Category Archives: Defence/Security

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 | 8 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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MIKE SCRAFTON. Unquantifiable strategic madness of war on Iran

There have been reports that President Trump is less enthusiastic about attacking Iran than his advisers. For the moment, an unanticipated source of sanity. The current US posturing against Iran seems confected. It also seems mad. A US attack on … Continue reading

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CAMERON LECKIE. The global war of terror and the demise of the empire

As a young Army officer, watching Prime Minister John Howard’s announcement of the deployment of Australian military forces to Afghanistan in late 2001, I remember the extreme disappointment from both my soldiers and I that we would not be going … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security | 4 Comments

MICHAEL McKINLEY. Returning to the time of “Able Archer” and Australia’s need to remember 1983

Nearly thirty-six years ago NATO carried out its annual Able Archer command post exercise designed to simulate an escalation in conflict with the USSR and the Warsaw Pact nations which culminated in a coordinated nuclear attack against the Soviet homeland.

Posted in Defence/Security | 3 Comments

DAVID WROE AND DANA McCAULEY. Sack ‘nutter’ spy chiefs to fix relations with Beijing, Paul Keating urges (SMH 6.5.2019)

Former prime minister Paul Keating has launched an extraordinary attack on Australia’s spy chiefs, calling them “nutters” and urging Bill Shorten to sack them to improve relations with China if he wins the election.  

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

AMY ZEGART AND MICHAEL MORELL. Spies, Lies, and Algorithms. Why U.S. Intelligence Agencies Must Adapt or Fail. (Foreign Affairs 20.4.2019)

For U.S. intelligence agencies, the twenty-first century began with a shock, when 19 al Qaeda operatives hijacked four planes and perpetrated the deadliest attack ever on U.S. soil. In the wake of the attack, the intelligence community mobilized with one … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, International Affairs | 3 Comments

MIKE SCRAFTON. The rules-based international order; or a ‘dead parrot’.

Strategic policy is perhaps the most challenging area of government. For decades policy settings have largely been perfunctory with the US alliance occupying the central place. The post-Cold War setting of a single dominant hegemon has meant policy makers haven’t … Continue reading

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VACY VLAZNA. The Sarafand Massacre and Anzac Cover-up, Part 2

Cover-ups are a reprehensible part and parcel of military history and testimonies collected on Australian Military History of the Early  20th Century: Desert Column siteare tainted with fundamental lies and racist justifications that have become the prototype for subsequent historical … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, International Affairs | 5 Comments

MIKE SCRAFTON. China in Australia’s Defence and Strategic Policy

An incoming government addressing China in defence policy and strategic policy must overcome the natural impulse to assume the future will be a linear projection of the present. There is no reasonable scenario in which a major war in East … Continue reading

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VACY VLAZNA. The Sarafand Massacre and Anzac Cover-up, Part 1

In the early winter of 1918, the wheat, barley and sesame fields of Sarafand al-Kharab lay fallow. Oranges, figs, almonds and olives had been harvested, the summer honey stored. At night the goats and sheep were  brought into the warmth … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, International Affairs | 1 Comment

GREG LOCKHART. What we forget on Anzac Day.

On the first Anzac Day, 25 April 1915, the Australian Imperial and New Zealand Expeditionary Forces landed at Gallipoli. On Anzac Day 2019, Anzac forces are again in the Middle East – and Afghanistan – this time sixteen years after … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. Best we forget – the Frontier and Maori Wars. An update

 The Frontier Wars were the most destructive and decisive in our history. The first war we fought alongside ‘New Zealanders’ was not at Gallipoli in 1915 but in the Maori Wars in the middle of the nineteenth century. Yet both … Continue reading

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DAVID STEPHENS. Beneath the tumult and the shouting: Anzac Day as a private experience.

Anzac should be mostly private. It should be about the quiet, within-family, remembrance of – and caring about – people who have suffered in war, those who have been killed and not come home, those who have come home injured … Continue reading

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BRUCE HAIGH. There is no business like show business.

The relationship between John Howard and former AFP Commissioner, Mick Keelty, put the AFP in a bad place from which it has not recovered. The solution is a full blown inquiry followed by reform, a change of culture and better … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security | 3 Comments

BEVAN RAMSDEN. Do the US Marines in Darwin pose a risk to our peace and security?

