Category Archives: Defence/Security

MIKE SCRAFTON. Defending against the sacrificial knight errant on an existential crusade

Hopefully the security agencies won’t simply default to the jihadist archetype in their response to the atrocity in Christchurch, as the media has. Distinguishing between motives of the perpetrators of such unpardonable acts and understanding the internal logic by which … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security | 3 Comments

JAMES O’NEILL. The Douma “chemical attack”: still waiting for an apology.

On 7 April 2018 an alleged chemical attack took place in the city of Douma in the Syrian Arab Republic. Dramatic footage of the “victims” was widely broadcast throughout the western mainstream media. Particularly prominent were images of children foaming … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, International Affairs | 15 Comments

MIKE SCRAFTON. Another American civil war?

The silhouette of yet another potential catastrophe is beginning to take shape. To add to the dissolution of the post war global order, global warming, mass species extinction, and great power conflict, there seems now the prospect of a post-Trump … Continue reading

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MACK WILLIAMS. Bolton’s Syria “Fix” ?

The international focus on the failed Hanoi Summit and affairs Korean has diverted attention from the looming issues in Syria as the IS caliphate ‘disappears’. Media commentary around the shrinking IS presence on the ground in Syria and the significant … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, International Affairs | 4 Comments

JOHN MENADUE. Some Coalition legacies that a new government must confront

There are several major issues that dominate public life today and require resolution. Those issues are –the growing existential  threat of climate change, the dire consequences following the Iraq invasion, tax cuts during the mining boom that result in continuing … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, Defence/Security, Economy, Environment and climate, International Affairs, NBN, Refugees, Immigration | 7 Comments

MIKE SCRAFTON. Morrison is not the man for the times

Last month Scott Morrison delivered ‘Our plan for keeping Australians safe and secure’ to the National Press Club. Not so much a headland speech as a report from the bookkeeper. Not FDR’s Four Freedoms address to Congress or Churchill’s Iron … Continue reading

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MIKE SCRAFTON. ASPI’s Agenda for change 2019

To pinch an epigram from former Air Force colleagues in Defence, ASPI’s ‘Agenda for change 2019: Strategic choices for the next government’ is a target rich environment. The contributors set out a smorgasbord of advice on strategic policy issues for … Continue reading

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PETER O’HARA. My Lunch with French Secret Service Agents Who Sank Rainbow Warrior.

Dateline: 1986 in the remote South Pacific. For thirty years French ‘atomic bombs’ were exploded in atoll islands of the Tuamotus archipelago in French Polynesia. I was Qantas area manager based in the capital Papeete. A dream job some would … Continue reading

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MIKE SCRAFTON. Facilitating repression, abandoning values.

Admirable as Senator De Natale’s persistence was in pressing Defence on the issues of military sales to Saudi Arabia, he pursued the wrong issue. Australia is, and will remain, a trivial player in the global arms market and the Yemeni … Continue reading

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MIKE SCRAFTON. The dangerous shibboleths of ‘strategists’

Some commentators on strategic policy seem to regard Australia’s national interests as close enough to immutable. That makes strategic policy a trivial and static matter.

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DUNCAN GRAHAM. Old soldiers don’t die – they just imagine

Historians and older Westerners know well what followed the 1933 events in Germany known as ‘the burning of the books.’ Few Indonesians are aware that the forceful Student Union campaign against literature which didn’t promote the ‘German spirit’, fomented fascism. They … Continue reading

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MACK WILLIAMS. The Second Trump:Kim Summit – Just another step along the way?

Amid all the media speculation feeding off Trump’s own optimistic commentary and resolute scepticism of many long term Korea watchers there are some recent glimmers of very limited progress emerging from the Hanoi Summit. After a late start, the lead … Continue reading

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MARGARET BEAVIS. Selling weapons to Saudi Arabia – your taxes at work.

How many Yemeni children have to die from the famine before Australia stops selling weapons to the Saudis, who are coordinating the blockade that is causing mass starvation? In November last year Save the Children reported that 85,000 children have … Continue reading

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MIKE SCRAFTON. Some possible implications for Australia’s strategic policy in Trump’s emergency

President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency over illegal immigration on the southern border of the US is destined to bring on a short term constitutional and political crisis in the US. The security of the US/Mexican border is not … Continue reading

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CAVAN HOGUE. Comment on Hugh White’s response to Paul Dibb on ANZUS and Taiwan.

