Category Archives: Defence/Security

ALISON BROINOWSKI. If Australia has switched enemies in Syria, who and why are we fighting?

If Australia has switched enemies in Syria, as our allies apparently have done, the Turnbull Government owes us at least an explanation about who and why we are fighting. 

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JAMES O’NEILL. Ukraine, Crimea and the push for war.

Instead of recognizing the historical and geopolitical realities, including that Ukraine is now a failed state ruled by neo-fascists, Western governments continue to parrot the tired cliché that the Russians are to blame.  Upon such fatal ignorance are wars often … Continue reading

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CHRISTIAN DOWNIE. The security threat from climate change

The Turnbull Government’s decision to continue to back coal is not just bad economics, it also makes no sense from a national security perspective as the worsening impacts of climate change threaten international stability.  

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RAMESH THAKUR. Will Donald Trump’s persona destroy his administration?

Donald Trump swept through the primary and election campaigns like a disruptive force of nature to a victory that unsettled almost all conventional wisdom about modern American politics. A shocked Democratic Party and city-based cultural elites are still in denial … Continue reading

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MICHAEL McKINLEY. Trump, Australia, Iran, and a Question For Australia

For all of the radical change promised by Donald Trump when he was campaigning, at least one area of continuity is abundantly clear: the preoccupation with, and a distorted understanding of Islam in general and Iran in particular. His appointment … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. Conservatives set the rules but they keep breaking them.

Many people around the world are concluding that the system is rigged in favour of powerful insiders who bend the rules. The populists – Trump, Farage, Le Pen and Hanson are adept at tapping into that disempowerment and the sense … Continue reading

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JAMES O’NEILL. Just whose news is fake?

The term “fake news” has gained a certain currency in recent months, perhaps reaching its apogee with the Washington Post’s notorious list of alleged fake news sites.  

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ALISON BROINOWSKI. The pact of silence.

The death of Dr David Kelly in 2003 has not been explained to the satisfaction of everyone in Britain. Investigations suggest the Government of Tony Blair still has questions to answer.  

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DENNIS ARGALL. The complexity of saying no to the Americans.

The degree of ‘interoperability’ with US forces shapes the minds of Australian service personnel from top to bottom as also it shapes procurement planning and justification. … Any review by us of the Alliance relationship would run-up against a deep history. … Continue reading

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TONY KEVIN. Trump, Putin and the priming of the impeachment trigger.

A game plan is now evident for the possible expulsion of Donald Trump from the US presidency by impeachment, unless he toes the line of Washington’s established bipartisan national security agenda. Putinophobia is central to this dark Shakespearean drama. Trump … Continue reading

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DENNIS ARGALL   Korea, China, US and Trump  

It has not helped that senior military people have been inclined to simply call the North Koreans crazy, any more than it helps now to simply call Trump crazy. 

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RICHARD BUTLER. Australia and the US: Truth Time.  

There is an extraordinary amount of deception and lying around current US policy. The Republican establishment will need to work out where it stands on Trump’s agenda. This is precisely the time for truthful discourse in Australia about our relationship … Continue reading

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RICHARD WOOLCOTT. A foreign policy for Australia.

Our Prime Minister and Foreign Minister often refer to the “rules based world order.” This “order”, of course, was established primarily by the United States after the end of World War 2.   The “rules” have been disregarded by the US itself when it … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. Military/Security takeover of Australia’s foreign policy.

This is a repost of an earlier article. The military and defence establishment and lobbies, both in Australia and the US are determining Australia’s foreign policy. The Minister for Foreign Affairs and her Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade are … Continue reading

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ROBERT MANNE. The Muscovian candidate? Donald Trump and Russia.

This article was first published by The Monthly in December 2016. To uncover the truth about the relations between Trump and Russia, therefore now requires not only painstaking investigation but, even more, political courage from members of the Republican Party … Continue reading

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WALTER HAMILTON. Bad hombres.

