Future of war not all drones and AI – Soldiers still matter

May 11, 2024

~ by Alan Dupont. Originally published in The Australian on 11 May, 2024.

The Gaza conflict is teetering on the brink of a messy and bloody climax. Israel’s decision to seize and bomb the border crossing into the southern city of Rafah, the last redoubt of Hamas, seems like another chapter in the grim annals of war – soldiers slugging it out in grinding, destructive battles that kill thousands of innocent civilians and destroy whole cities.

But a surprising number of decision-makers and military experts believe that wars are being revolutionised by technology, reducing the need for boots on the ground as machines take over in proxy, sanitised contests.
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The Ukraine war is at a crossroads – it’s time Europe stands up

March 19, 2024

~ by Alan Dupont. Originally published in The Australian on 19 March, 2024.

Europe has underinvested in defence since the end of the ColdWar, free-riding off the US. This is about political will, not capacity.

The war in Ukraine has reached a tipping point. Despite recent tactical gains and successful drone strikes on Russia’s energy infrastructure Kyiv’s prospects look increasingly bleak, not for want of courage or commitment by the undermanned and underarmed Ukrainian armed forces.
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A game of high stakes on the high seas

February 2, 2024

~ Alan Dupont. Originally published in The Australian on 2 February, 2024.

Awakened from a long, peace-induced slumber, Western countries are scrambling to address their naval ­deficiencies in the face of China’s unprecedented peacetime naval build-up, Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine and the Houthis’ attacks on shipping in the Red Sea.

But they are starting from a long way back.

Australia is no exception. Our navy’s capabilities have deteriorated alarmingly at a time when the need for sea power has never been greater. More on this later.

The Houthis’ targeting of ships that carried nearly 15 per cent of world trade through the Red Sea last year is the latest example of the growing threat to seaborne trade.
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‘Axis powers’ a formidable force for evil in 2024

January 9, 2024

~ Alan Dupont. Originally published in The Australian on 9 January, 2024.

Looking back on 2023, it’s hard to remember a more volatile year geopolitically. But in worrying echoes of the turbulent 1930s, there are signs that 2024 could be worse as the international order continues to unravel.

On November 1, 1936, Italy’s fascist dictator Benito Mussolini gave an impassioned speech to 250,000 fellow Italians. He declared a new friendship with Nazi Germany and a political realignment of the Italian state.

“This Berlin-Rome protocol is not a barrier,” Mussolini said. “It is rather an axis around which all European states animated by a desire for peace may collaborate on troubles.”
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How a modern polycrisis will innovate the future of business

November 22, 2023

Alan joined CEO of Business SA Andrew Kay on the ThirtyNiners Podcast, to discuss the current ploycrisis, and how developing a greater understanding of current and past geopolitical issues, can prepare South Australian businesses for incoming change, and the innovation required to evolve business strategies within this change.

Listen here…

Polycrisis as defined by Alan, is the recognition of multiple ​‘big system’ shaking events that are inevitable key macroeconomic risks facing businesses that inherently influence investment decisions.
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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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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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