Tom Switzer

Tom Switzer is director of the Centre for Independent Studies and a presenter at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Why Republicans are sceptical about funding Ukraine

When US policy-makers supported Nato expansion in the 1990s, it was widely believed that America, as the sole remaining superpower, could impose its will and leadership across the globe. ‘An American century’, ‘indispensable nation’, ‘the unipolar moment’, ‘benign hegemony’ – these became the new buzz-words of Washington’s political class. The rhetoric turned bellicose after 9/11,

Australia at the crossroads

 Sydney For decades, Australia has been known as ‘the lucky country’. At the end of the world geographically, we are separated from the global troublespots by vast oceans. We have recorded 27 years of uninterrupted growth, partly because of a surge in exports of commodities to China. At the same time, our tough border protection

Sydney Notebook

The other day, I went to a boozy barbecue near Sydney’s northern beaches. The guests were all political mates of mine and we chatted about those insurgent populists who threaten to upend established conservative parties across the globe: Donald Trump, Marine Le Pen, Geert Wilders, Beppe Grillo and, of course, Pauline Hanson — Australia’s version

The Australian way

 Sydney Most ordinary Australians are shocked that our immensely civilised country is reviled in polite society here and abroad, when the world has so many blatant human rights abusers. The latest accusation comes from a New York Times article complaining that our policies on asylum-seekers are harsh, insensitive, callous and even brutal, and urges European

The many lives of Richard Nixon

Winston Churchill once said of politics that it’s ‘almost as exciting as war and quite as dangerous. In war you can only be killed once, but in politics — many times.’ Perhaps no one personified this dictum better than Richard Milhous Nixon. From his election to Congress in 1946 to his resignation from the presidency

Kevin Rudd, the dud

Sydney Kevin Rudd had spent so much time out of the limelight since his electoral thrashing two months ago that Australians were beginning to wonder what he was up to. The latest joke about our former two-time prime minister is that his only public appearance recently was at a suburban Brisbane retirement home, where he

Gillard’s fractious premiership

‘The definition of an Independent Member of Parliament, viz., one that could not be depended upon.’ – Former British prime minister, the Earl of Derby to Queen Victoria. In the August 21 federal election down under, the Labor government of Prime Minister Julia Gillard copped a stunning rebuke from the Australian people. Consider this: Tony

Will the fraud Kevin Rudd fool Aussies again?

It wasn’t long ago that the upcoming federal election in Australia seemed to be Tony Abbott’s to lose. With Julia Gillard as damaged goods, the Opposition leader appeared poised to win one of the biggest electoral landslides in political history. Think Clement Atlee and Labour’s demolition of Winston Churchill’s Tories in 1945. But recent polls

Foreign Policy Begins at Home, by Richard N. Haass – review

A year or so after the ‘liberation’ of Iraq, an unnamed senior Bush administration official (later revealed to be Karl Rove) boasted: ‘We are an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality.’ Yet a decade later, America’s power and influence has diminished considerably and the American people are suffering from foreign

An Australian bloodbath

Australian politics is all aflutter at the resignation of Kevin Rudd as Foreign Minister. What happens now? Will he challenge Julia Gillard for the job of Prime Minister? Here’s tomorrow’s leader from our sister magazine Spectator Australia (edited by Tom Switzer) for CoffeeHousers’ benefit: It’s an intricate two-step, but one false move now spells death.

Conservatism has triumphed in Australia, whoever its next PM might be

He’s ‘too archetypically conservative’. He’s too much of a ‘King Catholic’. He views the world through a ‘narrow ideological prism’. He’ll ‘split the party’. He’s ‘unelectable as prime minister’. Under his leadership, the centre-right Liberal party will become ‘a down-market protest party of angry old men and the outer suburbs’. As these barbs indicate, Tony

Fallen idol

‘A political leader must keep looking over his shoulder all the time to see if the boys are still there. If they aren’t still there, he’s no longer a political leader.’ Perhaps nothing better describes the extraordinary downfall of Kevin Rudd than American presidential adviser Bernard Baruch’s remarks in 1932. Extraordinary, because for three years