The CSS Blog Network

Take-Your-Kid-To-Work Week

Portraits of Hosni Mubarak and Kim Yong Il

Hosni Mubarak and Kim Yong-Il, courtesy of efouché/una vita a 12 volt/flickr

Do you get to bring your offspring to work once a year? Will that inspire them to follow in your footsteps or do they simply enjoy playing with office supplies and promotional freebies?

The world has seen two very inspiring dads in the past week. Hosni Mubarak and Kim Jong-Il have touchingly taken their sons along on their business trips.

Gamal Mubarak got a taste of one of Egypt’s main diplomatic conundrums: Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. Let’s hope that he made a good impression in Washington – he seems pretty serious about taking over his dad’s job.

Reports from South Korea signal that Kim Jong-Un has also probably been getting a little field training with his dad. Speculations that Kim Jong-Il introduced him to the Chinese president last Friday have been making the rounds.

Both authoritarian leaders’ health is ailing, but as professional statesmen they are making sure that the succession will be smooth.

Jean Sarkozy must be so jealous. But don’t worry, good old democracies offer hereditary career possibilities, too. Just ask Uncle George for advice.

The Politics of Video Games

Taliban versus Tetris, courtesy of daveesa/flickr/Wiki Commons

A video game recently created a big stir. Medal of Honor 8 allows you to play the role of a Taliban in Afghanistan and to fight against ISAF forces and the US Army. To their defense, the creators are saying that in any video game you should be able to play the role of the good guy and the bad guy. For example, in all World War II video games, you can to play the role of a German soldier.

Some are saying that Afghanistan is “too fresh” to allow people to play the role of a Taliban, and after all, Electronic Arts, the creator of the game, is part of the “western camp” and should support the “western cause” in its video games. In other words, they should have created a new America’s Army, the official video game of the US Army, with a real-life sign-up process built into the game’s menu.

The US Army, of course, is not the only entity that uses video games to promote itself.

Some political organization, like Hamas, have produced their own video game where you have to make your way through refugee camps and shoot at Israeli soldiers.

But video games are also not new to the world of politics and conflict.

» More

Australia’s Regional Reach

An Aussie Icon, photo courtesy of: digitalreflections/flickr

Although it has a booming economy and holds a strategic position in the Asia-Pacific, Australia is often overlooked as a regional powerhouse. As geopolitical power shifts East, Australia’s foreign policy posture will become more prominent and the pressures to get policy right will grow. This week the ISN takes a closer look at Australia.

The Special Report contains the following content:

  • An Analysis by Fergus Hanson that examines the strategically important but still weak Australia-Indonesia relationship.
  • A Podcast with Andrew Shearer of the Lowy Institute in Sydney on the challenges and opportunities that Australia faces as China and India rise.
  • Security Watch stories on the recent elections in Australia, as well as the US-Indonesia-Australia triangle and Obama’s postponed visit.
  • Publications, housed in our Digital Library, including a Lowy Institute paper on Australian investment in China and a paper on US-Australian Civilian Nuclear Cooperation by the Congressional Research Service.
  • Primary Resources, including a report on the Northern Territory Emergency Response in Australia.
  • Links to relevant websites, including Australia’s Defence White Paper from 2009.
  • Our IR Directory featuring relevant organizations, including the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.
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