What Is the ‘National Interest’ When it Comes to Foreign Policy?

For a university assessment, we had 48 hours to write two ~1000 word essays responding to questions from a list of 12. This first piece was in response to a question asking what the term “national interest” meant with regards to foreign policy. It briefly outlines Australia’s history with Timor-Leste, concluding that national interest has more to do with with the political and commercial interests of Canberra. This is in contrast to the public interest, international human rights interests, and the interests of the Timorese people.

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Border Protection as a Defence of White Sovereignty

This essay was written for for my Australian Foreign Policy unit in response to the following question:

How should we make sense of Australia’s approach to the arrival of asylum seekers by boat?

I suggest that we can only understand Australia’s refugee policies by viewing it as a defence of the white nation-state’s sovereignty. This attempt to legitimise white sovereignty over borders runs in tandem with the denial of Indigenous sovereignty, which is also perceived as a threat to the legitimacy of the white nation-state. In both cases, vulnerable groups are marginalised, demonised, and dehumanised by the policies of successive Australian governments. References are provided at the bottom.

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Addressing Modern Slavery: A Reflection Pt.1

02/11/2019

I am currently reading Addressing Modern Slavery by Justine Nolan and Martijn Boersma, and it’s a shocking read. Not shocking in the sense that we don’t know it exists – everyone should know that it not only exists, but many of our choices as consumers are intimately linked with this wretched reality. No, that slavery exists isn’t revelatory – but many of the stories and statistics, the main one being that there are over 40M slaves worldwide, are heartbreaking. And very little is being done about it. But that shouldn’t surprise anyone either.

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Who Cares About Trump’s Taxes?

12/10/2019

The answer to that question appears to be just the media and a bunch of Americans tutting over financial records that Trump won’t release. Also, something about Russia destroying their shit democracy and a rich white guy’s own financial and political interests are under threat, so that word impeach actually means something now. But who actually cares?

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Refugee Rights and Policy Wrongs: A Reflection

29/07/2019

Despite having two other books to read for university and a topic to read up on for an upcoming internship role, I impulsively bought Refugee Rights and Policy Wrongs and read it within a few days because bookshops are a (wonderful) trap. I am glad I did get it, though, because while my knowledge of international and Australian law is passable (read as: probably not great, but most people I know, in the nicest terms, don’t have a clue so I appear intelligent), there is always more to learn, a fact to add to your arsenal. When the topic is humanitarian issues, the outcome literally means life and death.

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“Deeply Concerned” Hypocrites

15/07/2019

Foreign Affairs Minister, Senator Marise Payne, added Canberra’s voice to a letter to the UN regarding China’s human rights record in Xinjiang. For a few years now, attention has been brought to the over 1 million Uighurs and other Muslim groups being held in what have been described as detention centres by human rights bodies and ‘re-education centres’ by the Chinese government. Payne’s signing of the letter might’ve been worth looking favourably on, if Australia didn’t have its own detention centres.

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Australia Could Learn from Costa Rica

08/07/2019

When I think of Latin America, the first thing that comes to mind is the political turmoil infecting most of the continent. That’s a large step away from many of the people I know who would say they’ve never heard of Nicaragua, or my brothers who know Peru because they’re big fans of llamas. But it’s the small country between Nicaragua and Panama, surprisingly devoid of most of their neighbours’ strife, that all of us could learn a few things from – Costa Rica.

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Silencing Powerful Voices

07/07/2019

When I say “powerful”, I don’t just mean people in positions of actual political power. I mean powerful in the sense that the words of these individuals, or groups of people, have immense weight. Whether it is a single person or a population, many powerful voices are being silenced, and it’s up to the rest of us to ensure they are heard again.

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Disavowing Trumpism Now

05/07/2019

As the days, months, years tick by, more and more people supposedly realise that support for populist movements like Trump in the US is not the greatest image. This can be seen through the seemingly constant stream of GOP members jumping ship and/or standing against whatever recent crisis the President has sparked. But this proffers a few curious questions, not the least of which is, why it has taken so long for people to come to this conclusion?

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Quick Quips: I’ll Drink to That

03/07/2019

“If you voted Greens then get out of the house!” Thankfully, I didn’t get drunk that night, otherwise there may have been quite the political hurricane amid the reserved celebrations of the evening. Head down, amiable but fake smile, avoiding the gaze of my chuckling friend as the older man praised “ol’ Trumpy”. Some whiskey and a nod later, crisis was averted – a friend’s birthday saved. I’ll drink to that.

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