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Commonwealth Responsibility and Cold War Solidarity »

Australia in Asia, 1944–74

Authored by: Dan Halvorson
Publication date: 2019
Australia’s engagement with Asia from 1944 until the late 1960s was based on a sense of responsibility to the United Kingdom and its Southeast Asian colonies as they navigated a turbulent independence into the British Commonwealth. The circumstances of the early Cold War decades also provided for a mutual sense of solidarity with the non‑communist states of East Asia, with which Australia mostly enjoyed close relationships. From 1967 into the early 1970s, however, Commonwealth Responsibility and Cold War Solidarity demonstrates that the framework for this deep Australian engagement with its region was progressively eroded by a series of compounding, external factors: the 1967 formation of ASEAN and its consolidation by the mid-1970s as the premier regional organisation surpassing the Asian and Pacific Council (ASPAC); Britain’s withdrawal from East of Suez; Washington’s de‑escalation and gradual withdrawal from Vietnam after March 1968; the 1969 Nixon doctrine that America’s Asia-Pacific allies must take up more of the burden of providing for their own security; and US rapprochement with China in 1972. The book shows that these profound changes marked the start of Australia’s political distancing from the region during the 1970s despite the intentions, efforts and policies of governments from Whitlam onwards to foster deeper engagement. By 1974, Australia had been pushed to the margins of the region, with its engagement premised on a broadening but shallower transactional basis.

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Civil Society and Transitional Justice in Asia and the Pacific »

Publication date: 2019
Over the last two decades, civil society has helped catalyse responses to the legacies of violent conflicts and oppressive political regimes in Asia and the Pacific. Civil society has advocated for the establishment of criminal trials and truth commissions, monitored their operations and pushed for take-up of their recommendations. It has also initiated community-based transitional justice responses. Yet, there has been little in-depth examination of the breadth and diversity of these roles. This book addresses this gap by analysing the heterogeneity of civil society transitional justice activity in Asia and the Pacific. Based upon empirically grounded case studies of Timor-Leste, Indonesia, Cambodia, Myanmar, Bougainville, Solomon Islands and Fiji, this book illustrates that civil society actors can have different – and sometimes competing – priorities, resources and approaches to transitional justice. Their work is also underpinned by diverse understandings of ‘justice’. By reflecting on the richness of this activity, this book advances contemporary debates about transitional justice and civil society. It will also be a valuable resource for scholars and practitioners working on Asia and the Pacific.

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In from the Cold »

Reflections on Australia’s Korean War

Publication date: 2019
Open hostilities in the Korean War ended on the 27th of July 1953. The armistice that was signed at that time remains the poignant symbol of an incomplete conclusion – of a war that retains a distinct possibility of resuming at short notice. So what did Australia contribute to the Korean War from June 1950 to July 1953? What were the Australians doing there? How significant was the contribution and what difference did it make? What has that meant for Australia since then, and what might that mean for Australia into the future? Australians served at sea, on land and in the air alongside their United Nations partners during the war. They fought with distinction, from bitterly cold mountain tops, to the frozen decks of aircraft carriers and in dogfights overhead. This book includes the perspectives of leading academics, practitioners and veterans contributing fresh ideas on the conduct and legacy of the Korean War. International perspectives from allies and adversaries provide contrasting counterpoints that help create a more nuanced understanding of Australia’s relatively small but nonetheless important contribution of forces in the Korean War. The book finishes with some reflections on implications that the Korean War still carries for Australia and the world to this day.

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A New Rival State? »

Australia in Tsarist Diplomatic Communications

Publication date: October 2018
A New Rival State? is a unique collection of dispatches written in 1857–1917 by the Russian consuls in Melbourne to the Imperial Russian Embassy in London and the Russian Foreign Ministry in St Petersburg. Written by eight consuls, they offer a Russian view of the development of the settler colonies in the late nineteenth century and the first years of the federated Commonwealth of Australia. They cover the federalist movement, the changing domestic political situation, labour politics, the treatment of the Indigenous population, the ‘White Australia’ policy, Australia’s defensive capacity and foreign policy as part of the British Empire. The bulk of the material is drawn from the Russian-language collection The Russian Consular Service in Australia 1857–1917, edited by Alexander Massov and Marina Pollard (2014), using documents from the archive of the Russian Foreign Ministry.

New Directions in Strategic Thinking 2.0 »

ANU Strategic & Defence Studies Centre's Golden Anniversary Conference Proceedings

Edited by: Russell W. Glenn
Publication date: July 2018
The Australian National University’s Strategic & Defence Studies Centre (SDSC) is Australia’s premier university-based strategic studies think tank. Fifty years after the Centre was founded in 1966, SDSC celebrated its continued research, publications, teaching and government advisory role with a two-day conference entitled ‘New Directions in Strategic Thinking 2.0’. The event saw the podium graced by many of the world’s premier thinkers in the strategic studies field. An evening between those tours to the lectern brought together academics, practitioners and other honoured guests at a commemorative dinner held beneath the widespread wings of the ‘G for George’ bomber in the Australian War Memorial—an event that included SDSC’s own Professor Desmond Ball AO making his last public appearance. Since SDSC’s 25th anniversary, the world has seen the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War. Bipolarity gave way to the emergence of the United States as the world’s sole superpower, a status many now see as under threat. Both the nature of the threats and identity of individual competitors has changed in the interim quarter-century. Non-state actors are presenting rising challenges to national governments. Meanwhile, a diminished Russia and far more wealthy China seek to reassert themselves. Never before has the call for reasoned innovative security studies thinking been more pronounced. Rarely has a group so able to offer that thought come together as was the case in July 2016. This book encapsulates the essence of this cutting-edge thinking and is a must read for those concerned with emerging strategic challenges facing Australia and its security partners.

