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A bridge too far.

Written by Paul Buchanan on Wednesday, November 21st, 2018

Jiaozhou Bay/Qingdao-Haiwan Bridge, China. Photo: Feel the Planet (   The Labour-led government in New Zealand has settled on a new mantra when it comes to addressing the US-China rivalry. It claims that New Zealand is ideally situated to become a bridge between the two great powers and an honest broker when it comes to […]

Confronting Sharp Power.

Written by Paul Buchanan on Wednesday, October 24th, 2018

  Source:   International relations is about exercising power to achieve objectives on the global stage. The actors that do so are states, companies, non-governmental organizations or criminal and non-state political actors acting directly or as proxies. The tools they employ have traditionally included hard power, which is the threat and use of diplomatic, economic […]

On intelligence oversight, a broader perspective.

Written by Paul Buchanan on Sunday, April 22nd, 2018

Introduction. Director Paul G. Buchanan has been named as a member of the New Zealand Inspector General of Intelligence and Security’s Reference Group, an external interest intermediation panel. The backdrop to his appointment is that historically the IGIS has been a hollow agency posing as an institutional check on the agencies it is statutorily charged […]

Analytic Brief: Influence Operations, Targeted Interventions and Intelligence Gathering: A Primer.

Written by Paul Buchanan on Saturday, September 23rd, 2017

Revelations of Chinese influence operations in Australia and New Zealand, and the ongoing sequels to the Russian “interference” in the 2016 US election, have caused outcry and concern amongst policy-makers and public alike. Beyond the xenophobic aspects to fears of the spectre of a “Yellow Peril” emerging in the Antipodes (a fear that we do […]

Political Risk and Sustainable Enterprise.

Written by Paul Buchanan on Thursday, March 31st, 2016

Boomslang canopy walkway, Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, Cape Town, South Africa.   The terms “political risk” and “sustainable enterprise” are not often associated. They should be. The degree of sustainability of an enterprise has direct and long- term cultural, economic, social and political ramifications for the communities in which it is located. The less sustainable the […]

Analytic Brief: Fiji’s strategic pivot.

Written by Paul Buchanan on Wednesday, January 27th, 2016

  Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov meets with Fijian Prime Minister Voreque “Frank” Bainimarama. Source: Fiji Ministry of Foreign Affairs Last week Fiji took delivery of a shipment of Russian weapons that were “donated” by Russia pursuant to a bilateral Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed in February 2015. The Fijians say that the weapons are […]

Country Risk Assessment: New Caledonia.

Written by Paul Buchanan on Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

    Political risk assessments are an under appreciated aspect of the due diligence undertaken as part of the process of engaging in cultural, diplomatic or economic exchanges in foreign locations. Most political risk analysis, including country risk assessments, are done by large credit rating agencies and insurance underwriters. Some nations provide country risk assessments […]

Analytic Brief: Could Fiji emulate Singapore?

Written by Paul Buchanan on Friday, September 26th, 2014

 Fiji Government Buildings, Suva. Photo: Stemoc via Wikimedia Commons.   Fiji represents the latest iteration of a “top-down” transition from authoritarian to elected civilian rule. “Top down” regime transitions are those where the outgoing authoritarian regime controls the process by which elected government is installed, including the timing and terms of elections. The process is […]

Analytic Brief: Transitional Dilemmas.

Written by Paul Buchanan on Sunday, March 16th, 2014

Analytic Brief: Transitional Dilemmas. Paul G. Buchanan Military handover to first constitutional government, Lesotho, June 6 2012. Photo: UN Development Program. Transitions from military-bureaucratic rule have been a salient characteristic of contemporary political dynamics. The desire to return to the barracks and seek legitimation push military-bureaucratic authoritarians towards holding elections as a means of devolving […]

Managing Political Expectations.

Written by Paul Buchanan on Thursday, July 18th, 2013

Monthly Analysis: Managing Political Expectations. Paul G. Buchanan “Niccolo Machiavelli (nello studio)” 1884 oil on canvas. Stefano Ussi (1822-1901). Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna, Rome. One of the less scrutinized aspects of politics is the issue of managing political expectations. Except in the most hardened dictatorships, regime and governmental stability rests on popular support. That support […]

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