Category Archives: Defence and Security

For the Prime Minister, sovereignty is reduced to possessing 70 fighter jets

Prime Minister Scott Morrison appears to be suffering from the neurological condition visual agnosia – the inability to recognise certain objects for what they are. It is a condition popularised the neurologist, Oliver Sacks, is his book on the condition, … Continue reading

Posted in Defence and Security | Tagged | 16 Comments

The new normal: the former ministers racing down the Gold Brick Road (Part 1)

This is a three-part look at the afterlife of former Commonwealth ministers of the Crown. Because of space limitations, the inquiry focuses on the notorious post-politics employment of two defence ministers, Christopher Pyne and Brendan Nelson, and one foreign minister, … Continue reading

Posted in Defence and Security, Lobbyland | 1 Comment

Diego Garcia: Rules for the powerful; bombs for the weak

In concert, the US and the UK in the 1960s seized the island of Diego Garcia, expelled its inhabitants and converted it into a massive airbase for the bombing of Middle Eastern and African targets. Both countries continue to defy … Continue reading

Posted in Defence and Security | 10 Comments

Not knowing one’s enemy: fundamental intelligence failures in Australia’s Afghanistan and Vietnam

There are disturbing parallels between what occurred in Afghanistan and what occurred 50 years earlier in Vietnam. The accidental killing of innocents is one link. So, too, is the intelligence vacuum into which our expeditionary military tradition sucked us in … Continue reading

Posted in Defence and Security, Top 5 | Tagged | 13 Comments

Australia: Clinging to a declining and aggressive US. An updated repost

Declining empires never go gracefully. And neither will the US empire – addicted as it is to a belief in its ‘exceptionalism’ and its grounding in aggression both at home and abroad.  The attack on the US Capitol reminds us … Continue reading

Posted in Defence and Security | 53 Comments

It’s time to demilitarise America’s democracy

After 20 years of endless war in which trillions were spent and hundreds of thousands died on all sides without the US military achieving anything approaching victory, the Pentagon continues to be funded at staggering levels, while funding to deal … Continue reading

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Challenges to the Political and Peace Settlement Process in Afghanistan

The past 12 months saw progress towards political and peace settlements in Afghanistan. However, this progress is conditional upon further developments in 2021, and attitudes range from cautious optimism to outright pessimism from both Afghan and international stakeholders.

Posted in Defence and Security | 1 Comment

War Crimes? What war crimes? Nothing to see here

Burying crimes under layers of legal process is tantamount to cover-up. And cover-ups destroy democracy. Just another one to add to the list of evidence showing the  Morrison government’s problem with accountability – ‘sports rorts’  and the bonanza for Liberal … Continue reading

Posted in Defence and Security | Tagged | 10 Comments

Taiwan: a ‘wicked’ strategic problem for Australia

ASPI’s executive director Peter Jennings is banging the war drums over Taiwan again. He would have Australia automatically marching into a war in defence of the island. Why would Australia go to war over Taiwan?

Posted in Defence and Security, Top 5 | 131 Comments

Lessons from our diplomacy in Asia in the 1930s

Scott Morrison says he has been “revisiting” the 1930s, a period in which Australia faced an “existential threat”. The strategies of conservative policy makers of the 1930s are worth examining by today’s leaders so we don’t repeat the disasters of … Continue reading

Posted in Defence and Security | Tagged | 12 Comments

Wiped from history books: Menzies’ plan for the Jindivik pilotless bomber to finance Woomera

Far from being duped, Prime Minister Bob Menzies and his Cabinet went to extraordinary lengths to support the development in Australia of British atomic bombs and thermonuclear components for the H bomb.

Posted in Defence and Security | 1 Comment

Sleepwalking into a fascist alliance

Those critically engaged in understanding and debating the future of Australian defence and national security strategies should pass two votes of thanks: the first is to former President Donald Trump; the second to the recent political-strategic proclamations of the Australian … Continue reading

Posted in Defence and Security | 22 Comments

Japan’s kow-towing to US is leading to ecological destruction on a majestic reef.

 Japan, in consultation with the US, is trying to build a huge military facility for the US Marine Corps by reclaiming a large part of the wondrous, biodiverse Oura Bay. It is akin to Australia offering part of the Great … Continue reading

Posted in Defence and Security | 1 Comment

Nuclear disarmament is not going to happen: the case for signing the Nuclear Weapons Prohibition Treaty

The 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons enters into force today. Australia’s failure to sign the treaty is at odds not only with its international humanitarian obligations but also with its most basic strategic interests.

