Nicholas Ross Smith

Nicholas Ross Smith

Nicholas Ross Smith is an adjunct fellow at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand.

Latest from Nicholas Ross Smith

Opinion | The Ukraine-Russia crisis is no longer the US’ problem in a world of rising regional powers

While US-Russia talks on Ukraine may ease fears of a Russian invasion, the two sides fundamentally disagree on how security should be managed in the region. As the world moves away from a US-dominated power structure, perhaps Washington should let Europe take care of itself.

While US-Russia talks on Ukraine may ease fears of a Russian invasion, the two sides fundamentally disagree on how security should be managed in the region. As the world moves away from a US-dominated power structure, perhaps Washington should let Europe take care of itself.

7 Jan 2022 - 5:41AM
Opinion | US and China at war? Why Thucydides Trap or Cold War analogies are deeply unhelpful

The emergence of new technologies, including in nuclear weaponry, and cyberspace has changed international relations and rendered the analogies meaningless. Instead, treating the Sino-American relationship as a complex but unique relationship would enable a more positive focus and downsize the negativity dominating discourse.

The emergence of new technologies, including in nuclear weaponry, and cyberspace has changed international relations and rendered the analogies meaningless. Instead, treating the Sino-American relationship as a complex but unique relationship would enable a more positive focus and downsize the negativity dominating discourse.

10 Dec 2021 - 3:30AM
Opinion | Could New Zealand champion a new non-aligned movement to avoid US-China cold war?

US-China tensions are leading several Indo-Pacific countries to seek a third alternative to a great power struggle. Malaysia and Indonesia are obvious candidates to lead such a movement, but New Zealand could be a dark horse given its independent foreign policy.

US-China tensions are leading several Indo-Pacific countries to seek a third alternative to a great power struggle. Malaysia and Indonesia are obvious candidates to lead such a movement, but New Zealand could be a dark horse given its independent foreign policy.

8 Nov 2021 - 3:30AM
Opinion | US-China rivalry and the danger of using history to justify moral right

Both the US and China use history such as the Cold War and the Eight-Nation Alliance to bolster their positions and criticise the other side. The risk is that Washington could end up feeding Beijing’s narrative of Western imperialism, narrowing the scope for de-escalation.

Both the US and China use history such as the Cold War and the Eight-Nation Alliance to bolster their positions and criticise the other side. The risk is that Washington could end up feeding Beijing’s narrative of Western imperialism, narrowing the scope for de-escalation.

2 Oct 2021 - 3:30AM
Opinion | US humiliation in Afghanistan does not guarantee China superpower status

China’s response to the US leaving Afghanistan will be of key interest to those forecasting the shape of international politics. While pragmatism will protect China from hubris and overreach, its lack of soft power will curb its ability to dictate world events.

China’s response to the US leaving Afghanistan will be of key interest to those forecasting the shape of international politics. While pragmatism will protect China from hubris and overreach, its lack of soft power will curb its ability to dictate world events.

10 Sep 2021 - 5:29AM
Opinion | China needs better friends than the Taliban to make the most of its rise to power

China has to be able to forge friendships with more powerful countries that share its vision of international politics. It can find common ground to build relationships, but it struggles to generate the critical mass needed to turn them into friendships that matter.

China has to be able to forge friendships with more powerful countries that share its vision of international politics. It can find common ground to build relationships, but it struggles to generate the critical mass needed to turn them into friendships that matter.

16 Jul 2021 - 1:51AM
Opinion | How China’s treatment of international students hurts its public diplomacy

International students remain barred from returning to China, and some are venting their frustration on Twitter. China’s inability to control user responses is undermining its social media messaging and the reputation of its higher education sector.

International students remain barred from returning to China, and some are venting their frustration on Twitter. China’s inability to control user responses is undermining its social media messaging and the reputation of its higher education sector.

17 Jun 2021 - 1:51AM
Opinion | How Belarus’ brazen plane diversion reflects the EU’s struggle to act as a global power

If the EU is to shake off its ‘hobbled giant’ image, it must act more consistently on major foreign policy issues such as relations with China. The swift retaliation against Belarus does offer an opportunity – if it can maintain a united front.

If the EU is to shake off its ‘hobbled giant’ image, it must act more consistently on major foreign policy issues such as relations with China. The swift retaliation against Belarus does offer an opportunity – if it can maintain a united front.

28 May 2021 - 3:28AM
Opinion | US’ distorted view of the China threat risks creating a cold war nightmare

China is no innocent bystander and many of its actions deserve a strong international response. But distorting the China threat could lead to policies that unleash another damaging cold war.

China is no innocent bystander and many of its actions deserve a strong international response. But distorting the China threat could lead to policies that unleash another damaging cold war.

22 Apr 2021 - 4:59AM
Opinion | How Britain’s CGTN ban shows Western insecurity over China’s rise

Cold War parallels are imperfect, but one area where significant competition between China and the West already exists and could spiral out of control is the battle to assert the ‘truth’.

Cold War parallels are imperfect, but one area where significant competition between China and the West already exists and could spiral out of control is the battle to assert the ‘truth’.

