Israel fights terror with one arm tied behind its back

November 18, 2023

~ Alan Dupont. Originally published in the Australian

Should Hamas be free to ignore the rules of international humanitarian law while Israelis are constrained in defending themselves by the laws that are meant to protect them?

The outpouring of pro-Hamas and anti-Jewish sentiment in the Middle East is hardly a surprise given the longstanding animosity between Arab nations and Israel over the intertwined issues of a Palestinian state and Israel’s right to exist.
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Labor’s hard-won security credentials hang in the balance

October 30, 2023

~ Alan Dupont. Originally published in The Australian on 30 October, 2023.

As security challenges mount, it’s politically untenable and strategically irresponsible for the Albanese government to maintain defence spending at just 2 per cent of gross domestic product.

In the six months since Defence Minister Richard Marles declared that Australia faced the most challenging set of strategic circumstances since World War II, a “polycrisis” of cascading, interconnected threats has worsened with the addition of the Middle East to the lengthening list of global flashpoints. The start of Israel’s much anticipated ground offensive doesn’t augur well for a speedy settlement of one the world’s most intractable conflicts.
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Tehran makes its move in a long, deadly game

October 26, 2023

~ Johnathan Spyer. Originally published in The Australian on 26 October, 2023.

Israeli forces are completing the final stages of preparation before the start of a ground offensive into Gaza. The goal of this offensive, according to statements by senior Israeli officials, will be to put an end to 16 years of Hamas rule over this area.

But even as the world’s attention remains focused on the narrow and dusty strip to Israel’s southwest, a far larger and potentially more consequential mobilisation is taking place across the Middle East.

From Lebanon to Yemen, via Syria and Iraq, the Iran-led regional axis of which Hamas is only a minor element is moving into position.
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US and China wage cable war deep beneath the waves

July 27, 2023

~ Alan Dupont, The Australian

A few weeks after the explosions that ripped through the Nord Stream gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea last September, a Russian spy ship was tracked and intercepted by the Dutch coastguard near a wind farm in The Netherlands’ territorial waters. Although the jury is still out on who was responsible for the explosions, Western intelligence is in no doubt that Russia has been systematically mapping Europe’s extensive subsea infrastructure.
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Why the US alliance remains our best defence

July 26, 2023

~ Alan Dupont, The Australian

Former foreign minister Bob Carr asserts in the opinion pages of this newspaperthat Australia should not get involved in a conflict over Taiwan.He writes that “loose war talk over Taiwan” risks “sleepwalking”
the world towards“the first war between nuclear powers”. The answer is “more spirited diplomacy”, guard rails and off-ramps.

A Taiwan that resembles Hong Kong would be preferable to a nuclear war and ourdefence force wouldn’t last long in a fight with China. The Lowy Institute’s Sam Roggeveen recently wrote in Inquirer that acquiring nuclear-powered submarines and allowing US bombers to operate from the Tindalair base in the Northern Territory effectively integrates Tindal “into America’s war planning” and makes us a bigger target. This calls into question the security benefitsof the alliance.

These are serious critiques that deserve a response. Let’s start with a fact check.
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Renewable superpower: Critical minerals are Australia’s ‘must have’ sovereign capability

June 24, 2023

~ Alan Dupont, The Australian

Rarely does a sparsely populated middle power get to play a leading role on the global stage. But could the continent’s rich critical minerals endowment make Australia a renewable energy superpower and rules maker in a world beset by geopolitical rivalry and the intertwined challenges of energy transition and climate change?

There are many who think so, including the previous and current federal governments. The preface to the 2022 Critical Minerals Strategy declared the Morrison government “is taking action to grow Australia into a critical minerals powerhouse”.
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Rethinking Sustainable Defence Forces: A Discussion with Dr. Alan Dupont

May 9, 2023

~ By Robbin Laird. Originally published at

In an earlier discussion with David Beaumont, I focused on the challenge facing the ADF of managing what I called the strategic triangle for force enablement.

That triangle is conceptualized in the featured graphic for this article. At the core of the triangle is the challenge of sustainability, the provision of supplies, magazine depth and what can produced by the allied arsenal of democracy.

At the 28 March 2023 Williams Foundation Seminar, Dr. Dupont looked at the sustainability challenge as understood in terms of the capabilities of the defence industrial base. He provided an assessment of the significant limitations facing the Western industrial base to support sustainable defense forces which could endure through a significant period of conflict.
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Dr. Alan Dupont AO: The End of History and the Polycrisis (Lonsec Symposium, 2023)

May 4, 2023

Prominent American political scientist, Francis Fukuyama, thought the end of the Cold-War marked the end of ideological conflict. But history has come roaring back as ideological divisions divide the world once more and geopolitical risk escalates. The world is facing a polycrisis. Multiple systemic disturbances – from the Ukraine conflict to rising US-China tensions, accelerating deglobalization and a high stakes tech war – are creating the most volatile, unpredictable and challenging investment environment since World War 2.

~ Keynote presentation at Lonsec Symposium, 4 May 2023 in Sydney.

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It’s time to raise the stakes in critical minerals contest

May 2, 2023

~ Alan Dupont

As the fossil fuel era fades, critical minerals are set to become the new oil. If not yet ubiquitous, they are the sinews of the emerging green and hi-tech economies.

They are also crucial for defence because they “power the weapons that determine geopolitical primacy”, says security analyst Liam Gibson. Defence needs rare earths for a vast array of applications, including smart bombs, radar, communication systems and advanced fighter aircraft.

This means that they are a strategic asset as well as an economic resource. Only a few minerals have played this role historically.

Silver needed for coinage in ancient times and oil, which still lubricates the wheels of transport and industry, are among them.

The problem for the world is that China has cornered the market in critical minerals, especially the 17 rare earths that are processed into high-value tech metals.
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Defence Strategic Review: Bold changes send clear message to potential enemies

April 25, 2023

~ Alan Dupont

Shrewdly timed to coincide with Anzac Day commemorations, the Albanese government has taken a major step forward in delivering on its promise to make the ADF a more “impactful” force, with the much-anticipated release of its response to the Defence Strategic Review. This sends an unambiguous signal to potential adversaries that while Australia is committed to preserving the peace, we won’t be a pushover if it comes to a fight.

The ADF is now set on a path of transformation – from a boutique force with niche capabilities but little punch to a harder, more lethal, self-reliant military that is also more interoperable with allies and friends. Higher levels of interoperability will be crucial to offset the advantages that autocracies have in their ability to mobilise resources and prosecute the untrammelled ambitions of their rulers.
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