• Alliance 21 Special

    Now more than ever

    James Wilson

    For most Australians, our close relationship with the United States is part of the diplomatic furniture. The alliance has endured for so long that few understand its history and depth, and even fewer seem to...

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  • Blogbook

    A falling star in Chicago

    Richard C. Longworth

    Few politicians have seen their reputations dive so far and so fast as Richard M. Daley, the former mayor of Chicago and the symbol of what’s great and what’s grim about the city he ruled for 22 years...

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  • American Opinion

    The spectre of Wolfowitz

    Anatol Lieven

    The Ukrainian imbroglio is a virtual compendium of the difficulties the Obama administration has faced as it has sought to reduce US commitments in the world to match the combination of straitened US economic...

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  • Book Review

    Discovering America

    Jonathan Bradley

    Slavery, Barack Obama said in his 18 March 2008 speech “A More Perfect Union,” known in the common parlance as the “race speech,” was America’s “original sin” The future president was echoing...

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  • Cover Story

    Russia's revenge

    David C. Hendrickson

    The violation of the territorial integrity of Ukraine by Russia’s encouragement of a referendum on secession in Crimea, followed by Russia’s annexation of the territory, has produced a first-class crisis in Europe. The crisis is a very big deal, threatening to...

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American Opinion

Richard C. Longworth

Caterpillar Inc., an icon of Midwestern manufacturing for more than 80 years, has been saving itself about $300 million per year in US taxes by routing most of the profits… more»

James Wilson

For most Australians, our close relationship with the United States is part of the diplomatic furniture. The alliance has endured for so long that few understand its history and depth,… more»

Anatol Lieven

The Ukrainian imbroglio is a virtual compendium of the difficulties the Obama administration has faced as it has sought to reduce US commitments in the world to match the combination… more»

Tom Switzer

For the people of Ukraine, at least those who are not ethnically Russian, the failure of Washington and Brussels to stop Moscow’s intervention in the Crimean peninsula and several eastern… more»

Anatol Lieven

Belief in the global “unipolarity” — a polite word for hegemony — of the United States in the 1990s and early 2000s was underpinned by a belief in the absolute… more»

Tom Switzer

The Obama phenomenon has imploded. Expectations were absurdly high five years ago this month when Barack Obama was inaugurated 44th president of the United States. Today, however, Americans are bemused… more»

Richard C. Longworth

Chicago is a city mesmerised by planning. Blame it on Daniel Burnham. … more»

Richard C. Longworth

Most debate on Detroit so far has discussed how that city, once the car capital of the world, became the urban ruin it is today. Less asked is the real… more»

Anatol Lieven

It is beginning to seem strange not that the US political system is breaking down, but that a constitution so extremely complex, so loaded with checks and balances and possibilities… more»

Tom Switzer

Several decades ago, before the free-market fervour of the Thatcher-Reagan years set in, Joseph A. Schumpeter published an insightful book on the essence of capitalism. Writing in Capitalism, Socialism, and… more»

Melanie Jayne

Old-style American journalism is gasping for its final breath. Rebellions are being captured through the lens of a smartphone camera. Current affairs are condensed into bite-sized packages of 140 characters… more»

Richard C. Longworth

Some sixty years ago, Charles E. Wilson, then CEO of General Motors, told Congress: “What is good for our country is good for General Motors, and vice versa.” This was… more»

Anatol Lieven

Ever since the Obama administration announced that all US ground troops would be withdrawn from Afghanistan by the end of 2014, I have argued against calling this an “endgame”. After… more»

Richard C. Longworth

There’s a geography of inequality in modern America and you can explore it in a day’s drive.… more»

Anatol Lieven

Pakistan exemplifies a problem for the United States in the Muslim world, and, indeed, in other parts of the world as well. This is that, on the one hand, US… more»

Tom Switzer

This year is already a reminder of two important security lessons of the post-9/11 era: that heightened defences against very real terrorist threats in the US remain necessary; and that… more»

Rory Medcalf

What does social media mean for the big issues of war and peace? Is the endless conversation of Twitter and the blogosphere going to break down barriers of misperception or reinforce the… more»

Tom Switzer

“I think Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America, in a way that Richard Nixon did not, and in a way that Bill Clinton did not,” Barack Obama remarked in one of… more»

Anatol Lieven

The United States is facing two interlinked domestic challenges which are unprecedented in their scope. The first is the rise of the Latino (and, to a lesser extent, Asian) populations… more»

