Author Archives: Mack Williams
As renewed discussion grows pace in Australia about being less dependent on the United States in any Cold War against China how realistic is that option? For one thing we would need to loosen some of the linkages which have … Continue reading
Despite President Trump’s exchange of “love letters” with the North Korean leader, from the public record it seems that Secretary of State Pompeo’s last discussions with Kim Jong-un in Pyongyang failed to achieve any significant breakthrough on denuclearisation. But there … Continue reading
Korean issues have often been edged out of the headlines in the past few months by a plethora of other global issues but they remain far from being resolved. “War War” been replaced by “Jaw Jaw” at least for the … Continue reading
While the pace of media reports about the Korean Peninsular has slowed a little since the Singapore Summit there has been much going on – in public and under wraps. Skepticism about the North’s commitment to the core issue of … Continue reading
Amid the avalanche of reporting and commentary of the Singapore Summit one needs to step back to assess just how the Trump’s much vaunted (by him) negotiating style so far has played out . This is not just an academic … Continue reading
Much has been written about the recent Kim:Moon Summit and its communique. The signs on the interKorean front are encouraging but all still hinges on how the Kim:Trump Summit. It will have to address the absolutely critical issue of “denuclearisation” … Continue reading
The pace of developments on the Korean peninsular in the past month or so has been breathtaking matched by the plethora of pundits who have sought to interpret what it all means and where we may be headed. Not surprisingly … Continue reading
Fairfax Media’s awakened interest in the South Pacific would have been only too welcome if it had not been sparked by a leak from the all too familiar ‘senior defence sources’ in Canberra and Washington which so distorted the scene.
President Trump’s positive response to Kim Jong-un’s invitation to direct talks naturally has created a swirl of media commentary and speculation. It has served Trump’s interest to promote a sense of surprise though it probably also reflects a considerable amount … Continue reading
The appointment of Admiral Harris as Ambassador to Australia raises serious concerns about the role he will play in the development of Australian strategic policy as we seek to maintain the sort of relationship with China and the US outlined … Continue reading
The new US strategic policy requires serious and urgent revisiting of our key strategic policy positions to identify implications it has for Australia. Any attempt to minimise differences for short term political gain could endanger the nation’s longer term future.
The Turnbull Government was clearly caught flat-footed by the significant change in the Trump’s security strategy announced by Defense Secretary Mattis. Defence Minister Payne’s initial comment and background briefings had to be corrected quickly. All of which underlines the urgent … Continue reading
The new US National Defense Strategy heralds a new strategic direction under Trump which significantly reduces the priority of counter-terrorism and confirms a return to global competition with China and Russia with the basic objective to “outspend” both in defence. … Continue reading
While Washington is paralysed by alleged White House scandal the US has taken its eye off the South China Sea. Continuing developments in the region have reinforced China’s position. Australia cannot afford to delay its own examination of our long … Continue reading
The decision by the DPRK to reopen high level talks with the ROK next week in preparation for the Winter Olympics is monumental for the ROK. Followed by the US:ROK decision to defer major military exercises at the time of … Continue reading
The White Paper provides a long overdue but commendable assessment of the extensive challenges and opportunities for Australian foreign policy. It should have formed the basis for considered parliamentary debate. Unfortunately, while acknowledging for the first time the extent and … Continue reading
We need to be very careful in not overhyping the IS activity in Marawi and soliciting an invitation to military involvement without a comprehensive Australian review of the complex issues at stake in Mindanao and our wider relationship with the … Continue reading
As the shouting match becomes more heated between Kim Jong Un and President Trump the role of the popular new President Moon has become more difficult. The most likely casualties in any outbreak of military exchanges would be the population … Continue reading
The recent joint US:Australian Talisman Sabre joint military exercise has added further confusion to the challenge of determining sensible Australian strategic thinking. US talk of a joint expeditionary force to combat IS terrorism in SE Asia camouflages an attempt by … Continue reading
The DPRK’s recent ICBM test raises some extremely serious concerns for Australia which will need to be carefully considered by the Australian Government before it rushes off into decision making on the run as has been the case in the … Continue reading
Media coverage of the claimed IS connections of the jihadists in Marawi have highlighted their call for a “caliphate”. The intractable scene in Mindanao indeed is concerning but it is born out a much longer and different history than elsewhere … Continue reading
President Trump’s characterisation of Kim Jong-un as a “smart cookie” illustrates the learning process he is undergoing about how to operate in Asia and who might be contributing to it. Learning how to manage President Duterte may be another challenge.
So much is going on in the different channels between the US and China, China and the DPRK and by now maybe US and DPRK that reading the tea leaves is an almost impossible – if not frantic – task. … Continue reading
For Ms Bishop to be talking in Singapore about China and democracies, the Japanese “big ship” and rallying the claimants while pleading with the US to remain staunchly committed in the region certainly is risky. We could be exposed as … Continue reading
Has Foreign Minister Bishop finally been able to kill off the proposed joint Australia: Indonesia patrols in the South China Sea ?
It is now clear for all to see that the only potential US “ally” for any US confrontation in the region could be Australia. China has successfully wedged the ASEAN’s in through their common concern that it would be them … Continue reading
We cannot remain oblivious to the fact that the creeping incrementalism, which has characterised the Defence Postures relationship, is likely to slip us into positions from which it would become increasingly difficult to say No. We need a line in … Continue reading
Is China going to fill the void? The media-hyped flurry to try to establish the likely policy guidelines of the Trump administration is timely and natural but should be approached very cautiously. Not only is it virtually impossible at … Continue reading
The very good Boston Globe article reminded me of two other events in Philippines history of WW11 about which so little is known in Australia. They have some relevance to the contemporary scene. For a long time prior to … Continue reading
Neither the Australian government nor the Australian media have informed us about the critical nature of the Sibutu Channel. As mentioned in this blog some time ago. the active political and media discussion in Australia about the South China Sea … Continue reading