Category Archives: Defence/Security

RAYMOND ZHONG. Vietnam is gathering the spoils of a trade war (The New York Times International)

  No country on earth has benefited from President Trump’s trade fight with China more than Vietnam.

Posted in Asia, Defence/Security, International Affairs | 1 Comment

JOHN MENADUE. Tugging our forelock again and again to our dangerous ally. An update

The US has coming calling again. Not an Admiral  this time but  the Pentecostalist Secretary of State Mike Pompeo . He is whistling us up as a faithful dog to join with the US in tackling the problems which Donald … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, International Affairs, Politics | 23 Comments

MICHAEL McKINLEY. Australia’s AUSMIN invitations: clean the driveway, wash the dishes. Again

In the course of the current AUSMIN talks Australia has once again been invited, by the United States, to assume a role for which it is well, indeed over-qualified for – namely to provide janitorial services in the aftermath of … Continue reading

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MACK WILLIAMS. Alliance Management- Morrison’s First Challenge : Iran

The past week of the Australian-US Ministerial Consultations (Ausmin) talks has presented the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, and his inexperienced ministerial  team with the first serious test of how to manage the US alliance relationship. Despite the very difficult contemporary … Continue reading

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RICHARD TANTER. An Australian pathway through Pine Gap to the nuclear ban treaty

The Pine Gap Relay Ground Station could be closed, with appropriate notice of intent, without genuine disadvantage to US national security.  This would provide a technically and strategically feasible pathway past the most important obstacle posed by Pine Gap to … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security | 4 Comments

DOROTHY HORSFIELD. Measures Short of War. Australian National University’s Emeritus Professor Hugh White’s Plans for Defending Australia

One response from a colleague to the contentious proposal by Professor Hugh White in his new book ‘How to Defend Australia’ that the government should seriously consider adopting a nuclear capability was the brief ‘Oh, for God’s Sake!.’  Underpinning such a comment … Continue reading

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BINOY KAMPMARK. Militarizing Australia: Talisman Sabre and the US Military Build Up (American Herald Tribune)

Deemed the Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations strategy, the military method is a US Marine special, still spanking new, featuring “the amphibious landing of troops on islands for seizure and capture as part of a forward projection of sea and air … Continue reading

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WILLIAM D. HARTUNG. The US Military-Industrial Complex on Steroids (TomDispatch 16.7.2017)

When, in his farewell address in 1961, President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned of the dangers of the “unwarranted influence” wielded by the “military-industrial complex,” he could never have dreamed of an arms-making corporation of the size and political clout of Lockheed Martin. … Continue reading

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ALLAN PATIENCE. How to advance Australia.

In his important new book How to Defend Australia, Hugh White has placed before us a very clear picture of the contemporary security challenges now confronting Australia. First and foremost is China’s re-emergence as a (or maybe the) major power … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security | 4 Comments

GREGORY CLARK. China: A Maritime expansionist?

The call is for Australia to cooperate with the US to counter Beijing’s allegedly expansionist activities in the South China Sea. But was it not the US itself, in its 1951 San Francisco peace treaty with Japan – signed and … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, Defence/Security, International Affairs | 7 Comments

JESSICA CORBETT. Majorities of Both US Veterans and Public Believe Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan ‘Not Worth Fighting’ (Common Dreams)

The polled groups also told the Pew Research Center that the U.S. military campaign in Syria wasn’t worthwhile

Posted in Defence/Security, International Affairs | 3 Comments

MICHAEL McKINLEY. Reflections on the nuclear dimensions of Hugh White’s ‘How To Defend Australia’

Australian strategic thinking, like Dracula’s Transylvania, is very much troubled by the undead. Research undertaken 50 years ago by Ian Bellany, a nuclear physicist and predecessor of Hugh White in the ANU’s Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, wrestled with a … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security | 3 Comments

RICHARD BROINOWSKI. Can Australia Defend Itself?

Since the advent of Donald Trump as United States president, the certainties that are said to underpin Australia’s defence doctrine are less than ever convincing. Trump’s cynicism about alliances underlines the fact that ANZUS is no longer (if it ever … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security | 11 Comments

MIKE SCRAFTON. “I’m afraid of Americans”

The opinions to which we should pay most critical attention are those of commentators best placed to influence government. Peter Jennings, Executive Director of ASPI, is one. Now he is claiming a ‘new cold war with China is playing out … Continue reading

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RAMESH THAKUR. Professor White, the bomb can endanger but not defend Australia.

Nuclear weapons have dubious operational utility and discarding treaty obligations would leave the stench of hypocrisy.

