Category Archives: Defence/Security

GREG HAMILTON. Dying for nothing, a-la-Australienne.

According to the oldest surviving veteran of The Great War, Sgt Ted Smout, dead at 106, our war dead died in vain. In his words, ‘they died for nothing’. He must have known something most of us don’t know for … Continue reading

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ANDREW FARRAN. Stalemate and Lawlessness over Syria.

On ABC News Radio (Monday 16th April) Paul Barrett, a former Deputy Secretary of DFAT and former Secretary of the Department of Defence was asked in an interview whether the military actions over the past weekend in Syria by the … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, International Affairs | 3 Comments

RICHARD BUTLER. Hypocrisy and Sanctimony: a Poisonous Brew.

The arguments advanced to justify the illegal US/French/UK attack upon Syrian CW related facilities incorporated buckets of sanctimony and numbing hypocrisy. There has been no serious discussion of the justification given by the three; because it was known to be … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. The Coalition and media myth about stopping the boats.

With the appointment of Angus Campbell as the new Chief of the General Staff we have witnessed again the repetition of the nonsense that the Coalition and Operation Sovereign Borders stopped the boats. As if the media farce over a … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, Refugees, Immigration | 3 Comments

MORTON HALPERIN, PETER HAYES, LEON SIGAL. Options for denuclearising the Korean peninsular

A critically important part of assembling the Korean peninsula-wide denuclearization jigsaw puzzle is the institutional and legal form of North Korean commitments on the one hand, and the nuclear negative security assurances by the NPT-Nuclear Weapons States (NWSs), especially the … Continue reading

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RAMESH THAKUR. Was DT Mouse-Trapped Into Attacking Syria?

Those of us of a certain age will remember the phrase ‘DTs’, short for delirium tremens: a rapid onset of confusion caused by an alcoholic’s immediate abstinence. Is the world suffering from a different set of DTs: the rapid-fire onset … Continue reading

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GEOFF MILLER. Korea: a comprehensive and step-by-step solution?

That is the phrase that senior South Korean officials are using for what they hope to see resulting from coming summits, which they now envisage as involving, after the North Korea-US meeting, a tri-partite summit between the two Koreas and … Continue reading

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ANDREW FARRAN. Parliamentary inquiry on proposal for a Bipartisan Defence Agreement to govern future procurements.

Currently the Joint Parliamentary Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade is inquiring into the benefits and risks of a Bipartisan Australian Defence Agreement, as a basis of planning for, and funding of, Australian Defence capability. A comment on … Continue reading

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SUE WAREHAM. Parliamentary debate on going to war is long overdue.

This week marks the 15th anniversary, on March 20, of one of Australia’s most disastrous foreign policy decisions – our involvement in the invasion of Iraq. To characterise this as “our” involvement, however, does a great disservice to the millions … Continue reading

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BRIAN TOOHEY. Teresa May’s rush to judgment on nerve agents

The British Prime Minister Teresa May failed to produce any evidence that the Russian state used a nerve agent called Novichok before she announced measures to punish the Kremlin.  At least Tony Blair famously produced a “dodgy dossier” claiming Saddam … Continue reading

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PAUL BARRATT: Time to involve Parliament in decisions about sending the ADF into combat.

Today 20 March is the 15th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq by the so-called “Coalition of the Willing” which was led by the US and included the UK, Australia and others. Far from making the world safer, and establishing … Continue reading

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MELISSA PARKE. Arms Export Goal Risks The Standing Of A Good International Citizen.

Five years ago Australia played a key role in drafting and negotiating the UN Arms Trade Treaty in order, as the government announced at the time, “to reduce the impact of armed violence on communities around the world”. Five weeks … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. The ASEAN Summit in Sydney this weekend.

The meeting this weekend will highlight for Australia the importance of our relations with regional countries.  It will also highlight the importance of our relationship with the US and China, and how that rivalry can best be managed in association … Continue reading

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NANDINI PANDEY. Rome’s “Empire Without End” and the “Endless” U.S. War on Terror (Replaying the Roman Civil Wars in Reverse Since 9/11)

That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, International Affairs, Politics | 2 Comments

RICHARD BUTLER. The US/DPRK Summit: War or Peace?

The planned Trump/Kim Summit has a clear choice between a negotiated solution, or war. There is a choice, whatever both sides may say. War is not unavoidable and if it were to occur it would be devastating.  