Richard C. Longworth

The American Midwest, that great belt of farms and factories stretching south and west from the Great Lakes, has always lived on nature’s gifts. First was the farmland, perhaps the… more»

Rory Medcalf

Does social media help start wars or stop them? This has lately become a topical question, not least as China and Japan face off over the contested islands and resources of the… more»

Richard C. Longworth

Finally, the rains have come, flung up the Mississippi River valley by the tail of Hurricane Isaac, cooling temperatures and greening the crops—or what’s left of them. It’s been a cruel summer,… more»

Anatol Lieven

Whatever happens, the United States is going to try to redeploy a large part of its armed forces, diplomatic attention, and (perhaps) development aid to East and Southeast Asia. That is now… more»

Jeff Kingston

This was supposed to be the Year of Sino-Japanese Friendship, but rather than celebrating the 40th anniversary of normalising relations, the two nations have derailed bilateral relations over disputed islands in the East… more»

Richard McGregor

Politicians, political parties, and a hoard of billionaires supporting them have spent upwards of $5 billion on America’s presidential and congressional elections in 2012, a record amount by a wide margin.… more»

Felix Donovan

Twilight has come to the lonely superpower. We are witnessing the beginning of the end of the era of American primacy. The emergence of China and India in the East,… more»

Anatol Lieven

As far as US strategy in Afghanistan is concerned, the die is now cast and the gamble made. The United States will continue to support the Karzai administration and whatever its successor… more»

Richard McGregor

In Phoenix earlier this year, I met Tony Valdovenos, one of a small army of on-the-ground volunteers deployed by Barack Obama’s campaign to register new voters in Arizona.… more»

Jason Miks

My magazine is funded by US think tanks who themselves are funded by the US government as part of a global disinformation campaign. But we’re also funded by the Japanese… more»

Rory Medcalf

Can the microblog change the megastates? In China and India, social media is leapfrogging official and mainstream media narratives, giving voice to the wants and frustrations of the new middle classes.… more»

Richard C. Longworth

The last session of the NATO summit in Chicago in May was devoted to a salute to 13 NATO “partners”, which are nations that don’t belong to NATO but take part in… more»

Bates Gill

In a relatively rare occurrence, early 2013 will see two newly mandated administrations setting up at the same time in the United States and China. If President Obama returns to the White… more»

Jason Miks

Xi Jinping will not have taken it personally. He knows that it’s an election year, and that an American president and his administration cannot be seen to be soft —… more»

Sam Roggeveen

Veteran Australian tabloid journalist and radio shock jock Derryn Hinch earlier this year described Twitter as, “the biggest advance in journalism and news gathering in the 50 years I’ve been… more»

Richard McGregor

The two most powerful lobbies in Washington, so the town’s old hands will tell you, are the National Rifle Association (NRA) and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Members of Congress,… more»

Richard C. Longworth

After an economic winter that has lasted nearly a decade, the first green shoots of thaw are appearing in America’s industrial heartland. Headlines sprout words like “recovery” and “revival”. Factories that had slashed… more»

Anatol Lieven

So far, President Vladimir Putin of Russia has exercised power well—by the standards of the former Soviet republics. His administration has presided over quite impressive rates of economic growth (admittedly aided by… more»

Rory Medcalf

From coup rumours in China through crusade-mongering in Africa to revelations of revolution in the US State Department: social media is cutting a trail of creative destruction across international affairs in 2012.… more»

Anatol Lieven

The growing confrontation between the United States and Pakistan is one of the most dangerous security threats in the world today. It also illustrates the dysfunctionality into which US strategy… more»

Jonathan Bradley

Toward the end of 2011, the Minnesota congresswoman and then Republican presidential aspirant Michele Bachmann had an interesting idea. Admittedly, interesting ideas are one of the things for which Bachmann… more»

Cover Story

A New Cold War? (Issue 16, 2014)

Simon Heffer

We Britons who grew up during the Cold War — or perhaps we should now call it the First Cold War — and whose first flush of adulthood coincided with the Reagan/ Thatcher era tend to have decidedly polarised views about America. Either we understand that rich, heavily armed America… more»

Mary Kissel

Not content with seizing Crimea, Vladimir Putin’s unmarked militiamen steamroll into eastern Ukraine. The White House announces there will be “consequences” and that Vice President Joe Biden will fly to Kiev to “underscore the United States’ strong support for a united, democratic Ukraine that makes its own choices about its… more»

