-Tasman vision needed

In a world of significant change, Australia and New Zealand will need each other more than ever.

New Zealand

Economic diplomacy brief: Indonesia and Vanuatu, dole woes, and IP theft

Greg Earl with economic snippets from across the region.

International Monetary Fund

“Presumably, we shall have to call her a Stateswoman”

More positive profiling of women in office will result in more positive perceptions of women in political leadership.

Sri Lanka

Global monetary policy returning to “normality”

Monetary Policy

Migration and border policy links: US border troops, American journeys, and more

Links and updates from across the migration and border policy field.


Vietnam’s crackdown on dissent could undermine its stability and growth

Detaining enemies of the state could erode international support for Vietnam.

Human Rights

Julie Bishop and the liberal ideal

The Foreign Minister seemed most animated when discussing ideas that are clearly under threat in the region and indeed globally.

Julie Bishop

Entrepreneurial traffic in the Jakarta jam

Ride-hailing apps are all the rage in Indonesia’s capital, but an old favourite is chugging on.


Pacific Islands links: Vanuatu base talk, PNG unplugged, medals, and more

Links and stories from around the Pacific by The Interpreter team.

New Zealand

Rouhani, Erdogan, and Putin’s bizarre love triangle

Jostling over Syria offers a glimpse of emerging alliances and compromises as the US-led security order winds down.

Middle East

Getting our maritime security effort right

The time has clearly come for a careful examination of what Australia needs in a civil maritime security organisation.

Border Force