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Flickr/Michele Hayslett
Polar bear sighted near Churchill, Manitoba, Canada
Flickr/Michele Hayslett

The international system is changing rapidly. Economic and strategic power is moving eastward; the hierarchy of states is being reshuffled; regimes of long standing, especially in the Middle East, are falling; influential new non-state actors are emerging, from al-Qaeda to WikiLeaks; and issues such as climate change and migration are climbing the international agenda. These changes are disruptive for old powers and old institutions such as the United Nations. On the other hand, the United States is proving more resilient than its doubters claim, even as the world becomes more multipolar.

The Lowy Institute watches these developments and examines what they mean for Australia – a middle power with regional and global interests, a US ally, and a candidate for the membership of the UN Security Council.