March 6, 2018        Reading Time: 2 minutes

Your weekly digest of foreign policy commentary:

Reading Time: 2 min read

Kumuda Simpson asks whether developed governments are prepared to tackle the security implications of climate change. Image credit – dchulov / deposit photo



How Can Sri Lanka Shape the Commonwealth Beyond 2018?, Daily FT (Sri Lanka), by Ganeshan Wignaraja, Chair of the Global Economy Programme, and Myra Sivaloganathan, former Research Associate at LKI

“In a time when populism and authoritarianism appear on the rise, Commonwealth countries should publicly recommit to their democratic institutions”

  • Ganeshan Wignaraja and Myra Sivaloganathan explain four ways for Sri Lanka could contribute at next month’s Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in London.
    • Among Commonwealth nations, Sri Lanka could advocate (i) more trade, (ii) women’s participation in the labour force, (iii) youth empowerment, and (iv) democracy and the rule of law.
    • With regard to trade, Sri Lanka should especially promote trade in modern services, as the new frontier in intra-Commonwealth trade.

LKI Take: The Commonwealth is experiencing a new ‘window of opportunity’ as a result of Brexit. However, given that Brexit itself has emerged from growing populism, it is worth considering how such populism might challenge efforts to further liberal values in the Commonwealth.



India’s Choice in the Maldives, Project Syndicate, by Brahma Chellaney, Professor of Strategic Studies at the New Delhi-based Center for Policy Research and Fellow at the Robert Bosch Academy in Berlin

“India’s best option is to hold out a credible threat of military action, while imposing, together with other democratic powers, economic sanctions…”

  • Brahma Chellaney explains the challenges of an Indian military intervention in the Maldives and outlines Delhi’s best foreign policy option. He argues that:
    • A military intervention is not advisable because a legitimate Maldivian authority is not inviting India to intervene.
    • An intervention is also unlikely to facilitate a democratic political change in the Maldives that is capable of dampening China’s influence in the Maldives.
    • India should work with other democracies to impose economic sanctions, to decrease support for the current Maldivian President.



Climate Change and Security and Why It’s so Hard, Lowy Institute, by Kumuda Simpson, Lecturer in International Relations in the Department of Politics and Philosophy, La Trobe University, Melbourne

“Climate change and its security implications must become integrated into Australia’s long-term thinking about economic, strategic, and diplomatic policy in the region.”

  • Kumuda Simpson asks whether developed countries like Australia are prepared to tackle the security implications of climate change. She argues that:
    • Australia’s 2016 Defence White Paper and 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper note the link between climate change and security but are vague about how that link will materialise.
    • There is little research consensus on how climate change will affect security, and how it could lead to violence and mass displacement.
    • It is, therefore, possible that countries like Australia are not adequately prepared to tackle the security implications of climate change, which needs to be acknowledged.

Written by Barana Waidyatilake and Malinda Meegoda, and edited by Anishka De Zylva.

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