David Hendrickson

The violation of the territorial integrity of Ukraine by Russia’s encouragement of a referendum on secession in Crimea, followed by Russia’s annexation of the territory, has produced a first-class crisis in Europe. The crisis is a very big deal, threatening to unravel over 25 years of progress in escaping the… more»

Dean Bertram

A cultural sea change swept over American and Australian cinema in the early 1970s. The wild but defining rural spaces of both countries had long been the touchstones of their respective national identities. In his formative 1893 paper “The Significance of the Frontier in American History,” US historian Frederick Jackson… more»

End of a Pax Americana (Issue 15, 2014)

Scott Smith

As soon as US special forces hit the ground in Afghanistan to topple the Taliban government three weeks after 9/11, talk of a potential “Afghanistan syndrome” was revived on the opinion pages of the New York Times, echoing the “Vietnam syndrome” of the 1970s. … more»

Neville Meaney

There is a large body of opinion that holds that the 21st Century is to be the Asian or Asia-Pacific century and that China will be the prime driving force in creating a new regional order. In the eyes of many, Napoleon’s famous prediction that when the sleeping giant China… more»

Adam Garfinkle

Over the past quarter century, the American political class, its leadership included, seems to have lost the ability to think strategically about the world and America’s place in it. The reinforcing reasons for this are both remote and proximate, some buried deep within American political culture and others the result… more»

Mary Kissel

President Obama’s second term is careening wildly off course, and everyone seems to know it but the President — especially when it comes to his imploding, eponymous health-care program Obamacare. The website rollout was a disaster, five million people have been dropped from their insurance plans, premium and deductible costs… more»

Richard N. Haass

The biggest threat to America’s security and prosperity comes not from abroad but from within. The United States has jeopardised its ability to act effectively in the world because of runaway domestic spending, underinvestment in human and physical capital, an avoidable financial crisis, an unnecessarily slow recovery, a war in… more»

Are We Really Informed? (Issue 14, 2013)

Mary Kissel

On 10 June 2009, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart aired a segment in which the show’s correspondent, Jason Jones, toured the New York Times’s headquarters in Midtown Manhattan. Jones sits at a desk and notes the Times had lost $74 million on the quarter and 40 per cent of… more»

Michael Cook

Many Australians misunderstand the ANZUS Treaty. Even those who should know better, including ministers, senior ministerial advisers, academics, and commentators, have either overstated or understated its significance. Simply put, the US–Australia alliance has meant different things to different people.… more»

Jay Rosen

Making knowledge public does not a knowledgeable public make. This is the thought I wish to impress upon you. It was probably always true, but certain things have happened lately that make contemplating this truth an urgent priority for those of us trying to understand how national publics can be… more»

Peter Funt

A group of daily papers in New England calls its electronic edition No Inky Fingers. The point, of course, is that with digital news nothing rubs off on readers’ hands. But what’s rubbing off on their brains?… more»

A gay awakening (Issue 13, 2013)

Mary Kissel

It’s hard to remember now, but try. Once upon a time, a young president stood on the steps of the Capitol and retrod the ground that Al Gore and Jimmy Carter had plowed before him: the siren call for an energetic, effective, trustworthy government.… more»

Fred Hiatt

In January 2009, shortly before his first inauguration, Barack Obama paid a visit to the Washington Post editorial board. The economy was unravelling, the financial system was at risk, and the president-elect was focused on proposals on how to engineer a short-term rescue. But even in the midst of crisis,… more»

Jonathan Rauch

The fall of 1995 does not really seem all that long ago, does it? To me, it is as vivid as yesterday, yet also ancient as Babylon. I am walking with my father in Belfast, Ireland, and he is urging me to abandon my rash idea, which is to write… more»

Peter Oborne and David Morrison

The election of Iran’s new president, Hassan Rouhani, has been greeted with cynicism. Critics say that President Rouhani will change little. Some even suggest that he could make things worse. Yet the election of the new Iranian president is a profoundly hopeful moment. He is sensible, pragmatic, and well connected… more»

Dennis Blair

The American relationship with Australia is unique. Although the “special relationship” with the United Kingdom is widely regarded as America’s closest partnership, friction has dogged the alliance. From tensions over strategy and empire and World War II to the Suez crisis in 1956 and the recent return of Winston Churchill’s… more»

American Renewal (Issue 12, 2013)

James Curran

Not long after his arrival in Jakarta in 1965 as the freshly minted American Ambassador to Indonesia, Marshall Green was the guest of honour at a diplomatic reception hosted by President Sukarno. In the preceding years, the Indonesian leader had ramped up his nationalist rhetoric, diverting attention from a struggling… more»

