05 September 2008

The National Interest, Strategic Non-violence, and the Independence of East Timor

21 August 2008 Dr Clinton Fernandes Senior Lecturer in Strategic Studies, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, UNSW, ADFA

Dr Fernandes provides a critical evaluation of what is often portrayed as a noble moment in Australia's history of overseas interventions. He shows that a series of Australian strategists and policymakers had argued that Australia's national interest required it to support the Indonesian occupation of East Timor.

He shows how this conception of the national interest was challenged by a coalition of activists who maintained a long-running campaign of non-violent opposition to official policy. He demonstrates that Australian policymakers were compelled to send in a peacekeeping force in 1999 under the pressure of a tidal wave of public outrage.

This outrage did not arise spontaneously; rather, it was the result of a conscious process of strategic non-violent action by a transnational coalition of activists. He concludes with lessons and implications for the future. Podcast...

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