Category Archives: Defence/Security

KEN MOAK. US-led naval operation will not change China’s posture.

At the 2018 Shangri-La Dialogue, the defense ministers of France and the UK announced that their governments will send warships to join those of the US in challenging China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea  (Naval Today, April 6). … Continue reading

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RICHARD BUTLER. Singapore: Sound and Lights  

Trump told us that, in Singapore, he would make it up as he went along. It appears that he kept his word on that. Afterwards he told the world that if it all tanks, he will “make up an excuse … Continue reading

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MUNGO MacCALLUM. America’s frightened allies.

Donald Trump has spent the last three years scaring the crap out of his allies, but suddenly it has become serious.  His predilection for ruthless dictators, traditionally anathema to America and its allies, has now got to the point where those … Continue reading

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MACK WILLIAMS. North Korea – managing Donald !

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

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RAMESH THAKUR. The Kim–Trump Summit: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly (Australian Outlook. 15/6/2018)

Despite praise for Tuesday’s “unprecedented” meeting, there were good reasons why previous US administrations had refused multiple requests from North Korean leaders to meet. The results of the Kim–Trump summit so far can be divided into the good, the bad … Continue reading

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ROSEMARY O’GRADY. Meanings of War.

As war memoirs go, the horrors of the conflict concluded by the Treaty of Westphalia, 1648, have long stood in a class of their own. They are also the subject of the autobiographical, first novel of the German language.

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SIMON ROUGHNEEN. How Beijing is winning control of the South China Sea (Nikkei Asian Review 13/6/2018)

Erratic US policy and fraying alliances give China a free hand.  

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PEPE ESCOBAR. The key word in the Trump-Kim show

By reaffirming the Panmunjom Declaration, the US President has committed to bringing its military back from South Korea and thus a complete denuclearization of the South as well as the North.

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GARETH HUTCHENS. Australia should not join US in South China Sea operations, says retired defence chief (The Guardian 21/2/2017)

Activities in the South China Sea continue to be in the news.  Published below, are comments made in February last year by Sir Angus Houston, who was formerly Australia’s defence chief.  John Menadue.  

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TRAVERS MCLEOD. Fog of law in war not the Australian way

“We will never forget that 100 years ago a young and brave nation on the other side of the world made history by writing our history. Lest we forget.” So ended French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe’s tribute to the Anzacs … 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

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JOHN MENADUE The media are finding Chinese under most rocks.

The campaign run by some of our security agencies  and people close to them about the alleged  Chinese threat is getting great support from some  journalists.  The latest is Andrew Greene, the  security and defence  reporter at the ABC who … Continue reading

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JACK WATERFORD. Trust Labor on national security? Sure can’t. (Canberra Times, 9 June 2018)

The looming five by-elections are giving the government an opportunity to polish and rehearse one of the centrepieces of its re-election strategy for the next election – the argument that the alternative government – Labor – is fundamentally unsound on … Continue reading

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ABHISHEK MOHANTY. Renaming the US Pacific Command: Why Indo-Pacific?

In a pivotal move projecting a new set of national interests, US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis, barely a day before the Shangri La Dialogue began, announced that the US Pacific Command will now be called the US Indo-Pacific Command.  The name … Continue reading

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MIKE YEO. France is deploying forces to the Indo-Pacific for more than just a drill.

MELBOURNE, Australia ― France will be deploying a detachment of combat aircraft to the Indo-Pacific region for a major air exercise in Australia and for additional interactions with Asian air forces, as France seeks to increase its presence in the … Continue reading

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MIKE WALLER. Welcome to the Panopticon: time for an Australian bill of rights?