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JOHN MENADUE. When will we wake up to the risks as well as the benefits of the US alliance? (Repost)

We are a nation in denial that we are ‘joined at the hip’ to a dangerous ally. Apart from brief isolationist periods, the US has been almost perpetually at war; wars that we have often foolishly been drawn into. The … Continue reading

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

RAMESH THAKUR. Returning To The Edge Of The Nuclear Cliff.

The two leaders most responsible for bringing the Cold War to a peaceful end were U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet head of state Mikhail Gorbachev. They also kick-started the dramatic reductions in nuclear arsenals with a mix of unilateral … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, Politics | 2 Comments

GEOFF MILLER. The ASEAN meeting in Sydney and the Quad – same same but different.

Singapore and Australia are having to deal with the same set of problems and relationships as the strategic situation in the Asia-Pacific changes.  Singapore isn’t a contender for an expanded “Quad” but, as next year’s Chairman of ASEAN, it will … Continue reading

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ROSS GWYTHER. Our nuclear chickens come home to roost

Popular TV personality Mike Higgins addressed a packed Brisbane City Hall gathering on a rainy November night in 1983.  As chair of the meeting he was joined on the podium by later-to-be Governor General of Australia, Quentin Bryce, retired US … Continue reading

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GRAHAM FREUDENBERG. American Malaise and Malice.

The key to the Trump presidency is its malice. Trump daily mocks Lincoln’s noble intent: “with malice toward none”. There is now not a country or region in the world untouched by Trumpite malice, defined as the irrational desire to do … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, International Affairs, Politics | 4 Comments

JOHN MENADUE. Afghanistan – the graveyard of empires and the opium poppy.

They have all failed to conquer Afghanistan – the Greeks, Indians and more recently, the British in the mid 19th Century and the Soviets in the late 20th Century. And now the US empire is failing to subdue the tribes … Continue reading

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RICHARD TANTER. Bad, bad BADA (aka Bipartisan Australian Defence Agreement)

One explanation popular in some thinktank and corporate circles for incoherence in Australian defence policy and inefficiencies in defence procurement attributes these problems to the influence of politicians and elections. If only politics could be got out of the way, … Continue reading

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RICHARD TANTER. Joined at the hip with Donald Trump and implications for Pine Gap and Australian sovereignty.

In the repost below from 18 December 2017, Richard Tanter pointed out Apart from the multiple US–Soviet nuclear crises of 1983, there has probably never been a more important time for Australians to consider the immediate implications of hosting Pine … Continue reading

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GARY JOHNSTON. The Future Submarine: a technical problem

It is nearly two years since the government announced that the Shortfin Barracuda, to be designed and built by the French company, Naval Group, would be Australia’s future submarine (FSM). The proposed acquisition remains controversial. As an Australian citizen who … Continue reading

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SAUL ESLAKE. The quest for ‘security’ – is it rational, has it made us safer, and at what cost?

In November last year, I gave an address to the Royal Society of Tasmania – the oldest such society ‘dedicated to the advancement of knowledge’ outside of the United Kingdom – at an event hosted by the Governor of Tasmania, … Continue reading

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HENRY REYNOLDS. Australia: A Belligerent Nation

Much discussion has been generated by the recently released Defence White. There were several penetrating essays in Pearls and Irritations. But looking at the text as a historian it seemed that some of the most interesting observations passed without notice. I … Continue reading

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RICHARD BUTLER. The Right to Keep and Bear Arms; and to use them.

Guns and arms are embedded in US culture. It seems unable or unwilling to fix this, even though its people want it fixed.Its arms manufacturers are opposed to any solution. This shapes US foreign policy. Our engagement in this syndrome … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE -Joined at the hip Mr Turnbull goes to Washington this week.. Part 1 of 2 Repost

We are a nation in denial that we are ‘joined at the hip’ to a dangerous ally. Apart from brief isolationist periods, the US has been almost perpetually at war; wars that we have often foolishly been drawn into. The … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. Joined at the hip, Mr. Turnbull goes to Washington this week. Part 2 of 2. Repost

We are a nation in denial that we are ‘joined at the hip’ to a dangerous ally. Apart from brief isolationist periods, the US has been almost perpetually at war, wars that we have often foolishly been drawn into. The … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security | 4 Comments

RICHARD BUTLER. The Alliance: Deeper Thought Required Urgently.

This is not the time to deepen our commitment to the alliance and, become ever more involved in the US’ imperium and need for enemies. We need to think freshly about our international relations and security. The recent Foreign Policy … Continue reading

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