Donald J. Trump likes to sound off about ‘bad hombres’ sneaking into the United States to spread terror and crime. Bad hombres come in many shapes and disguises, not only as bad people but also bad ideas.  

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JAMES O’NEILL. ‘One belt one road’ (OBOR) – a new geopolitical paradigm.

The scale of the projects (OBOR) is astonishing. As of July 2016 China had more than 900 contracts in place or under negotiation with a propose investment value of over $900 billion dollars. This was in addition to a separate … Continue reading

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JOHN TULLOH. The simplistic naivete of Donald Trump

 We certainly live in far more interesting, if not astonishing, news times now that a Manhattan real estate developer occupies the White House. We wake up each day wondering what was the latest personal whim Donald Trump chose to exercise … Continue reading

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TIM LINDSEY. Indonesia’s inconvenient truths.

 Concerns regarding Australian military teaching materials and remarks uncovered late last year have placed strain on relations with Indonesia. The strange affair of our on-again-off-again defence cooperation arrangements with Indonesia continues to confuse most observers.  

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RICHARD BUTLER. Trump: A Sideshow?

It is not only Trump that has assumed power in the US but also a set of deeply ideological and introverted Republicans. Both will shape US policy and actions. Australia should now review the conduct of its relationship with the … Continue reading

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WALTER HAMILTON. Rush for the exits

When Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe earlier this month stood alongside Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull near The Gap––once Sydney’s favourite suicide spot––they presented themselves as brothers-in-arms for multilateral free trade. How quickly things can change.  

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Karl Rove’s Prophecy.

The neocons stayed put in the State Department and other positions closely linked to the Obama White House, where they became allies with the liberal hawks in continuing ‘spreading democracy’ by overthrowing regimes. America’s mainstream news and opinion purveyors, without … Continue reading

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MACK WILLIAMS. South China Sea: China taps in the last nail!

It is now clear for all to see that the only potential US “ally” for any US confrontation in the region could be Australia. China has successfully wedged the ASEAN’s in through their common concern that it would be them … Continue reading

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RICHARD BUTLER. Trump and Nuclear Weapons

Trump’s stance on nuclear weapons is ignorant, inconsistent, confused. What he has proposed on nuclear arms control and proliferation will not be accepted. His latest offer to the Russians has no chance of serious consideration.  

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JAMES O’NEILL. More alarm bells ring for Australia in the South China Sea.

President-elect Trump’s nominee for Secretary of state had his confirmation hearings in Washington last week. A number of his reported statements should have raised alarm among Australian politicians and foreign affairs bureaucrats. With the exception of former Prime Minister Paul … Continue reading

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WALTER HAMILTON. Rex Tillerson and Australia’s national interest

President-elect Donald Trump’s Cabinet picks are being cross-examined in public for the first time. Here begins the real business of assessing how a Trump administration might behave––in more than 140 characters. The indications so far suggest the need for an … Continue reading

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TONY KEVIN. The Rex Tillerson confirmation hearings, and wider issues

Rex Tillerson, Donald Trump’s nominee for Secretary of State and Trump’s best Cabinet choice so far, will probably survive his gruelling full day of confirmation hearings by the US Senate Foreign Affairs Committee last Wednesday 11 January (Washington time).  

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ANDREW FARRAN. Molan v. Woolcott: The rough and the smooth in regional diplomacy

Molan writes that this sensitive touch in relations with Indonesia is reflected in a long tradition of Australian diplomats putting Indonesia’s interests and the views of Indonesians ahead of our own. Indeed he implies that but for geography Indonesia would … Continue reading

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The strange career of American exceptionalism.

In this article in The Nation, George Grandin of New York University comments  ‘Obama’s recomposition of American exceptionalism was tactically successful, at least as measured by his 2012 reelection, which expanded the multiracial and cross-class coalition that had given him … Continue reading

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RAMESH THAKUR. Syria and the Hippocratic principle: first do no harm

Western interference has worsened the pathology of broken, corrupt and dysfunctional politics across the region from Afghanistan to North Africa.  

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