Panopticon: a circular prison with cells arranged around a central well, from which prisoners could at all times be observed (Jeremy Bentham).  Mr Turnbull has told Neil Mitchell security and police will be given extra power to conduct random checks … Continue reading

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MICHAEL McKINLEY. Australia’s China policy: who rules, who governs and the SAS connection

Australia’s China policy in recent days has moved from being a subject of heated and understandable debate and controversy based on argument and evidence, to a target of bureaucratic and organisational guerrilla warfare.  From within the state and parliamentary system, … Continue reading

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SAUL ESLAKE. The quest for ‘security’. Is it rational? Has it made us safer? And at what cost? (reposted from 23/2/2018)

In November last year, I gave an address to the Royal Society of Tasmania – the oldest such society ‘dedicated to the advancement of knowledge’ outside of the United Kingdom – at an event hosted by the Governor of Tasmania, … Continue reading

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ROSS GITTINS. The threat of terrorism in Australia is a scam that costs us dearly (SMH 25/7/2017)

This article by Ross Gittins was published on 25 July 2017 in the SMH.  Since then, the government has continued to ratchet up fear of terrorism.  This is a particular stock in trade  of conservatives – promoting fear- fear of … Continue reading

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ADAM NI. Despite strong words, the US has few options left to reverse China’s gains in the South China Sea.

At a top regional security forum on Saturday, US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis said China’s recent militarisation efforts in the disputed South China Sea were intended to intimidate and coerce regional countries.

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MICHAEL McKINLEY. Are we preparing to fight the wrong war : an interesting but lower order question.

In weapons systems, as in many other areas of life, Artificial Intelligence is being heralded as “the future for all humankind”.  This description is part of the problem: it comprises a submission to a fatalistic view of the future in … Continue reading

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LUCY BERAUD-SUDREAU. Asia’s defence budgets dispel ‘arms race’ myth.

Asian defence spending has not grown faster than the region’s economies – and the share of defence budgets allocated to procurement and R&D has held steady over time.

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WAYNE SWAN. Foreign influence and foreign donations in Australia.

The debate over foreign influence in our domestic politics and policymaking is an important one for our country – too important for political point-scoring and manipulation by vested interests and political vendettas.  

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RICHARD TANTER. Pine Gap electricity supply and the Ausgrid controversy

The giant Pine Gap intelligence and military base outside Alice Springs consumes a great deal of electricity to operate its intelligence-gathering and analysis operations.   It now appears that the Turnbull government’s rejection of a $25 bn. bid for the NSW-government … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE   Our security agencies are not accountable.

The performance and integrity of our security services is a serious national problem. These are particular problems for agencies which operate in secret and with few public checks. We have seen that they are prepared to upstage ministers and undermine … Continue reading

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SUE WAREHAM. How the Australian War Memorial has lost its way.

In a submission to the Joint Standing Committee on the National Capital and External Territories inquiry into Canberra’s national institutions Sue Wareham ,on behalf of the Medical Association for Prevention of War (MAPW) calls for major changes at the AWM … Continue reading

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IAN McAULEY. Dutton’s extended police powers won’t be confined to airports

Dutton’s proposal to allow police to stop people at random at airports has little if anything to do with community safety, and everything to do with his desire to extend police powers and to help the government in its bid … Continue reading

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TSEEN KHOO. What Anzac Day meant for Asian Australians.

This year, just before ANZAC Day, I read a poignant, insightful piece by Nadine Chemali about what new migrants to Australia really thought about Anzac Day.

Posted in Defence/Security, Human Rights | 4 Comments

MICHAEL McKINLEY. Australia, China and three fragments of militarisation in context.

The term ‘militarisation’ is the new portmanteau expression for describing China’s initiatives in the South China Sea; it is at once accusatory and exculpatory: China is the instigator, the Western powers and those Western-aligned (defensively-minded, and innocent) are exonerated from … Continue reading

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RICHARD TANTER. Tightly Bound: Australia’s Alliance-Dependent Militarisation.

Australia’s unique military and intelligence relationship with the United States, combined with the country being geographically a part of Asia but historically, culturally and intellectually identified with the Anglo-Saxon world, have significant implications for Canberra’s current military modernisation. Richard Tanter … Continue reading

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