Global Outlook Articles by Ramesh Thakur

Curated expert opinion on intractable contemporary issues

Global Outlook Articles by Ramesh Thakur

Ramesh Thakur is emeritus professor in the Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University; Senior Fellow, Toda Peace Institute; and a member of the Asia-Pacific Leadership Network Board of Directors. He was formerly a United Nations Assistant Secretary-General and Co-Convenor of the APLN.

Double Standards are Normal in Foreign Policy

By Ramesh Thakur  |  05 May, 2022

What is it about some Westerners that makes them so singularly lacking in self-awareness as they assume a position of moral and intellectual superiority to issue condescending pronouncements on non-Westerners? In their chapter in the 1999 book The power of human rights, Thomas Risse and Stephen Ropp wrote: ‘Pressure by Western states and international organizations can greatly increase the vulnerability of norm-violating governments to external influences.’

Russian and US Parallel Pathways to a Nuclear Conflict

By Ramesh Thakur  |  07 April, 2022

In the 2020 election, President Donald Trump’s supporters looked beyond manifest character flaws to domestic and foreign policy results but opponents couldn’t overlook his character to assess any policy achievements. Joe Biden became president as much because Americans voted against Trump as for Biden The buyers’ remorse evident in opinion polls suggests that perhaps voters should have been careful what they wished for.

The Tale of Two Airlines, Iranian Air IR655 and Malaysian Air MH17, and Double Standards

By Ramesh Thakur  |  23 March, 2022

While in Iranian territorial waters, USS Vincennes fired two surface-to-air missiles to bring down the Iranian plane with the loss of all 290 on board on 3 July 1988. The captain and crew of the Vincennes were later awarded medals. Vice President George H W Bush insisted he would ‘never apologise for the United States – I don’t care what the facts are’.

Putin’s Actions in Ukraine are Vile, But Russia was Sorely Provoked by NATO

By Ramesh Thakur  |  15 March, 2022

Resorting to what President Barack Obama called the Washington Playbook of militarised response to a foreign policy crisis, Arta Moeini writes, the ruling elites in the West collude with the mainstream media in a Manichean framing that ‘redirects a natural reaction of sympathy felt by all into a moral outrage that insists on certain retaliation’. This doesn’t just enable, it ennobles the American war machine. For this to work, though, one’s own culpability in creating the crisis in the first place must be forcefully rejected.

Three Comments on Ukraine and Nuclear Risks

By Ramesh Thakur  |  14 March, 2022

Three overarching goals have informed the Asia Pacific Leadership Network's (APLN) approach to nuclear threats since its inception a decade ago: the imperative to hold firm against proliferation, the matching importance of credible steps toward disarmament, and defusing geopolitical tensions that heighten nuclear risks. All three are at play in Ukraine.

India’s Stake in the Ukraine Conflict

By Ramesh Thakur  |  10 March, 2022

On 25 February, the United Nations Security Council voted on a draft resolution condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and calling on it to stop the attack and withdraw its troops. Sponsored jointly by the US and Albania, the resolution received the affirmative vote of 11 of the council’s 15 members. But it was defeated by the solitary negative vote of Russia (by chance the council president for February) as a veto-wielding permanent member. The three countries to abstain were China, India and the United Arab Emirates.

The views and opinions expressed in Global Outlook are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Toda Peace Institute.