Category Archives: Defence/Security

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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MIKE SCRAFTON. Rethinking Strategic Policy

Australia is faces an increasingly novel external environment. For strategic policymakers this means discarding as much old thinking as possible in order to understand the contours of that future. Crucially, the policymaker also must remain cognisant that the sine qua … Continue reading

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RAMESH THAKUR. Trump is Master of the Art of Making America Grate.

Trump’s decision yesterday to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal is a global tragedy likely to unsettle an already volatile Middle East and a world in some disarray. Trump has pulled out of the deal not because it was flawed, but … Continue reading

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MICHAEL KEATING AND JON STANFORD. Australia’s strategic risks and future defence policy; Part 2: Future defence strategy, capability and submarines

In this second article we discuss the need to develop a defence strategy that involves shifting from a force structure designed for coalition warfare to one optimised for the independent defence of Australia. We focus on the requirement for new … Continue reading

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MICHAEL KEATING and JON STANFORD. Australia’s strategic risks and future defence policy (Part 1 of 2)

Part 1: Australia’s strategic environment and the US alliance Two years ago the government selected the French company Naval Group to design Australia’s future submarine (FSM). We were highly critical of the decision at the time for a number of … Continue reading

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HENRY REYNOLDS. Australia’s perpetual ‘war footing’.

We should have paid more attention at the time. It was September 2013 and the Abbott government had just been sworn in. The new Defence Minister, Senator David Johnston, gave an interview to a Fairfax journalist which was reported on … Continue reading

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MICHAEL McKINLEY. War talk, China phobia and Australia’s Hobbesian choices.

Australia’s choices and policy debate on China are in need of clarification and rethinking.  Currently, they are mired in an idealised past which has gone and cannot be recovered but the resulting nostalgia, now indulged, requires accepting phobic propositions by … Continue reading

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BEVAN RAMSDEN. Glimmer of hope for peace on Korean Peninsula glows more brightly.

Technically North and South Korea are still in a state of war. The cessation of hostilities in 1953 ended in an armistice, not a peace treaty. Now South Korea says it is considering how to change a decades-old armistice with … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. The international press at Panmunjom for the KIm-Moon Summit were much more impressed than the Australian press.

I was  struck by the response, amazement and obvious excitement  of the international press at Panmunjom, near Seoul last Friday.  See link.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dw8mROuQs44  But the media interest in Australia seemed remarkably low key and almost disinterested.  At least our media … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, International Affairs, Media | 4 Comments

JOHN MENADUE. The Australian Strategic Policy Institute has become a ‘go to’ organisation for anti Chinese commentary

The important agents of influence in Australia are organisations linked ‘hip to hip’ to the US and its military/industrial complex. One of these is the Australian Strategic Policy Institute which is an enthusiastic supporter of almost all things American including … Continue reading

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SAM BATEMAN. South China Sea Encounters

Australian and Chinese warships recently had what has been called a robust but polite encounter in the South China Sea. This was always likely and the Australian Government has been correct in not over-reacting. Rather than unnecessarily confronting China, Australia … Continue reading

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DAVID STEPHENS. Lest We Forget again: Anzac Day is an opportunity to confront our violent frontier past and its shadow today.

Yassmin Abdel-Magied, a young Somali-Australian Muslim woman, was driven out of Australia last year after she implied that the Anzac sacred cow might be ready to graze new territory. ‘Lest. We. Forget.’, she said, ‘(Manus, Nauru, Syria, Palestine …)’. I … Continue reading

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HENRY REYNOLDS. Remembrance Day in New York: Anzac Day in Tasmania.

I was in New York during May last year. At the end of the month, there was a public holiday. It was their Remembrance Day. Not that much happened in New York. There were no flags, no marches or processions. … Continue reading

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SUE WAREHAM. Honouring the war dead means learning from the horror.

This Anzac Day, as on every other, we will hear of the horrors of war to which many of our service people have been exposed, horrors that certainly call into question any notion of us assuming the title “homo sapiens”.  … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, Media, Politics | 7 Comments

DOUGLAS NEWTON. Anzac Day: From respectful remembrance to festival of forgetting

Are our war memorials becoming sites for mere flag-waving? Should they feature exhibition halls boosting national pride in our military prowess? If so, Anzac Day itself risks descending into a Festival of Forgetting.

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DAVID JAMES. The big, bad business of America’s war industry.

The spread of militarism does not just involve creating the specific apparatus of war. As the Western allies flirt with starting World War III in Syria, it is worth examining some of the financial and business dynamics behind the United … Continue reading

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ALISON BROINOWSKI. Anzackery and the preening peloton.

When John Kenneth Galbraith was Kennedy’s Ambassador to India in the early 1960s, he reported that he had inspected a guard of honour and they seemed to him to be fine. His dry wit was lacking when the Murdoch media … Continue reading

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RICHARD FLANAGAN. Freedom means Australia facing up to the truth of its past. (Part 2 of 2)

We should, of course, question these things more. We could ask why – if we were actually genuine about remembering patriots who have died for this country – why would we not first spend $100m on a museum honouring the … Continue reading

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RICHARD FLANAGAN. Australians in WWI didn’t die for Australia. They died for Britain. (Part 1 of 2)

And so, the Monash Centre, for all its good intentions, for all the honour it does the dead, is at heart a centre for forgetting. It leads us to forget that the 62,000 young men who died in world war … Continue reading

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MICHAEL PASCOE. The reality of our ‘scary’ China confrontation.

Fresh on the heels of the Chinese invasion of Vanuatu that wasn’t, febrile minds have been seized by the headline-grabbing story of a Chinese navy “confrontation” with the Royal Australian Navy. The Prime Minister was quickly ready in London to assert Australia’s right … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, Defence/Security | 2 Comments

GREG HAMILTON. Dying for nothing, a-la-Australienne.

According to the oldest surviving veteran of The Great War, Sgt Ted Smout, dead at 106, our war dead died in vain. In his words, ‘they died for nothing’. He must have known something most of us don’t know for … Continue reading

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ANDREW FARRAN. Stalemate and Lawlessness over Syria.

On ABC News Radio (Monday 16th April) Paul Barrett, a former Deputy Secretary of DFAT and former Secretary of the Department of Defence was asked in an interview whether the military actions over the past weekend in Syria by the … Continue reading

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RICHARD BUTLER. Hypocrisy and Sanctimony: a Poisonous Brew.

The arguments advanced to justify the illegal US/French/UK attack upon Syrian CW related facilities incorporated buckets of sanctimony and numbing hypocrisy. There has been no serious discussion of the justification given by the three; because it was known to be … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. The Coalition and media myth about stopping the boats.

With the appointment of Angus Campbell as the new Chief of the General Staff we have witnessed again the repetition of the nonsense that the Coalition and Operation Sovereign Borders stopped the boats. As if the media farce over a … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, Refugees, Immigration | 3 Comments

MORTON HALPERIN, PETER HAYES, LEON SIGAL. Options for denuclearising the Korean peninsular

A critically important part of assembling the Korean peninsula-wide denuclearization jigsaw puzzle is the institutional and legal form of North Korean commitments on the one hand, and the nuclear negative security assurances by the NPT-Nuclear Weapons States (NWSs), especially the … Continue reading

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RAMESH THAKUR. Was DT Mouse-Trapped Into Attacking Syria?

Those of us of a certain age will remember the phrase ‘DTs’, short for delirium tremens: a rapid onset of confusion caused by an alcoholic’s immediate abstinence. Is the world suffering from a different set of DTs: the rapid-fire onset … Continue reading

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