Category Archives: Defence/Security

Demystifying Australia’s South China Sea stance (EAF 12 August, 2020)

The only freedoms of navigation under threat in the South China Sea are ones associated with rights claimed by the United States to conduct certain military activities in the maritime zones of other countries.

Posted in Defence/Security | Leave a comment

The witch-hunting of Moslemane and Zhang

Australia’s ‘foreign interference’ laws were criticised by many as a step towards domestic authoritarian politics with a pronounced anti-China flavour. NSW politician Shaoqett Moselmane and staffer John Zhang have since been attacked by the Attorney-General, the PM, and vilified by … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, Politics | Leave a comment

‘Poor moral leadership’ and our alleged war crimes

‘Australia’s SAS must be accountable for possible war crimes’ in Afghanistan, says Professor Philip Dwyer (P &I 27.7.20). Indeed, it must. We must emphasise also that individual soldiers have responsibility for their actions. And that we, our government and nation, … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, Politics | Leave a comment

The Philippine War, the American saviour syndrome and the manifest destiny. (REPOSTED from February 9, 2018)

The American war against the Philippine Republic which began in 1898 and its subsequent colonisation of the Philippines teaches us many things about perennial American beliefs and actions. The concept that the US is saving somebody from something is a … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, Politics, World Affairs | Leave a comment

The New Zealand SAS inquiry: the most serious findings against the NZSAS and NZDF in their history

Five years ago I was approached by a man who played a part in a New Zealand SAS raid in Afghanistan where civilians were killed and injured. He wanted an official inquiry. Two weeks ago that inquiry reported.

Posted in Defence/Security, Politics, Public Policy | Leave a comment

Why America shouldn’t have nuked Japan (Asia Times 6 August, 2020)

US belief that atomic bombings were necessary to obviate even deadlier invasion of Japan is as false 75 years later as it was at the time….The idea of a Soviet occupation of Japan was their worst nightmare.

Posted in Asia, Defence/Security | Leave a comment

Australian strategic policy: why we need a robust public debate

Australia’s writings on the history of strategic policy and military history are abundant and of a high quality. However, this knowledge is not reflected in the public debate on issues pertaining to Australia’s strategic policy choices.

Posted in Defence/Security, Politics | Leave a comment

China must obey international rules in the South China Sea but the US ignores them in Diego Garcia (Repost 3 July 2020)

China is rightly criticised for building islands for military purposes in the South China Sea whilst 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/Security, Politics | Leave a comment

My Kafkaesque Trial

After Jim Kable wrote in reply to Henry Reynold’s Pearls and Irritations article, ‘When the War on Terror Turns inward’: “are there any updates” on what has become of Mr Moselmane, I feel compelled to provide a brief response.

Posted in China, Defence/Security, Politics | Leave a comment

The US hypocrisy on the South China Sea and Diego Garcia

The U.S. has publicly accused China of violating the existing international order, bullying other claimants, and crimes against the environment in the South China Sea. China may well be guilty—at least from the US perspective. But the same and more … Continue reading

Posted in China, Defence/Security | Leave a comment

Coalition toes party line between US and China (SMH, 3 August 2020)

“Don’t sell your soul for a pile of soybeans,” warned US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo a year ago, when Australian foreign affairs and defence ministers met their United States counterparts.

Posted in Defence/Security, Politics | Leave a comment

America’s drive to war with Australia as a willing participant.

The world has moved a step closer to war. US secretary of state Mike Pompeo’s latest outrageous speech has signalled a change of policy and Australia has once again willingly agreed to aid and abet the USA in its provocative … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, Politics | Leave a comment

US Assistant Attorney General fuels Chinese hacking conspiracy

Despite what the US alleges against China, would any government spy agency be so stupid as to combine extortion for profit with spy activities?

Posted in China, Defence/Security | Leave a comment

Lessons from the Cambodian genocide: 45 years on

Learning the biggest lesson of all from the Cambodian genocide – the need to make Responsibility to Protect (R2P) genuinely effective – means above all mobilizing the political will to make something actually happen when it must.

