James ONeill

The Latest US Sanctions Point to a Declining World Superpower


On Monday 6th of August the United States imposed a fresh set of sanctions on Iran. These are intended as a prelude to even stronger sanctions to take effect in November. The clearly stated intention is to break the Iranian governments will to resist American demands, and to cause…

As the Syrian War Draws to a Close, What Has Australia Learned


In August 2015 the Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop announced that the government was considering becoming involved in the war in Syria, some four years after that conflict had escalated to an all out assault on the Syrian government by a patchwork of opposition groups…

Time to Invite Russian Diplomats Back with an Apology


On 4th of March 2018 former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were discovered on a park bench in Salisbury England in a distressed state. They were treated by passers-by, including a doctor, before being taken to Salisbury General Hospital. The hospital…

UK Torture Report Raises Serious Questions


A recently released report of the UK Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament under the chairmanship of conservative MP Dominic Grieve QC has received remarkably little media coverage in Australia.  There are a number of reasons to be concerned about the information contained…

South China Sea a Touchstone for the New Realities


At the recent Australia-China Business Council meeting in Canberra, China’s ambassador to Australia Cheng Jingye accused Australia of harbouring a cold war mentality, and said that “less bias and bigotry” was needed if the currently strained relationship between the two countries…

The SCO and G7 Meetings Point to Different Worlds


Two meetings of considerable geopolitical significance took place last weekend. They could not have been more different in tone and outcome. Each in their way were representative of the fundamental realignment that is taking place in the world order, and each points to a very…

Washington’s Old Habits and New Geopolitical Challenges


To absolutely no one’s surprise, US president Donald Trump has announced the cancellation of the summit meeting with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un scheduled to have been held in Singapore on 12 June 2018. In announcing his decision Trump referred to what was described in the letter he…

Trump’s Withdrawal From the JCPOA the Death Knell of American Credibility


The decision by Trump will have ramifications far wider than the fact of US withdrawal alone. First, it will reinforce the image of the United States as a country that will sign up to an agreement as the Obama administration did, agreed to its ratification in the United Nations Security Council as the…

The Korean Agreement: A New Beginning or Will History Repeat Itself


The joint declaration by the leaders of North and South Korea on 27 April 2018 has rightly been applauded as a significant breakthrough in the relationship between the two parts of the Korean peninsula that have been in varying states of tension since the armistice that marked the cessation…

Another False Gas Attack Risks Wider Repercussions


It is difficult to overstate the dangers posed by the latest escalation of tensions in Syria over the alleged gas attack in the Syrian town of Douma. The tensions are not eased by the inflammatory rhetoric emanating from the White House, with the usual echoes of support from American…

Australia and the Rules Based Internal Order


One of the most frequently heard phrases from Prime Minister Turnbull and Foreign Minister Bishop is their reiteration of a belief in the “rules based international order.” This phrase is usually invoked in the context of a criticism…

US Attacks Syria: Disregards Evidence and International Law


On 13 April 2018 the United States, the United Kingdom and France carried out military strikes against Syrian government positions. This was claimed by the United States Government and its allies, including Australia, to be in response to the use of chemical weapons by Syrian…

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