John Lee

Julia Gillard’s first meeting with China’s new generation of leaders in April led to the conclusion of several agreements, including an annual Strategic Economic Dialogue between the Australian Prime Minister and the Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, future military-to-military exercises and port visits by Chinese warships, and a direct currency exchange… more»

Steven F. Hayward

Political partisans are always faced with disappointments from their heroes, and Barack Obama is no different. In his first term, Obama was unable to deliver “card check” (a scheme to force automatic enrolment in labour unions), the top item on the wish list of his key backers in organised labour. Although he did manage to get… more»

Megan H. MacKenzie

Despite multiple calls to review the combat exclusion for women, impending lawsuits, and growing evidence of women’s contribution to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Pentagon’s 24 January announcement to lift its ban on women in front-line combat roles was surprising. For years, Congress and the Department of Defense… more»

Clyde Prestowitz

Conventional wisdom says that America is in decline, that the American century is over, and that the future belongs to the rest, especially the rest in Asia. Dates vary, but predictions that China’s gross domestic product will soon surpass that of the US to become the world’s largest economy are… more»

Second Term Agenda (Issue 11, 2013)

John Judis

When Barack Obama took office in January 2009, he invited comparison to Franklin D. Roosevelt, a Democrat who also took office in the midst of an economic crisis. Echoing Roosevelt, Obama promised an initial “hundred days” of achievement, and let it be known that he had been reading Jonathan Alter’s book, The Defining Moment: FDR’s First… more»

Mary Kissel

Ron Johnson spent his career running a small plastic sheeting company he founded with his brother-in-law in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, before entering politics, and had never been to Washington, DC before winning a seat in the Senate. So it is no surprise that when the blue-eyed accountant sits down with the… more»

Kishore Mahbubani

In his second term, President Barack Obama faces three choices in the Asia-Pacific: to pivot, poison, or make peace. So far Obama’s contribution to regional strategic discourse has been the word “pivot”. After some reflection, his administration wisely decided to drop the use of the word. But the policy behind… more»

Geoffrey Wheatcroft

In 1782, William Pitt became prime minister of Great Britain at the age of 24, “Pitt the Younger” taking the office that Pitt the Elder — his father the Earl of Chatham — had earlier held. In 1886, Robert, Marquess of Salisbury, became prime minister. Three of his sons would be members of parliament, and… more»

The Long Thaw (Issue 10, 2012)

Le Hong Hiep

In early 1833, a United States delegation led by Edmund Roberts arrived in Vietnam on the sloop-of-war USS Peacock, which anchored in Vung Lam Bay, off modern Phu Yen province. As a “special confidential agent” of President Andrew Jackson, Roberts proposed to sign a treaty of commerce with the Nguyen Dynasty but failed in his mission… more»

George C. Herring

United States Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta’s June 2012 appearance at Vietnam’s magnificent deepwater port, Cam Ranh Bay, was rich in symbolism. In one of his many (unanswered) letters to President Harry S. Truman appealing for American help in gaining his country’s independence from France, Vietnamese revolutionary leader Ho Chi Minh proposed a US naval base… more»

Nayan Chanda

In the days after the last helicopter lifted off the United States embassy helipad, the Saigon sky fell silent and the victors got busy raising the red and gold standard of the National Liberation Front on the flag poles of foreign missions. The fortress-like American embassy alone did not have the NLF flag. Asked about… more»

Who's afraid of Iran? (Issue 9, 2012)

Bruce Riedel

The 2012 American presidential race has been notable for the tough rhetoric from almost all Republican candidates on whether or not to use force against Iran. In the debates they out did each other in pledging their commitment to the defence of Israel against possible Iranian threats, and in promising to never allow Iran… more»

William Pfaff

Why should Iran not have nuclear weapons? Israel has them. India and Pakistan have them. Europe is full of them, most of them American, tucked away by the US and NATO in inconspicuous corners in case they might be needed; some of them in locations probably forgotten. Russia and China have plenty of them.… more»

Ali Ansari

For many foreign observers, Iran’s determination to pursue a nuclear program appears both incongruous and nonsensical. This is particularly the case in light of the growing international isolation and the economic costs being inflicted through increasingly punitive sanctions, culminating in an embargo on Iranian oil by the European Union.… more»

