7 October 2016

Each fortnight on the Policy File we round-up some essential weekend policy reading from around the web. This week we look at rising tensions between India and Pakistan, the final months of Obama’s presidency, and the popularity of Duterte’s ‘war on drugs’.

Last week the Indian army launched strikes against militants in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, spiking tensions between the two nuclear-armed South Asian nations. At The Diplomat, Abhijit Singh writes that India’s decision to make a media spectacle of the strike could backfire. On Policy Forum, Ramesh Thakur takes a look at the strategic environment shaping the actions of India and Pakistan, and warns that there is a serious danger that both sides could become trapped in an escalation that crosses the nuclear threshold.

In the face of a shrinking and ageing population, the Japanese government is considering relaxing restrictions on foreign workers. On Policy Forum, Stephen R Nagy argues that immigration alone is not the answer to Japan’s demographic implosion. At Austaxpolicy, Chung Tran looks at the demographic challenges facing Australia, and analyses the efficacy of tax hikes and pension cuts as policy options to deal with an ageing population.

In the United States, presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump faced off in the first of three televised debates. At Al Jazeera, Hamid Dabashi argues that US voters face a choice between their legitimate fears of Trump and their critical judgement of Clinton. Meanwhile as US President Barack Obama approaches the end of his final term in office, Jonathan Chait at the New York Magazine interviews Obama about five moments during his political tenure that will have lasting impact.

In the wake of last month’s nuclear test by North Korea, China froze the assets of a company the US alleges has North Korean links. Donald Kirk explains why China’s cooperation on sanctions is more sham than substance, and argues China is afraid of pushing too hard against the Hermit Kingdom. On The National Interest, Doug Bandow looks at the recent floods affecting thousands of North Koreans, and argues that private charities are better positioned to help than foreign governments.

As Philippines’ President Rodrigo Duterte continues to court international controversy with his punitive ‘war on drugs’, Fabio Scarpello on New Mandala explains that local apathy towards the killings stems from a culture of violence in the country. On Policy Forum, Phidel Vineles questions whether Duterte can use his high domestic popularity to deliver the economic reform his country needs.

At The Guardian, Marta Ceroni reports on how a number of US states have started adopting the Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI) as a key economic metric. On Policy Forum Pod, experts Bob Costanza, Ida Kubiszewski and Ehsan Mahsood discuss the merits of GPI and other potential measures as a replacement to Gross Domestic Product, and why there is a growing hunger for change in the way countries measure societal progress.

A new World Bank report has shown that the world is making surprising progress in reducing extreme poverty. On Vox, Dylan Matthews explains how a large proportion of the reduction has occurred in East Asia, and why the next steps in poverty elimination will be much tougher. On DevPolicy Blog, Andrew Leigh and Claire Moore make the case for why international aid is so important, and why Australia needs to do more to live up to its own aid promises.

Want more for your weekend? You can catch up with our Policy Forum podcast series via iTunes, Stitcher, and Soundcloud. If you like what you hear, please give us a review on iTunes and help us get the word out.

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