Foreign Policy

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


Investor-State Arbitration and the Rule of Law: Debunking the Myths
Patrick Carvalho
13 April 2016 | Research Report 13

Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) is a legal provision in international agreements that enables foreign investors to take host states to an arbitral tribunal for alleged treaty breaches. The goal of investor-state arbitration is to provide a de-politicised, unbiased and law-based adjudication forum to guarantee the…

The Wasatia Movement: Moderation & Tolerance in Islam
Mohammed Dajani
04 June 2015

Dr Mohammed Dajani, founder of the Wasatia Movement, discussed the formation of Al Wasatia, the first Islamic Palestinian organisation to call for a negotiated peace with Israel and to suggest the adoption of liberal values such as tolerance, freedom of speech, rule of law, pluralism,…

The Fog of Foreign Policy: Why only ‘least bad’ options are available in Syria, Iraq and other global hotspots
Benjamin Herscovitch
18 May 2015 | Research Report 4

Foreign policy is typically a blandly bipartisan affair in liberal democracies like Australia and the United States. Although different slogans are employed by left and right, major political parties support broadly liberal foreign policy goals. Both sides of politics want to preserve peace and national…

What are We Fighting For? Islamism and the Threat to Liberal Ideas
David Kilcullen
03 May 2015 | OP140

Counterinsurgency expert and military strategist Dr David Kilcullen delivered The Centre for Independent Studies’ 2014 John Bonython Lecture with a crucial and fascinating exploration of recurring Occidentalism, why Western values are anathema to Islamists, and why we must take decisive action now to counter the…

The rise of China’s imperial president
Kerry Brown, Peter Cai, Benjamin Herscovitch
13 April 2015

Chinese President Xi Jinping has emerged as the Middle Kingdom’s most powerful strongman since paramount leader Deng Xiaoping. In the two years following his ascension, Xi has further centralised political powers, muzzled dissidents and activists even more tightly, and pursued increasingly muscular foreign policy. Xi…

Media & Commentary

What... no Nobel peace prize?
Rebecca Weisser
28 April 2017 | The Spectator

“Trump’s first 100 days: A big failure and a new low in the polls,” blasted the Washington Post in March, after only 68 days, not even bothering to wait until…

Pressing the free trade case amid growing protectionism
Rebecca Weisser
28 April 2017 | Ideas@TheCentre

For a policy that has brought prosperity and choice to billions around the world, free trade has few friends at present.  In the first round of the French presidential elections,…

Boosting terror's aura bolsters its ambitions
Charles Jacobs
21 April 2017 | Ideas@TheCentre

London’s most recent terror incident spun the media and politicians alike into overdrive, labelling it an act designed ‘to silence our democracy’. In reality the perpetrator was a troubled individual…

New international refugee compact needed
Simon Cowan
03 February 2017 | Canberra Times

When US President Trump signed an executive order on immigration last week, he not only put a temporary halt to entry from citizens of seven, largely Islamic, countries, he also…

Make Australia great again
Rebecca Weisser
03 February 2017 | Ideas@TheCentre

Since his inauguration, President Trump has surprised some commentators by breaking with the longstanding tradition of doing in office what he promised on the campaign trail.   While local pundits have…