With Incline we aim to create a thoughtful digital platform that puts international issues in a New Zealand context. As scholars of international relations and strategic studies we have long felt there is insufficient commentary on the issues that should matter to New Zealand as it charts its way in the world. In particular, while there are many excellent offshore blogs, there are too few discussion pieces that put a New Zealand spin on developments in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond.
We hope Incline will help fill that gap. We see it as a blog that will feature work by two main sets of informed commentators, all with an interest in the issues that matter to New Zealand and in issues in which New Zealand views need to be prominent.
The first set of commentators are established scholars and writers, both in New Zealand and overseas. The blog’s home is Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand’s capital city, but we plan to reach out to experts we know at home and abroad to bring lively opinion from people who know their areas well. We also want to give scholars the chance to share their academic work with a wider audience.
The second group are emerging researchers who wish to develop careers around the regional and international issues that matter to New Zealand. Here, with the help of the two Managing Editors, Benedict Xu-Holland and Cassandra Shih, we will be seeking views from postgraduate students and others who are developing expertise on specific foreign policy, security, trade and development issues.
Incline may not be able to match the amount of content produced by well-funded overseas blogs, but we plan to compete on quality. Our initial idea is to feature at least one new post each week and make each of these count. We don’t have a particular political or ideological line to push and we welcome high quality debate. We look forward to offering a variety of perspectives on a wide range of subjects.
Why choose Incline for a title? There are three main reasons. The first is an allusion to Wellington’s steep topography. Everything here, including the Kelburn Campus of the university where we work, is on some sort of gradient. The second is about debates that should matter to New Zealand. We are often struck by how challenging it can be to raise attention levels on some of the bigger international developments that seem to pass the New Zealand discussion by. So Incline refers rather cheekily to the slightly uphill challenge it can be to generate the debate so needed in New Zealand. The third is a bad but hopeful pun. We hope that as readers you will be inclined to follow the blog and that very good writers will be inclined to produce material for it.
So it is a pleasure for us to get this new blog going as the southern autumn of 2015 gets underway. And we thank Benedict and Cassandra for all the work they have put into Incline already.