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


The Need for U.S.-Australia Leadership to Counter China across the Indo-Pacific
Erik M. Jacobs
25 March 2021 | PP36

China’s recent actions – its trade coercion against Australia, border clash with India, maritime harassment of Japan, and military expansionism in the South China Sea – have compelled the U.S. and Australia to leverage their decades-long defence alliance and intelligence ties to deepen existing relationships…

The New President: What Biden’s Foreign Policy Agenda Means for Australia
Salvatore Babones
19 January 2021 | OP178

Joe Biden comes to the presidency amid great expectations for a return to normalcy in American foreign policy, but that doesn’t necessarily mean a more benign international environment for Australia. The United States has global priorities and responsibilities, but there are three areas in particular…

A House Divided: The AFRB and China's Subnational Diplomacy in Australia
Salvatore Babones
12 November 2020 | AP17

This paper examines China’s subnational diplomacy in Australia and the suitability of Australia’s Foreign Relations Bill (AFRB) as a tool for countering it. The AFRB is designed to help the Commonwealth keep tabs on international diplomacy involving Australian states, territories, local governments, and public universities.…

The Elite Embrace
Rowan Callick
03 November 2020 | OP177

After suffering pushback at home and abroad in the wake of the covid-19 pandemic, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has resumed its course to achieve key Chinese Communist Party goals by retaining the backing of the elites that count, both within China and overseas.…

Australia, the United States and China in a post-Covid world
Richard Alston
14 September 2020 | OP175

After three decades of prosperity and relative peace, Australia suddenly confronts a trifecta of crises: a pandemic, a recession, and a radically changed strategic outlook. In these circumstances, Australia must adapt quickly, always putting its interests first and being prepared to lead when necessary. Notwithstanding…

Media & Commentary

Biden’s global minimum tax is a trap for mobile capital
Robert Carling
13 April 2021 | Financial Review

If taxation is an enigma to all but tax experts, then global corporate tax is – to borrow Winston Churchill’s words – a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside the…

Leverage ties to counter China
Erik M. Jacobs
01 April 2021 | IDEAS@THECENTRE

China’s trade retaliation against Australia, Indian border clashes, maritime harassment of Japan, and South China Sea military expansion have opened a window into how a Beijing-dominated Indo-Pacific may look. To…

Myanmar’s Democracy Worth Saving
Anjali Nadaradjane
12 March 2021 | IDEAS@THECENTRE

For many, the Myanmar coup marked the failure of a democratic experiment. It was a glaring reality that the Tatmadaw (Myanmar’s military junta) had never relinquished power or control and…

Kiwi undiplomacy
Leonard Hong
12 February 2021 | IDEAS@THECENTRE

“In archaeology, you uncover the unknown. In diplomacy you cover the known,” former United States Ambassador Thomas Pickering famously quipped. And Pickering’s wisdom is still relevant today. In the aftermath…

Biden may mean trouble
Salvatore Babones
22 January 2021 | Ideas@theCentre

Joe Biden represents a ‘return to normalcy’ in American foreign policy, but that may mean trouble for Australia. He has repeatedly stressed his commitment to working ‘with’ allies to achieve…