A recent US war exercise involving US Marines landing, capturing and securing an island off the coast of Okinawa is touted as a new US military strategy to use in its challenge to China in the South China Sea.  Is … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, International Affairs | 8 Comments

DUNCAN GRAHAM Kingsford Smith forecast: Expect churls Inbox x

In his 9 April post on this website ANU Professor Ramesh Thakur put the question: Who Will Bell the Sydney Airport Security Madness?  The expert on disarmament then asked: Is it possible that pranksters with a perverse sense of humour are in charge of … Continue reading

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MIKE SCRAFTON. Political leadership and the next war.

If there is any consensus among commentators on geopolitics and strategic policy, it is that the world is entering into uncertain and dangerous times. In the term of the next Australian government political leadership could confront grave situations requiring decisions … Continue reading

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MIKE SCRAFTON. Warner’s blinkered warnings

Geraldine Dooge interviewed Nick Warner Director General of the Office of National Intelligence (podcast) for Radio National. As Warner is the principal adviser to the Prime Minister on intelligence matters his assessments of the strategic environment are of great interest.

Posted in Defence/Security | 2 Comments

RAMESH THAKUR. Who Will Bell the Sydney Airport Security Madness?

Is it possible that pranksters with a perverse sense of humour are in charge of security procedures at Sydney International Airport? Perhaps they are trying to test the limits of traveller tolerance. If so, they might be close to succeeding … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, Human Rights | 4 Comments

YELENA BIBERMAN, JARED SCHWARTZ. Pakistan is ready for stability in Afghanistan (East Asia Forum).

The Afghan government has an unexpectedly ardent advocate in current peace negotiations between the United States and Taliban—Pakistan. This surprising supporter has been providing sanctuary to the Taliban, thereby placing a pricey bet on its alleged proxy’s recapture of Afghanistan … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, International Affairs | 1 Comment

MIKE SCRAFTON. The Golan Heights: Whose rules?

President Trump has recognised the 1981 Israeli annexation of the Golan Heights. Whatever Trump’s motives—genuine concern for Israel’s security, geostrategic positioning in the struggle against Iran, fulfilling a divine mission, or domestic politics—his act raises important geopolitical issues and questions … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security | 7 Comments

JAMES O’NEILL. Australian defence strategy still locked in a past era

According to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald (25 March 2019) the coalition government, if re-elected, would spend $2.5 billion on an air defence system. The object of the expenditure is said to “bolster Australia’s capacity to intercept enemy … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security | 6 Comments

MIKE SCRAFTON.Extremism and race: slaying the phantom

There will be many views on the priority to be given to domestic race-based extremism and the best way in which it should be approached. Recently, Mike Pezzullo didn’t mention race-based violence among his ‘seven gathering storms’ facing Australia. An … Continue reading

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MIKE SCRAFTON. Defending against the sacrificial knight errant on an existential crusade

Hopefully the security agencies won’t simply default to the jihadist archetype in their response to the atrocity in Christchurch, as the media has. Distinguishing between motives of the perpetrators of such unpardonable acts and understanding the internal logic by which … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security | 3 Comments

JAMES O’NEILL. The Douma “chemical attack”: still waiting for an apology.

On 7 April 2018 an alleged chemical attack took place in the city of Douma in the Syrian Arab Republic. Dramatic footage of the “victims” was widely broadcast throughout the western mainstream media. Particularly prominent were images of children foaming … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, International Affairs | 15 Comments

MIKE SCRAFTON. Another American civil war?

The silhouette of yet another potential catastrophe is beginning to take shape. To add to the dissolution of the post war global order, global warming, mass species extinction, and great power conflict, there seems now the prospect of a post-Trump … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security | 2 Comments

MACK WILLIAMS. Bolton’s Syria “Fix” ?

The international focus on the failed Hanoi Summit and affairs Korean has diverted attention from the looming issues in Syria as the IS caliphate ‘disappears’. Media commentary around the shrinking IS presence on the ground in Syria and the significant … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, International Affairs | 4 Comments