Cascades of Violence »

War, Crime and Peacebuilding Across South Asia

Publication date: February 2018
War and crime are cascade phenomena. War cascades across space and time to more war; crime to more crime; crime cascades to war; and war to crime. As a result, war and crime become complex phenomena. That does not mean we cannot understand how to prevent crime and war simultaneously. This book shows, for example, how a cascade analysis leads to an understanding of how refugee camps are nodes of both targeted attack and targeted recruitment into violence. Hence, humanitarian prevention also must target such nodes of risk. This book shows how nonviolence and nondomination can also be made to cascade, shunting cascades of violence into reverse. Complexity theory implies a conclusion that the pursuit of strategies for preventing crime and war is less important than understanding meta strategies. These are meta strategies for how to sequence and escalate many redundant prevention strategies. These themes were explored across seven South Asian societies during eight years of fieldwork.

Solomon Islanders in World War II »

An Indigenous Perspective

Authored by: Anna Annie Kwai
Publication date: December 2017
The Solomon Islands Campaign of World War II has been the subject of many published historical accounts. Most of these accounts present an ‘outsider’ perspective with limited reference to the contribution of indigenous Solomon Islanders as coastwatchers, scouts, carriers and labourers under the Royal Australian Navy and other Allied military units. Where islanders are mentioned, they are represented as ‘loyal’ helpers. The nature of local contributions in the war and their impact on islander perceptions are more complex than has been represented in these outsiders’ perspectives. Islander encounters with white American troops enabled self-awareness of racial relationships and inequality under the colonial administration, which sparked struggles towards recognition and political autonomy that emerged in parts of the British Solomon Islands Protectorate in the postwar period. Exploitation of postwar military infrastructure by the colonial administration laid the foundation for later sociopolitical upheaval experienced by the country. In the aftermath of the 1998 crisis, the supposed unity and pride that prevailed among islanders during the war has been seen as an avenue whereby different ethnic identities can be unified. This national unification process entailed the construction of the ‘Pride of our Nation’ monument that aims to restore the pride and identity of Solomon Islanders.

Crown and Sword »

Executive power and the use of force by the Australian Defence Force

Authored by: Cameron Moore
Publication date: November 2017
The Australian Defence Force, together with military forces from a number of western democracies, have for some years been seeking out and killing Islamic militants in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, detaining asylum seekers for periods at sea or running the judicial systems of failed states. It has also been ready to conduct internal security operations at home. The domestic legal authority cited for this is often the poorly understood concept of executive power, which is power that derives from executive and not parliamentary authority. In an age of legality where parliamentary statutes govern action by public officials in the finest detail, it is striking that these extreme exercises of the use of force often rely upon an elusive legal basis. This book seeks to find the limits to the exercise of this extraordinary power.

War and Other Means »

Power and violence in Houaïlou (New Caledonia)

Authored by: Michel Naepels
Publication date: October 2017
War and Other Means describes and analyses the practices of war, the ‘objects of war’ and the conventions of the use of violence in Houaïlou, New Caledonia. It focuses on the colonial repression conducted in 1856 and after, the anti-sorcerer hunt in 1955, the independence mobilisation in the 1980s and the village feuds in the 2000s. Through this archaeology of violence, it reports on the practical inventiveness, intelligence and cunning of the Kanaks involved in social, often violent, conflicts. The use of archival material and recourse to the oral stories gathered from the inhabitants of Houaïlou restores the depth of these historical moments and the nested contexts of the political action that unfolded; it also questions the value and limits of fieldwork investigation. These episodes are moments of change in the social, administrative, land and political organisation of New Caledonia; they make it possible to understand, from France’s takeover to the present day, the real modalities of implementation of colonial and postcolonial governmentality. The attention given to the invention, the importation or the adaptation of repressive techniques, closely linked to the French experience in Algeria, opens up a geopolitics of colonisation. Through this detailed description of the social logics of conflict, Michel Naepels also invites us to reflect on the place of European fantasies on violence and on the representations of otherness. For the French edition, Conjurer la guerre. Violence et pouvoir à Houaïlou (Nouvelle-Calédonie), published by Éditions de l’École des hautes études en sciences sociales, please visit editions.ehess.fr/ouvrages/ouvrage/conjurer-la-guerre

Grappling with the Bomb »

Britain’s Pacific H-bomb tests

Authored by: Nic Maclellan
Publication date: September 2017
Grappling with the Bomb is a history of Britain’s 1950s program to test the hydrogen bomb, code name Operation Grapple. In 1957–58, nine atmospheric nuclear tests were held at Malden Island and Christmas Island—today, part of the Pacific nation of Kiribati. Nearly 14,000 troops travelled to the central Pacific for the UK nuclear testing program—many are still living with the health and environmental consequences. Based on archival research and interviews with nuclear survivors, Grappling with the Bomb presents i-Kiribati woman Sui Kiritome, British pacifist Harold Steele, businessman James Burns, Fijian sailor Paul Ah Poy, English volunteers Mary and Billie Burgess and many other witnesses to Britain’s nuclear folly.