Category Archives: Defence/Security

BRUCE HAIGH. There is no business like show business.

The relationship between John Howard and former AFP Commissioner, Mick Keelty, put the AFP in a bad place from which it has not recovered. The solution is a full blown inquiry followed by reform, a change of culture and better … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security | 3 Comments

BEVAN RAMSDEN. Do the US Marines in Darwin pose a risk to our peace and security?

A recent US war exercise involving US Marines landing, capturing and securing an island off the coast of Okinawa is touted as a new US military strategy to use in its challenge to China in the South China Sea.  Is … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, International Affairs | 8 Comments

DUNCAN GRAHAM Kingsford Smith forecast: Expect churls Inbox x

In his 9 April post on this website ANU Professor Ramesh Thakur put the question: Who Will Bell the Sydney Airport Security Madness?  The expert on disarmament then asked: Is it possible that pranksters with a perverse sense of humour are in charge of … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security | 1 Comment

MIKE SCRAFTON. Political leadership and the next war.

If there is any consensus among commentators on geopolitics and strategic policy, it is that the world is entering into uncertain and dangerous times. In the term of the next Australian government political leadership could confront grave situations requiring decisions … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security | 2 Comments

MIKE SCRAFTON. Warner’s blinkered warnings

Geraldine Dooge interviewed Nick Warner Director General of the Office of National Intelligence (podcast) for Radio National. As Warner is the principal adviser to the Prime Minister on intelligence matters his assessments of the strategic environment are of great interest.

Posted in Defence/Security | 2 Comments

RAMESH THAKUR. Who Will Bell the Sydney Airport Security Madness?

Is it possible that pranksters with a perverse sense of humour are in charge of security procedures at Sydney International Airport? Perhaps they are trying to test the limits of traveller tolerance. If so, they might be close to succeeding … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, Human Rights | 4 Comments

YELENA BIBERMAN, JARED SCHWARTZ. Pakistan is ready for stability in Afghanistan (East Asia Forum).

The Afghan government has an unexpectedly ardent advocate in current peace negotiations between the United States and Taliban—Pakistan. This surprising supporter has been providing sanctuary to the Taliban, thereby placing a pricey bet on its alleged proxy’s recapture of Afghanistan … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, International Affairs | 1 Comment

MIKE SCRAFTON. The Golan Heights: Whose rules?

President Trump has recognised the 1981 Israeli annexation of the Golan Heights. Whatever Trump’s motives—genuine concern for Israel’s security, geostrategic positioning in the struggle against Iran, fulfilling a divine mission, or domestic politics—his act raises important geopolitical issues and questions … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security | 7 Comments

JAMES O’NEILL. Australian defence strategy still locked in a past era

According to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald (25 March 2019) the coalition government, if re-elected, would spend $2.5 billion on an air defence system. The object of the expenditure is said to “bolster Australia’s capacity to intercept enemy … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security | 6 Comments

MIKE SCRAFTON.Extremism and race: slaying the phantom

There will be many views on the priority to be given to domestic race-based extremism and the best way in which it should be approached. Recently, Mike Pezzullo didn’t mention race-based violence among his ‘seven gathering storms’ facing Australia. An … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security | 1 Comment

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

Posted in Defence/Security | 2 Comments

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

Posted in Defence/Security, International Affairs | 2 Comments

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

Posted in Defence/Security | 1 Comment

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.

Posted in Defence/Security | 2 Comments

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

Posted in Defence/Security | 3 Comments

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?

Posted in Defence/Security | 2 Comments

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