16 Feb 2021 - 7:04AM
Opinion | Hedging on China’s rise: Australia and New Zealand offer lessons on the benefits and pitfalls

A New Zealand minister’s advice to Australia on dealing with Beijing may be impolitic, but it lays bare the challenges of small nations caught in the US-China competition for influence in the Indo-Pacific region.

A New Zealand minister’s advice to Australia on dealing with Beijing may be impolitic, but it lays bare the challenges of small nations caught in the US-China competition for influence in the Indo-Pacific region.

4 Mar 2021 - 11:05AM
Opinion | Why China’s dreams of global leadership are fading fast

China projects a narrative of being a benevolent and empathetic global leader but, domestically, the narratives coalesce more around nationalist assertions of China as a growing international power. Reconciling this ‘two-level game’ at the heart of its foreign policy is vital.

China projects a narrative of being a benevolent and empathetic global leader but, domestically, the narratives coalesce more around nationalist assertions of China as a growing international power. Reconciling this ‘two-level game’ at the heart of its foreign policy is vital.

12 Oct 2020 - 1:45AM
Opinion | Beginning of the end? Reject the politics of fear and embrace hope and cooperation instead

Buying into the doomsday narratives on Covid-19, climate change, civil wars or humanitarian crises only breeds fatalism and authoritarianism, when what the world needs is creative solutions and global cooperation.

Buying into the doomsday narratives on Covid-19, climate change, civil wars or humanitarian crises only breeds fatalism and authoritarianism, when what the world needs is creative solutions and global cooperation.

5 Mar 2020 - 9:20AM
Opinion | Putin’s reforms may be more about legacy building than power grabbing as he looks at retirement, Deng Xiaoping-style

After 20 years, Putin may be looking to protect his legacy by negotiating a controlled power handover in Russia, retiring from day-to-day administration while keeping a firm hand on policy direction as Russia’s father figure – much as China’s Deng Xiaoping did.

After 20 years, Putin may be looking to protect his legacy by negotiating a controlled power handover in Russia, retiring from day-to-day administration while keeping a firm hand on policy direction as Russia’s father figure – much as China’s Deng Xiaoping did.

27 Jan 2020 - 9:33AM
Opinion | China cannot just rely on its economic might to silence the growing army of critics

From the Hong Kong protests to the treatment of Uygurs in Xinjiang, China’s international image has seen severely dented this year. It must work to repair the damage through persuasion and co-option, not just by leaning on its economic stature.

From the Hong Kong protests to the treatment of Uygurs in Xinjiang, China’s international image has seen severely dented this year. It must work to repair the damage through persuasion and co-option, not just by leaning on its economic stature.

27 Dec 2019 - 9:30AM
Opinion | Hong Kong’s protests present Beijing with a no-win situation. Will it choose the path where it loses the least?

Being dependent on international goodwill to maintain trade, it’s in the central government’s interests to handle Hong Kong with patience. Having stoked nationalism, however, Beijing may be tempted to deal with the protests decisively.

Being dependent on international goodwill to maintain trade, it’s in the central government’s interests to handle Hong Kong with patience. Having stoked nationalism, however, Beijing may be tempted to deal with the protests decisively.

22 Nov 2019 - 10:03AM
Opinion | If Beijing is considering deploying the PLA in Hong Kong, it should heed the legacy of the Hungarian Revolution and act with care

In 1956 the Soviet Union forcefully quelled dissent in Hungary, and consequently lost moral standing in the cold war. China should remember this and consider what PLA intervention in Hong Kong would mean for its ‘peaceful rise’ narrative.

In 1956 the Soviet Union forcefully quelled dissent in Hungary, and consequently lost moral standing in the cold war. China should remember this and consider what PLA intervention in Hong Kong would mean for its ‘peaceful rise’ narrative.

8 Aug 2019 - 6:11AM
Opinion | After the Mueller report, it’s clear Putin and Russia aren’t the cause of Western democracy’s problems

It has become fashionable to blame Russian interference for cases in which democracy seems to have gone awry – from Brexit to Donald Trump’s presidency. The trouble, however, lies more with electoral democracy.

It has become fashionable to blame Russian interference for cases in which democracy seems to have gone awry – from Brexit to Donald Trump’s presidency. The trouble, however, lies more with electoral democracy.

26 Mar 2019 - 2:59AM
Opinion | China’s soft-power play: what will it take to get it just right and hit the Goldilocks zone?

After years of trying to win friends and gain influence through its outreach programmes, Beijing has run into a wall. The reason is twofold: China must improve its art of persuasion, and the West it seeks to impress must be willing to come to the party.

After years of trying to win friends and gain influence through its outreach programmes, Beijing has run into a wall. The reason is twofold: China must improve its art of persuasion, and the West it seeks to impress must be willing to come to the party.

16 Jan 2019 - 8:50AM
How China can tax its way out of a housing bubble: just read Sun Yat-sen and study Singapore

There is an answer to Beijing’s property bubble conundrum: either a single tax on land value that Sun argued for, or a pragmatic land tenure system that Singapore has adopted.

There is an answer to Beijing’s property bubble conundrum: either a single tax on land value that Sun argued for, or a pragmatic land tenure system that Singapore has adopted.

19 Oct 2018 - 7:10AM