Category Archives: Defence/Security

GEOFF MILLER. Korea: Missiles or exercises or both?

  Despite President Trump’s latest supercilious Tweet, North Korea may still seek to make the cancellation of exercise Ulchi-Freedom Guardian the price of not firing its missiles into waters near Guam. 

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JOHN McCARTHY. The West needs to talk about Russia.

The place Russia occupies in the political maelstrom in Washington, the recent sanctions bills in Congress and Putin’s cuts to the American diplomatic presence in Russia are driving the US’s relationship—and hence the West’s relationship—with Russia from bad to worse.  … Continue reading

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MARK BEESON. The unconventional wisdom

When it comes to military matters, there is – forgive the pun – a remarkable uniformity of opinion. Sensible and serious observers agree that not only is the ANZUS alliance the indispensable bedrock of national security, but Australian policymakers would … Continue reading

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ALISON BROINOWSKI. Existential threats

In a sequence of events that recall the Cuban missile crisis, the world has again come within a brain-snap of nuclear destruction. This is the moment Australia should have been ready to deal with properly and democratically, by having a … Continue reading

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GREG LOCKHART. An old imperial reflex

Rawdon Dalrymple’s 4 August blog ‘A personal link to World War One’ presents us with an automatic defence of the old imperial order.  

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GRAHAM FREUDENBERG. Malcolm Turnbull’s response to the Korean crisis has been contemptible. 

In his grovelling ‘hip to hip’ statement on 10 August, he served up to the Australian people an utterly false and misleading version of the ANZUS Treaty and its meaning. 

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JAMES O’NEILL. Australia and North Korea: Dangerous Illusions Place Australia at Risk

The war of words between North Korea and the United states reached new heights last week.  US President trump pledged to meet any further threats by North Korea to the US “with fire and fury like the world has never … Continue reading

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RICHARD BUTLER. Turnbull’s Appalling Statement

Australia is not compelled to accompany the US in a war on North Korea, as PM Turnbull has asserted. His recent statement would seem to reflect his need to distract attention from the serious disputes within his government. That it … Continue reading

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JIM COOMBS. “Just good business” or gun-running.

The “Neo-liberal” language speaks of arms sales as just good business, notwithstanding the concomitant death and destruction.

Posted in Defence/Security, Economy, Foreign Affairs | 3 Comments

RAMESH THAKUR. From the Nuclear Non-proliferation to the UN Prohibition Treaty

There are currently no negotiations or discussions on arms control being conducted at all between any of the countries that possess nuclear weapons (China, France, India, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, UK, USA)

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RICHARD BUTLER. The Myths of Australian Foreign Policy. (Reposted from 31 March 2017)

The review of Australian foreign policy needs to be freed from the myths of our dependency and take serious account of the current and likely state of US foreign and military policy.  

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RICHARD BUTLER. Trump: A Sideshow? (This is a repost from 27 January 2017)

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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JOHN MENADUE. Conservatives set the rules but they keep breaking them. (Repost from 7 February 2017)

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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ANDREW FARRAN. Afghanistan in the wake of the Pakistan Prime Minister’s dismissal

President Trump must decide soon whether the US should remain in a holding pattern in Afghanistan. As Trump has little personal skin in the war to this point he may decide that enough is enough leaving everyone to ponder what … Continue reading

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ALISON BROINOWSKI. Still losing the last Afghan war.

President Trump’s many current distractions did not prevent him telling his military advisers the simple truth about Afghanistan on 19 July: ‘We aren’t winning.  We are losing.’

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How Trump is trashing the US Department of State.

In the New York Times International Edition of 29 July 2017, Roger Cohen writes – Why is Trump hollowing out the State Department?  Is it punishment for Hillary Clinton’s department? Or an extreme iteration of the “deconstruction of the administrative state” … Continue reading

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DOUGLAS NEWTON. The Centenary of the Third Battle of Ypres

On 31 July 1917, one hundred years ago, Britain launched the Third Battle of Ypres on the Western Front. It would climax in the Battle of Passchendaele in November. During this centenary, will the Australian people be showered with stories … Continue reading

Posted in ANZAC, Australia and Asia, Defence/Security, Foreign Affairs | 6 Comments

RICHARD BROINOWSKI. Sabre rattling off the Queensland coast.

