Foreign Policy – The Centre for Independent Studies

Foreign Policy

While accepting the importance and value of the trade relationship with  China, our new program called China and Free Societies aims to raise awareness of the challenges growing Chinese government influence poses to a free and democratic Australia.

Over the years The Centre for Independent Studies has contributed to the public debate on a range of topical foreign policy issues.  The CIS advocated pragmatic and cautious foreign policy settings to help safeguard a peaceful and prosperous Asia-Pacific.  Our research has extended from defence policy to global democratisation, but recently focused on China-Australia relations, the US security presence in Asia, Chinese foreign policy, and foreign aid.

For further information on our foreign policy areas, proceed to:

Featured Publication


Time to ‘step up’ the tempo: Australia’s answer to Beijing in Papua New Guinea
Sean Jacobs
21 October 2021 | AP27

Australia’s ‘step up’ in the Pacific is now five years old and needs a more ‘up tempo’ approach, particularly in Papua New Guinea (PNG) where China’s influence has grown significantly – from building PNG’s national data centre to backing a Chinese company’s proposal for a…

The Philippines Caught between Appeasing and Constraining China: How Australia can help tip the balance
Renato Cruz De Castro
28 September 2021 | PP44

This paper examines the ongoing clash in the Philippines between government officials who favour appeasement, on the one hand, and those pushing for a policy of constrainment towards China in the South China Sea on the other – and how Australia can help tip the…

Xi Dreams of 100 More Glorious Years for the Party: Might China Awake?
Rowan Callick
16 September 2021 | AP26

The Chinese Communist Party is at the peak of its power as it enters its second century. This paper examines its evolution over the last 100 years, before turning to its centenary celebrations in July 2021 with Xi Jinping at the helm. It then focuses…

Reflections on the EU Project and its Flaws: A fatal conceit about markets and the real world
Richard Alston
09 September 2021 | OP185

The European Union shows all the signs of worsening economic, social and political decline — from tepid economic growth and chronically high unemployment to social unrest and rising political extremism. This paper reflects on the idealistic roots of early European integration in the wake of…

Afghanistan on the brink of an abyss
William Maley
01 July 2021 | OP181

Australia’s recent closure of its embassy in Kabul, and the withdrawal of all US forces from Afghanistan after 20 years by 11 September 2021, casts a deep shadow over Afghanistan’s future prospects. In this paper, leading expert on Afghanistan, William Maley, examines the implications of…

Media & Commentary

Ties between Delhi and Canberra crucial to Indo-Pacific security
C. Raja Mohan
11 November 2021 | Spectator

The relationship between India and Australia has grown rapidly in recent years, underpinned by a convergence of security interests in the Indo-Pacific and complemented by their membership of the revived…

Net Zero By 2050? Don’t Plan on It
Tom Switzer
28 October 2021 | Wall Street Journal

As leaders prepare to gather in Glasgow for the United Nations climate-change conference, you may think the world has agreed to reduce and eventually eliminate its dependency on fossil fuels,…

Powell a great soldier-statesman and also a realist
Tom Switzer
19 October 2021 | The Australian

Colin Powell was not only a great soldier-statesman. He also was a great man, one of the last surviving members of the George HW Bush administration’s foreign policy team that…

Winds of global change hold risks for Xi’s ambitions
Rowan Callick
24 September 2021 | The Australian

The AUKUS announcement, followed within hours by China’s applica­tion to join the Compre­hensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partner­ship trade pact, is forming the centre of our foreign affairs discussions…

AUKUS alliance: Greatest threat to Beijing is Xi Jinping
Rowan Callick
17 September 2021 | The Australian

The formation of AUKUS underlines that the People’s Republic of China remains, as leading Chinese academic Zhu Feng says, a “lonely rising power”. China’s only formal ally is North Korea,…