Hugh White has made an effective rebuttal of Paul Dibb’s claim that we should join the US if China takes military action against Taiwan. It is important to stress that ANZUS does not require us to join with the USA … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, International Affairs | 6 Comments

HUGH WHITE. The US shouldn’t go to war with China over Taiwan—and nor should Australia (ASPI: THE STRATEGIST, 13 Feb 2019)

Paul Dibb, in his recent Strategist post, writes that America’s strategic position in Asia would be fatally undermined if it didn’t go to war with China if China attacked Taiwan, and that Australia’s alliance with America would be fatally undermined if we didn’t … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, Defence/Security, International Affairs, Politics | 5 Comments

LINDSAY HUGHES. Saudi Arabia’s Ballistic Missile Programme: The Tip of the Iceberg.

It was recently reported that Saudi Arabia could be working towards developing a nuclear-capable ballistic missile programme. The fact that the news came as a surprise was, arguably, the biggest surprise of all. Saudi Arabia had made it clear, under Crown Prince … Continue reading

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JOHN STAPLETON: Hakeem, the Australian Federal Police and a Truly Desperate Government

Just how many own goals can one government make and still survive?

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MIKE SCRAFTON. The casual talk of war

The casual talk of war heard today is of great concern. War is treated as if it’s a board game and the only pieces are military forces. The experiences of the twentieth-century, and to a lesser extent those of this … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security | 4 Comments

JOSEPH A. CAMILLERI. Just Peace: The only antidote to the age of violence – Part 1

Endemic violence, the hallmark of the last hundred years, shows no sign of abating. The death toll resulting from war in the 20th century is 187 million and probably higher. The number of armed conflicts in the world has risen … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, International Affairs | 3 Comments

JOHN STAPLETON. Acknowledged Civilian Casualties Only Beginning of Defence Scandal

The truth is military authorities have no idea how many civilians have been killed by Australian bombs in the medieval streets of Iraq and Syria.

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ERNST WILLHEIM. Secret Trials: The illegal bugging of the Timor Leste Cabinet and the extraordinary prosecution of Bernard Collaery and Witness K

Australians reading about secret trials in foreign countries tend to content themselves in the belief that in Australia we have an open court system and an independent judiciary. After all, freedom of speech, the rule of law and an open … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security | 9 Comments

RICHARD BUTLER. A Guessing Game

Trump’s extraordinary public attack on the whole of the US intelligence community has fuelled a guessing game: the well established one which questions the relationship between intelligence assessments and policy development; and, a current one, which questions whether Trump has … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, International Affairs | 6 Comments

MIKE SCRAFTON. The Intelligent use of Intelligence

The United States Intelligence Community presents an annual assessment of national security threats to Congress. President Trump and the US Intelligence agencies are at odds over the 2019 Report. Putting aside Trump’s simplistic and intuitive understanding and his disregard for … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, International Affairs | 1 Comment

MIKE SCRAFTON. The fissures in NATO.

NATO defence ministers will meet in Brussels over 13-14 February. Member states will struggle to find any accord in the face of an array strategic and political challenges from internal and external sources. Overshadowing all else will be the vagaries … Continue reading

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NICK DEANE. Unravelling the fabric of the Australia/US alliance.

John Menadue has articulated the problems with the Australia/US alliance very clearly. Those who are concerned to change its nature need a weak point at which to challenge it. To unravel the fabric of the alliance, start by opposing the … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security | 14 Comments

HENRY REYNOLDS. When will it end?

Three days after the Abbott government was sworn in on the 18th of September 2013 the new defence minister Senator David Johnston made a statement to the media. He told the Sydney Morning Herald that he wanted the military to … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, International Affairs | 6 Comments

GEOFFREY MILLER. Intelligence and the function of government. (Australian Outlook 9.1.2019)

“Intelligence and the Function of Government”, edited by Daniel Baldino and Rhys Crawley, contains a great deal of useful material on the Australian Intelligence Community (AIC), intelligence issues and intelligence in relation to government. It consists of 12 chapters, covering … Continue reading

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KAREN ELPHICK. United States Senate shows President a red light on war powers as Labor promises a war powers inquiry in Australia (Australia Parliamentary Blog 21.12.2018)

  For several years, Yemen has been in a state of civil war between a Saudi-led coalition supporting the Yemeni Government and Houthi forces. The US armed forces are not directly engaged in Yemen but have been supporting Saudi military efforts with … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. Our intelligence agencies are out of control -An edited repost

 It seems  likely that the prosecution by the Commonwealth Government  of former spy (Witness K ) and his lawyer Bernard Collaery will be heard in closed court. What a travesty of justice this is. Those who authorised the illegal bugging … Continue reading

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