Robert Merry

As war agitation intensifies over Iran’s nuclear program, much of the world’s attention naturally focuses on the three men at the centre of the storm—Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and US President Barack Obama. Each brings his own attributes, impulses, sensibilities and limitations to the lingering crisis. But each is also… more»

The China Campaign (Issue 8, 2012)

Stephen Leeb and Gregory Dorsey

Political campaigns, to the extent that they deal with serious issues at all, invariably oversimplify both the problems and potential solutions. The 2012 US presidential campaign clearly won’t be an exception. One serious issue that Americans deserve to hear discussed in a thoughtful and reality-facing way is China’s growing role… more»

Andrew J. Nathan

American presidential elections turn chiefly on domestic issues, not foreign policy, and within that category China for years played only a bit part. In 1952 Dwight D. Eisenhower attacked the incumbent Democrats for the loss of China to communism and their failure to end the war in Korea. In 1960 Richard Nixon and John… more»

Diana Choyleva

This being an election year in America, reports of the death of its economic primacy are exaggerated, as are expectations of future Chinese dominance. The past 15 to 20 years have seen a huge Chinese catch-up with the advanced economies and many experts predict this trend to continue. But the distortions entailed by China’s… more»

Martin Jacques

Talking tough on China is back in vogue. Republican candidate Mitt Romney has resorted to strong language and tough threats. “China steals our designs and patents and our know-how,” declared Romney. “They have walked all over him [Barack Obama]. If I am president that is going to end.” He has promised to brand China… more»

The Right Candidate (Issue 7, 2012)

Lee Marsden

For well over 30 years, the Christian right, a loose coalition of fiscal and social conservatives predominantly from white evangelical and Catholic traditions, has played a significant role in US politics at home and abroad. From its emergence during the late 1970s as a reaction to perceived moral decline and… more»

Jedediah Purdy

The Tea Party movement gets plenty of support from established right-wing financiers and media, but the mood that drives it is as real as it is sometimes bizarre. In 2010, nearly one-third of Republicans told pollsters they believed Barack Obama was a Muslim, and a quarter affirmed the astonishing thought… more»

Book Reviews

Jonathan Bradley

A novel of race and immigration draws US culture with comic precision more»

Peter Coleman

The US–Australia intervention in Vietnam could have bought time for South-East Asia to contain the Communist threat more»

John R. Bolton

Bob Gates’s candid description of how he came to detest his job makes for jaw-dropping reading more»

Derek Parker

Welcome to a world of cyber war and homemade drones more»

Jonathan Bradley

The Gamble acts as a counter to the gossipy Game Change series, but it fails to undermine the case for punditry-driven journalism more»

Jacob Heilbrunn

As the United States seeks a new global role, it should heed the counsel of the leading post-war realist more»

Totally Hot Man free download

Nicole Hemmer

Although the latest instalment’s explanation of the 2012 election is limited, it offers useful insights into American political culture and campaigns more»

Martin Morse Wooster

The budget-cutting, small-government inter-war president has emerged as a role model for today’s conservative Republicans more»

Jonathan Bradley

How FDR saved liberal democracy by compromising on it more»

Michael Koziol

Is technology sapping our attention span and ruining our concentration? more»

Jacob Heilbrunn

A timely realist repudiation of neo-conservatives and liberal hawks more»

Greg Sheridan

This strange potpourri of chronologically discordant bits and pieces is incoherent and misleading more»

Walter S. Montaño

Five key diplomats set the scene for America’s intervention and triumph in World War II more»

Martin Morse Wooster

Could US ingenuity during the war show the way forward to renewing America today? more»

Jonathan Bradley

The story of a once industrial powerhouse of the Midwest now blighted by drugs and crime more»

Gregory Melleuish

American conservatives have little to gain by reverting to 18th century principles more»

Ramesh Thakur

Kishore Mahbubani shows once again why he is one of the world’s leading thinkers more»

Walter S. Montaño

How Mexican food entered American popular culture more»

Stephen Morris

The gulag solidifies the Kim family regime more»

Nicole Hemmer

Inside the mind of America's most well-known forecaster more»

Jacob Heilbrunn

Once elected, American presidents discover the impotence of office more»

Peter Coleman

Despite his denials, David Marr has written a political tract more»

Braham Dabscheck

A social history of 20th century America through the life of a sports broadcaster more»

Geoffrey Wheatcroft

A former foreign policy insider looks to what could, would and should happen next more»

Peter Coleman

A rare glimpse into the daily routine of a bohemian from Down Under more»