Posted in Defence/Security | 2 Comments

HUGH WHITE. Australia needs to give up its South Pacific dream (AFR 13-14.7.2019)

What can Australia do to restore and preserve our sphere of influence in the South Pacific, and deny it to China?  

Posted in Asia, Defence/Security, International Affairs | 1 Comment

MELISSA CONLEY TYLER. Will Hugh White Change How We Defend Australia?

Australia’s options for defending itself are in the news with the release of Hugh White’s How to Defend Australia. Will it shake up thinking? Or is it too hard to change the way we do Australia’s defence because there is … Continue reading

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HUGH WHITE. Why Pacific nations would host a Chinese military base (AFR 13-14.7.2019)

Our neighbours’ commitment to values and interests shared with Australia might prove feeble in the face of Chinese persuasion.  

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CAVAN HOGUE.  Canada, Australia and the USA

Canada tries to differentiate itself from the USA but because of its proximity and similarities this is not easy. Australia has the opposite problem: we try to find similarities. Canada’s geography makes it easier for it to defy requests to … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, Defence/Security, International Affairs | 3 Comments

SUE WAREHAM. Nuclear weapons must be rejected

Professor Hugh White’s recent suggestion that Australia might need to consider nuclear weapons is highly provocative and dangerous. He is helping to legitimise these instruments of terror, and gives credence to the deeply flawed notion of nuclear “deterrence”. Australia must … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security | 10 Comments

MIKE SCRAFTON. The real cost in How to Defend Australia.

In How to Defend Australia, Hugh White has produced a work that removes much of the mystery surrounding Australian defence policy making. The historical experiences and institutional influences affecting Australia’s major past and present strategic policy positions are lucidly set … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security | 6 Comments

HUGH WHITE.  With China’s swift rise as naval power, Australia needs to rethink how it defends itself (The Conversation, 2 July 2019)

Visiting Wellington in April 1996, I fell into conversation with a very wise and experienced New Zealand government official. We talked about the still-unfolding Taiwan Straits crisis, during which Washington had deployed a formidable array of naval power, including two … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security | 8 Comments

NOEL TURNBULL. The curious incident of the dog that didn’t bark

There is nothing more beloved of apocalyptic thinkers, intelligence agencies, conservative politicians and general scare-mongers than the threat of some disaster. It is even better when the threat is insidious, little understood and able to be transformed into policies which … Continue reading

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PAUL BARRATT. Australia should not participate in conflict with Iran.

Australia should not participate in any military action against Iran. The current tensions have been created by the Trump Administration, and the ANZUS Alliance creates no obligation for us to assist. President Trump may think that a war against Iran … Continue reading

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MARK BEESON. The US Lobby and Australian Defence Policy, Vince Scappatura, Monash Publishing (a review)

One of the most enduring features of Australia’s foreign and strategic policies is the close relationship between this country and the United States. A number of other countries such as Britain and Japan also claim to have a ‘special relationship’ … Continue reading

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

MIKE SCRAFTON. The Chief of the Defence Force and political warfare

General Angus Campbell’s presentation at ASPI’s conference War in 2015 was thoughtful and provocative. Some of the CDF’s views are germane and apt are others contestable. He opened by saying, ‘I sense a renewed concern in the world for the … Continue reading

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MIKE SCRAFTON. Strategy In A Bubble: ASPI’s war plans

ASPI’s relentless push for ever greater defence spending gets another iteration in Malcolm Davis’s Forward defence in depth for Australia . As a breathless list of ‘key horizon technologies’, Davis’s paper makes entertaining and informative reading. As a justification for … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security | 3 Comments

RICHARD FLANAGAN. The AFP media raids aim to suppress the truth. Without it we head into the darkness of oppression. (The Guardian 6.6.2019)

In March of this year police union leaders warned that the Australian federal police was losing “its independence and integrity and must be separated from Peter Dutton’s home affairs portfolio”. 

Posted in Defence/Security, Media, Politics | 9 Comments

DENNISS ARGALL. Thinking through the choppy issues in trade and strategic threat.

The public discussion of trade war and security issues is too simplistic. Trump’s bilateral adventures in liking and bullying will mean discussion of structural changes in regional affairs to which Australia will not be party. Trump is not a passing … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, International Affairs | 1 Comment

MICHAEL McKINLEY. Another climate change warning and the return of a Pentagon prophecy the new government might take seriously.

Richard Butler recently made the point on this site that, in relation to foreign policy,  the Australian Government finds the disposition and pose of the ostrich to be  to its liking: a futile self-absorption in reality denial. To this I would … Continue reading

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