Posted in Defence and Security | 6 Comments

Australian government’s refusal to recognise 2017 Nobel Peace Prize winners a stain on decency

On 22 January, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons will put nuclear weapons in the same category as other banned inhumane weapons including biologic and chemical weapons, cluster bombs and antipersonnel land mines. This was largely the work … Continue reading

Posted in Defence and Security | 6 Comments

What should Australia want from a Biden National Security Strategy? Avoiding war in Asia

Australia should hope for a major shift away from President Trump’s strategy but not an uncritical return to President Obama’s 2015 version. For a start a new NSS should reposition the US as a less crusading nation, one more accepting of … Continue reading

Posted in Defence and Security, Politics | 37 Comments

It’s surely time to come clean on Australia’s 1950s’ nuclear plans

Why was Britain allowed to break its agreement that it would not conduct thermonuclear tests in Australia?

Posted in Defence and Security | 4 Comments

Militarism has become the norm. We need a civil revival

Military governors headed our first colonial settlements and led the Frontier Wars to dispossess the indigenous people. I thought we had outgrown that military relic. But not so. We are back with military governor’s general rewarded for their service in … Continue reading

Posted in Defence and Security | 30 Comments

Our aggressive and violent ally. An updated repost. Part 2 of 2

Declining empires never decline gracefully. And neither will the US empire – addicted as it is to a belief in its ‘exceptionalism’ and its grounding in aggression both at home and abroad. Add to the mix that 70 million people … Continue reading

Posted in Defence and Security | 30 Comments

Hamlet’s glass and the Brereton Report: the radical reality of Australia’s security culture

It is almost an invariable rule that the citizens of nation-states in their generality, and Australia in particular, are obsessed with security and fascinated with violence; equally, they are illiterate in understanding their own traditions and practices. And when they … Continue reading

Posted in Defence and Security | 14 Comments

Our aggressive and violent ally. An updated repost. Part 1 of 2

Declining empires never decline gracefully. And neither will the US empire – addicted as it is to a belief in its ‘exceptionalism’ and its grounding in aggression both at home and abroad. Add to the mix that 70 million people … Continue reading

Posted in Defence and Security, World Affairs | 12 Comments

The US blatantly ignores international laws and rules in Diego Garcia (Repost 3 July 2020)

China is rightly criticised for building islands for military purposes in the South China Sea while ignoring an advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) brought by the Philippines. But what of the US in Diego Garcia?

Posted in Defence and Security, Politics | 9 Comments

War Crimes: Where does ultimate responsibility lie? Only a Royal Commission will determine the answer

The Brereton report has major deficiencies around where ultimate responsibility lies for war crimes in Afghanistan. To understand this and to eradicate the cultural and systemic causes of the alleged crimes, we need a Royal Commission.

Posted in Defence and Security | Tagged | 10 Comments

Marketing and mythologies in our endless wars on behalf of others

In a year beset by a global pandemic, attendant economic instability, a tumultuous US election, and foundering global diplomacy, reflection inevitably trends to what has been tested, what has been tried, and what is true.

Posted in Defence and Security | 5 Comments

The Most Lethal Virus is Not COVID. It is War

My personal Oscar goes to Peter Hartcher of the Sydney Morning Herald,whose unrelenting rousing drivel about the “existential threat” (of China/Russia, mostly China) was illustrated by a smiling Scott Morrison, the PR man who is Australia’s prime minister.

Posted in Defence and Security, Politics | 10 Comments

We have already ceded our sovereignty, not to China but to America for no good reason.

Racism, fear and lack of moral courage sees Australia tied to a declining America, suffering, as a result, a lack of self-respect, independence and a viable and progressive relationship with our largest trading partner.

Posted in Defence and Security, Top 5 | 75 Comments

Casual cruelty in Australia the backdrop to the Brereton report

That the Brereton report was released after Melbourne Cup day presaged government reliance on the distractions of Australia’s festive season. This will be yet another in the sorry list of Australian government cover-ups. 

Posted in Defence and Security, Politics | 4 Comments

Heart of Darkness: Our expeditionary imperial culture and alleged war crimes in Afghanistan – and elsewhere

We tend to forget that our military, political and other cultures were formed in the frontier wars of British imperial expansion in the 19th century. Because those wars were fought in the process of taking the land of Aboriginal and … Continue reading

Posted in Defence and Security, Politics, Top 5 | 9 Comments

We need to “pivot” away from the military thinking of the past

“These are anxious times. Not since early 1942 have Australians felt so in need of allies yet been so unsure of their major ally…. Canberra is eagerly, even desperately, looking for new protectors.” These comments come from Hugh White, and … Continue reading

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Undue influence? University grants questioned after ASPI US-funded research

The Australian Research Council launched an investigation into Australian academics solely on the basis of US government-funded research by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.

Posted in China, Defence and Security, Politics | Tagged | 4 Comments