Author Archives: Dennis Argall

Dennis Argall

About Dennis Argall

Dennis Argall's degrees were in anthropology and defence studies. his governmental work in foreign, defence and domestic departments and for the Australian parliament. His overseas postings included Beijing as ambassador, and Washington. He regrets the extent of his personal experience with disability but it has perhaps sharpened his desire that the future be a better country.

October 1972, October 2020: prospects for the United States… and us.

Decent minded Australians are tending to assure themselves that Trump will be defeated in November; many decent Americans work feverishly for the defeat of Trump. But the defeat of Trump is far from assured.

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Defence Strategic Outlook lacks a civilian perspective.

The Defence Department’s Strategic Update is somewhat servant to the past rather than the future. It’s just one way to see the world and should be subordinated to a civilian perspective in less adversarial terms. The government’s endorsement of the … Continue reading

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The inevitability of fundamental change in the world and what China wants

“The coronavirus pandemic will change the world order forever. When the Covid-19 pandemic is over, institutions in many countries will look as if they have failed. It is not a question of whether this judgment is correct from an objective … Continue reading

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Our strategic partnerships with China, India, Japan and the US

The signature of a strategic agreement between Australia and India is being hailed as a success. Certainly our construction of positive relations with India has lagged, although efforts to do better began in the 1980s. But what’s it all about? … Continue reading

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We may be stuck in our bigotry. Urgent change on many fronts needed

So much of our political mainstream has been based on bigotry and racist perspectives. We have always had the comfort of the US and UK accepting our attitudes on race. That no longer will be the case.

Posted in Asia, Human Rights | 13 Comments

DENNIS ARGALL. We are ill prepared for inevitable dramatic change. and the need to shift fundamentals of national strategy

“A revolution is not a dinner party”: Chairman Mao. We are in the middle of a number of revolutions, which we must try to understand and which require independent national strategy and vigour. These processes will be rough and unavoidable. … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 3 Comments

DENNIS ARGALL. Australia’s strategic folly: lessons from Barbara Tuchman.

We arein a situation where decisions that seem simple can commit Australia to fundamental errors of strategic judgement. The decision to send a ship and a plane and headquarters staff to a new venture with the United States in the … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, World Affairs | 3 Comments

DENNIS ARGALL Hong Kong and Londonderry and the global crowding of everything.

The uproar in Hong Kong has become very serious, with a situation as developed in 1989 before Tiananmen: of leaders unable to cope and an uprising implacable in resolve and unable to focus on achievable objectives. The comparison should not … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, World Affairs | 3 Comments

DENNIS ARGALL. The Pompeo view

US Secretary of State Pompeo said a couple of things in Sydney recently that were wrong in fact. He articulated an absurd philosophy about foreign investment, unaware that he’d just accused China of thinking something similar. His utterances of high-minded … Continue reading

Posted in World Affairs | 6 Comments

DENNIS ARGALL. Absenting Ourselves From the World.

This is mainly about China, but more. We have excluded ourselves in many ways from the engines of modernity in Asia and more widely by our recalcitrance on so many issues and our unwillingness to engage with the new. We … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, World Affairs | 1 Comment

DENNIS ARGALL. Tiananmen in context

There has been feverish interest in the anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen incident, in Australia with some focus on repression in China, fuelling antagonism towards China. In this essay I want to provide context that is lacking: in the evolution … Continue reading

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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, World Affairs | 1 Comment

DENNIS ARGALL: Australian strategic posture from here forward

There is no sign of political enthusiasm to grasp the need for coherent national strategy, but basic principles need to be put in place and three particulars need urgent attention.

Posted in Politics | 3 Comments

DENNIS ARGALL. Lessons and thoughts for Labor’s future

There is a lot of emotion in the wake of disaster for Labor in the federal elections on 18 May 2019. There will be forensic examinations and recriminations. There is good prospect of a Labor Government after the next elections… … Continue reading

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DENNIS ARGALL. A letter from Italy: to put some global and Australian issues in perspective.

In the languages of the mighty, in the temples of globalisation, the simplicities of neoliberal globalisation and orthodoxies of Brussels and money, Italy is the coming big problem, bigger than Greece, needing to be reined in, needing to conform and … Continue reading

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DENNIS ARGALL. In a changing world, who are we, where are our eyes and minds?

In what is perhaps a fantasy endeavour – to find Trump’s objectives in recent travel and assess outcomes – I suggest three. And in this essay, I look further into global and perceptual actions and needs… and the lack of … Continue reading

Posted in Politics, World Affairs | 1 Comment

DENNIS ARGALL. A comparison of the DPRK now with China in the early 1970s

Public discussion of issues relating to North Korea and détente with the United States is largely deprived of any sense of history — unstudied or seen through prisms by the lawyers, commerce graduates and high priests of strategic analysis who … Continue reading

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DENNIS ARGALL. Many steps on Korea between the principals.

While the US and DPRK are at very early stages in working forward from the Trump-Kim meeting in Singapore on 12 June 2018, a wide range of practical steps have taken place between the ROK and DPRK and China and … Continue reading

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DENNIS ARGALL. Trump-Kim, Korea, China and the future.

The underpinnings of Australian strategic utterances are slipping away. There will be, it is the way the world is, a flood of “yeah, but…” comment on the Trump-Kim Singapore summit. Not least because the number of experts on Korean affairs … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, World Affairs | 1 Comment

DENNIS ARGALL. Not so scary under Korean skies

Australia has had yet another high level former US defence official breeze in, this time to warn that we might be attacked by the DPRK. Whether there is or is not a concerted plan to all this, the visits of … Continue reading

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DENNIS ARGALL. Pine Gap and national strategic independence.

For a long time people have focused concern on Pine Gap.  But Pine Gap is but an element of our entanglement with United States strategic policy, which is the big thing to be addressed and turned around. 

Posted in Defence/Security, World Affairs | 4 Comments

DENNIS ARGALL. Ignore Trump’s tweets about North Korea ; the diplomacy is being handled by adults

Since his election in May South Korea’s President Mon Jae-in has developed a productive relationship with US President Trump, particularly on the difficult issue of both countries’ dealings with North Korea. Regrettably Australian and other mainstream media is reporting Trump’s … Continue reading

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DENNIS ARGALL. The complexity of saying no to the Americans.

The degree of ‘interoperability’ with US forces shapes the minds of Australian service personnel from top to bottom as also it shapes procurement planning and justification. … Any review by us of the Alliance relationship would run-up against a deep history. … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, World Affairs | 4 Comments

DENNIS ARGALL   Korea, China, US and Trump  

It has not helped that senior military people have been inclined to simply call the North Koreans crazy, any more than it helps now to simply call Trump crazy. 

Posted in Defence/Security, World Affairs | 2 Comments