Notes on America - The United States Studies Centre - at the University of Sydney
  22 February 2012
 
 
Unconventional gas production and water: US lessons
The challenges posed for water resources in the production of shale and coal seam gas will be explored at special US Studies Centre-sponsored seminars in Brisbane and Canberra next week.

Three US specialists from business and industry will address the afternoon seminars "Unconventional gas production and water resources: lessons from the US on better governance," which the Centre will co-host with the ANU and the CSIRO.

With the support of the Centre’s Climate, Energy and Water nexus project, University of Texas research scientist Dr Ian Duncan, Southwestern Energy executive vice president and general counsel Mark Boling, and American NGO Environmental Defense Fund policy advisor Scott Anderson will share the lessons they have learnt about management and regulation of the still controversial energy source to ensure water resource conservation. They will be joined by representatives of the Queensland Government and the CSIRO.
 
 
Washington intern on Bo Obama, briefings and CPAC 2012
US Studies Centre Masters student, Rebecca Armitage is putting study into practice this week, as head intern working on a US congressional briefing about foreign journalists in Russia.

It’s the climax of an 8-week Uni-Capitol Washington Internship Program, during which Armitage has been in the Capitol Hill offices of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe. Since the beginning of the year she has been working with the bipartisan commission on a range of issues including the plight of Roma people and missing persons. Despite having the likes of Queen Noor of Jordan attend hearings and passing the likes of Janet Napolitano and Tim Geithner on the Washington DC streets, her most interesting experience so far has been running into Bo Obama in the White House after his morning walk. “I was a bit star struck to pat him,” she says. And her Beltway insight for November? After keeping her ear to the ground among the political staffers in the city's offices and bars, and attending the Conservative Political Action Conference earlier this month, Rebecca says Romney will be the nominee but Obama will win the election.
  
 
 
Postdoc Profile: Constitutional compromise
The negotiation and compromise that occurred during the Constitutional Convention more than 200 years ago, continues to have repercussions in modern US political debate, says Centre postdoctoral fellow, Dr Shawn Treier.

Treier is using his research into the framing of the US Constitution in the summer of 1787 for a book co-authored with Jeremy Pope. Far from a united voice, Treier says the founding fathers were deeply divided over many issues and some of those divisions still exist today. “Particularly the debates over the role of the national government versus the states are very much alive,” says Treier in a video interview now online. “What would surprise people is they think that the framers had a particular view and they were actually as divided about it as we are.”
  
 
 
COMING UP
27 February & 1 March
Unconventional gas production and water resources: Lessons from the US on better governance.
Brisbane: 27 February
Canberra: 1 March
7 March
Super Tuesday: Join us on Wednesday 7 March to watch the results unfold on the most important day of the US primary calendar. There will be live US media coverage, followed by an expert panel discussion moderated by ABC NewsRadio host John Barron. The Super Tuesday excitement will kick on into the evening with a trivia competition and a keynote address by former Premier of NSW Bob Carr. Registrations for the trivia are essential. For more details visit the Election Watch website.
COMMENTARY
It’s a varied week for commentary, with topics ranging from Nixon’s legendary visit to China to the impact of modern Chinese leadership on the US/China relationship.

On the 40th anniversary of Richard Nixon’s visit to China, research assocate and editor of The Spectator, Australia, Tom Switzer writes in The Weekend Australian that despite his fiery public rhetoric, the then US President’s approach to China was already softening. “The American consensus to isolate communist China had collapsed by 1966, more than five years before Nixon’s visit.”

Switzer also refers to the anniversary of Nixon’s visit in an interview on ABC Radio Australia, in which he gives historical context to last week’s visit to the US by Chinese vice-president and presumptive leader, Xi Jinping.

Centre head, Professor Geoffrey Garrett also looks at the Xi Jinping visit in an interview for the Australia Network’s Newsline.

China came up again in an ABC Radio Australia interview by research associate and chief operating officer Dr Sean Gallagher in relation to education. Gallagher suggests Australian universities look to their US counterparts when trying to foster connections between East and West.

Meanwhile, in The Australian research associate and counter terrorism specialist Dr Leah Farrall writes about the recent merger between al Qai’da and the Somali militant group al-Shabab. Farrall says the move shows the continuing relevance of the group behind the September 11 terrorist attacks.
 
 
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