Foreign Policy

The Centre for Independent Studies has contributed to the public debate on a range of topical foreign policy issues.  Although we do not currently have a specific foreign policy research program we do have events on foreign policy issues and publish commentary.

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

Making China great again?
Susan Windybank
23 March 2018 | Ideas@TheCentre

Forty years ago, the Chinese Communist Party under Deng Xiaoping made a historic decision to allow market forces to play a greater role in the economy, permitting private enterprise to…

Pushback on China
Susan Windybank
02 March 2018 | Ideas@TheCentre

Last November, Australian academic Clive Hamilton made headlines around the world when news broke that publisher Allen & Unwin had dropped publication of his book on Chinese Communist Party influence…

Why is China being Pakistan’s ‘knight in shining armour’?
Aarti Sharad Seksaria
19 January 2018 | Ideas@TheCentre

China’s recent move of defending Pakistan against international criticism is not a first. Nor is it going to be the last. If anything, Trump’s discontent and coldness towards Pakistan is…

Alexander Downer meeting doesn't prove the Trump campaign colluded with Russia
Tom Switzer

Few political allegations are as persistent as the charge that Donald Trump is Vladimir Putin’s puppet. The theory goes like this: In 2016, the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow to hack…

The Four Sides of the Quad
Aarti Sharad Seksaria
15 December 2017 | IDEAS@THECENTRE

The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue of Australia, Japan, India and United States can be viewed from four sides that highlight the differing agendas in this security club.