Posted in Defence/Security, Human Rights, Politics | Leave a comment

US, China, Australia. Now we know what we’re getting into: a full-fledged anti-China campaign

Very recent actions by the US and Australian governments, and statements in both countries, make it clear that our Foreign and Defence Ministers will be invited to sign on to a full-fledged anti-China campaign and even a coalition when in … Continue reading

Posted in China, Defence/Security | Leave a comment

Australia’s SAS must stop to cover-up and start to be accountable for possible war crimes (The Conversation 24.7.20)

Stories of alleged unlawful killings by Australian special forces in Afghanistan continue to emerge in the media — now on a regular basis.

Posted in Defence/Security | Leave a comment

What else have the Archives got?

Jenny Hocking’s persistence has revealed the ‘Palace Letters’ between Canberra and London which the National Archives didn’t want Australians to see. If there were other exchanges with Washington and Langley they may be even more reluctant.

Posted in Defence/Security, Politics | Leave a comment

When all you have is a defence hammer, what about some quality diplomacy?

‘When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail’ comes to mind upon the release of Australia’s 2020 Defence Strategic Update, continuing the tendency to view international issues mainly through a security lens.

Posted in Defence/Security | Leave a comment

Adopting aspects of India’s non-alignment while honouring our US defence alliance

The escalating tension between China and Australia threatens our economic health. India’s Non-Alignment Foreign Policy shows a way to get back from the brink without sacrificing our independence, while still meeting our obligations under the ANZUS Alliance.

Posted in China, Defence/Security | Leave a comment

Why India and Russia Are Going to Stay Friends (Foreign Affairs 8.7.20)

Conventional wisdom holds that New Delhi will turn to Washington as it increases competition with Beijing. But Moscow’s importance cannot be ignored.

Posted in Defence/Security | Leave a comment

The Rationale for the 2020 Force Structure Plan: A 2040 War with China?

There is a mismatch between the urgent need to respond to the supposed recent deterioration in Australia’s strategic circumstances and the 2020 Force Structure Plan (FSP).

Posted in Defence/Security, Politics | Leave a comment

The militarised centre of Australia

I can remember the naive excitement with which I ventured up the Stuart Highway for the first time more than thirty years ago. Now I feel the weight of the creeping expansion of a militarised swathe running south to north … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security | Leave a comment

Our warmongering allies: the alliance, Part 2

In 2004 Janet Jackson flashed a breast (sorry, suffered a wardrobe malfunction) during the Super Bowl half time entertainment. The same day 109 innocent civilians were killed in a suicide bombing in Iraq.

Posted in Defence/Security | Leave a comment

How an Australian ‘safety adviser’ detonated the world’s first atomic bomb.

On July 16, 1945, an English scientist, later the founding Professor of Physics at the ANU and Menzies’ safety adviser for the British atom bomb tests,  detonated the world’s first atomic bomb at Alamagordo in New Mexico.

Posted in Defence/Security, World Affairs | Leave a comment

Double standards are a feature of Australian foreign policy.  We condemn China for doing what we and other countries do.

Australia should not assume that democracy is the one true political faith that everyone in the world wants. We have the right to uphold our beliefs but others have the same right.

Posted in Asia, Defence/Security | Leave a comment

The MH17 tragedy continues to unfold where geopolitics outranks truth

“The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow lively debate within that spectrum.”

Posted in Defence/Security, Media, Politics | Leave a comment

Australia’s national security laws leave us on a similar path to Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s new national security laws are attracting well-deserved condemnation. It’s a pity that there hasn’t been greater recognition that Australia’s own national security laws share some common features with those in Hong Kong.

Posted in Defence/Security, Human Rights, Politics, Top 5 | Leave a comment

Make peace not war, the language of military strategists

Politicians, defence strategists and media enthusiasts for the armed forces will use words from the Defence Strategic Update proposal to spend $270 billion on weapons for the military. Via the language of non-violence, it is also valuable to convey other … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, World Affairs | Leave a comment

Australia and the United States: the opposed fantasies at the heart of the alliance relationship

One of the refrains among those defending Australia’s alliance with the United States is that arising out of their  pasts, sharing a core set of moral and ethical values, political and economic arrangements, and visions of the desirable world order.

Posted in Defence/Security, Politics, World Affairs | Leave a comment

The 2020 Defence Strategic Update: Finding coexistence with China

There is little to quarrel with in Hugh White’s assessment of the uncertainties in East Asia. His counsel to the government on the way forward for strategic policy, on the other hand, is less satisfactory.

Posted in Defence/Security, Politics | Leave a comment