Exercise Talisman Sabre does not address any of Australia’s main security concerns and sends the wrong messages to Australia’s neighbours. It contributes towards locking Australia into America’s wars, no matter how irrelevant to Australia’s own interests.

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HANS J OHFF. Horse for Courses: Nuclear and Diesel-Electric Submarines

Arguing for a review into nuclear-powered submarines former PM Abbott laments that ‘the RAN will take delivery of a class that will have less power, less range, less speed and less capability … and that it will come into service … Continue reading

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SPENCER ZIFCAK. What’s Wrong with Peter Dutton’s New Super Ministry? The Preparation, the Institution, and the Politician Perhaps?

Peter Dutton is to be given a fiefdom – the new, massive Department of Home Affairs. Peta Credlin responded immediately by saying that the creation of the new department had the ‘stink of a prime minister who’s under pressure and … Continue reading

Posted in Current affairs, Defence/Security, Human Rights | 1 Comment

GREG LOCKHART. What were we fighting for at Gallipoli, in Palestine and on the Western Front? (Part 5 of 5)

Part 5: Narrative Overview and Conclusion  The emphasis in our military history and remembrance on asking how we fought does not inherently preclude an interest in what we were fighting for. The two narratives could co-exist and interact. But not … Continue reading

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TED TRAINER. Terrorism and Our Empire: Some Neglected Questions.

There is a very strong tendency to avoid asking some key questions about terrorism, thereby maintaining various myths and delusions that prevent a number of unpleasant realities from being faced up to.

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BEN NEWELL, CHRIS DONKIN, DAN NAVARRO. worried about shark attacks or terrorism? (Repost from 21 April 2017)

The world can feel like a scary place.  Today, Australia’s National Terrorism Threat Level is “Probable”. Shark attacks are on the rise; the number of people attacked by sharks in 2000-2009 has almost doubled since 1990-1999. Travellers are at a … Continue reading

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GREG LOCKHART. What were we fighting for at Gallipoli, in Palestine and on the Western Front? (Part 4 of 5)

Part 4. A race strategy to save ‘White Australia’  Political manipulation of the society’s racially inflected anxieties was a major factor in the imperial ascendency over national defence policy in the Commonwealth in 1911. The secret implementation of a race … Continue reading

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TONY SMITH. The ‘Masked’ Man on Horseback.

When Prime Minister Turnbull announced changes to the way Australia’s security is conducted, he was accompanied by a member of the military. There is nothing unusual about that – except that the soldier was masked. The Prime Minister seemed to … Continue reading

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MACK WILLIAMS. Talisman Sabre just confuses strategic thinking for Australia

The recent joint US:Australian Talisman Sabre joint military exercise has added further confusion to  the challenge of determining sensible Australian strategic thinking. US talk of a joint expeditionary force to combat IS terrorism in SE Asia camouflages an attempt by … Continue reading

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IAN MCAULEY. Dutton’s new super ministry: will it make us safer?

The Government’s proposed “Home Affairs” mega ministry, if it concentrates resources and public attention on Islamic terrorism, could make us less safe from other threats to our public safety.

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JOHN MENADUE. Malcolm Turnbull – Mr. 300%. (Repost from 18 November 2016)

Malcolm Turnbull has announced a submarine building program that has an effective rate of protection of 300%. Yes 300%. That is the additional cost we will pay compared with buying at best price in the international market.  

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GREG LOCKHART. What were we fighting for at Gallipoli, in Palestine and on the Western Front? (Part 3 of 5)

Part 3. Empire over nation.  In 1914-18, the fight for Empire against Asia minimised independent Australian national interests. Ambiguous, interchangeable use of the terms ‘empire’ and ‘nation’ also protected that ‘imperial’ bias in our political culture. 

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GREG LOCKHART. What were we fighting for at Gallipoli, in Palestine and on the Western Front? (Part 2 of 5)

Part 2. Empire against Asia The ‘imperial’ nature of Australia’s involvement in the Great War was distinctively Australian and, it should be said, a sign of the doubt white settler society had about its survival as a remote outpost of … Continue reading

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