Biden ignored advice on how quickly Kabul would fall to Taliban

August 23, 2021

There are many reasons for the collapse of Afghanistan after 20 years of fruitless bloodletting and wasted treasure. But as with most debacles the primary cause is a failure of strategy and policy, not intelligence.

President Joe Biden is certainly complicit. But he is not the main architect of the Ghani government’s demise, a title that rightly belongs to Donald Trump the self-styled “master of the deal”. The businessman turned president committed the cardinal negotiating sin of gratuitously committing to withdrawing US forces – the main Taliban objective – thereby forfeiting all leverage in the farcical, drawn-out peace talks that continued right up to Kabul’s fall.
Read more

Australia a crucial hub for NATO in Asia

June 15, 2021

The Group of Seven meeting in Cornwall may well be a turning point in the democratic push back against China’s competing brand of assertive authoritarianism.

Having the US, Japan and the big European democracies on board will provide much needed moral and practical support for Scott Morrison’s determination to resist Beijing’s economic and diplomatic coercion.
Read more

NT ‘could be a forward operating base for ADF’

October 30, 2020

The worst pandemic in a century bookends a wider set of national security challenges that are shaking up entrenched habits and assumptions.
Great power rivalry is at levels unseen since the Cold War and the destabilising consequences are rippling through Australia’s maritime front yard to Darwin’s north. The worst pandemic in a century bookends a wider set of national security challenges that are shaking up entrenched habits and assumptions, forcing governments everywhere to rethink their strategies and operating models.
Read more

Defence needs smaller, cheaper, more agile weapons

November 11, 2019

The recent call for a defence reset by two former air force chiefs adds to the growing pressure on Defence Minister Linda Reynolds to review the strategy of the 2016 defence white paper and the structure and geographical focus of the Australian Defence Force.

Retired air marshal Leo Davies and his immediate predecessor, Geoff Brown, say our defence strategy is outdated and that the ADF is poorly equipped to deal with emerging threats to our maritime trade, China’s rapid military modernisation and the possibility of great power conflict in the region.
Read more

A new type of war at our door

August 10, 2019

The defence community has begun an important generational debate about the strategy, posture and structure the Australian Defence Force needs in response to the most challenging regional security environment we have faced since World War II.

Anyone who doubts that the long peace in Asia has come to a precipitate end need only scan the latest news to see the confluence of geopolitical disturbances that has turned our once tranquil region into a combustible zone of conflict and strategic ­rivalry.

Read more

West at risk as US loses military edge

January 26, 2019

The West is slowly losing the contest for pre-eminence in the emerging international order. Brexit is just one manifestation of the crisis of confidence enveloping liberal democracies beset by a rising tide of dissent, self-doubt, identity pol­itics and a loss of trust in the foundational institutions of the post-World War II order. Read more

Danger Ahead as Asia’s Long Peace Ends

September 3, 2017

The latest volley of North Korean ballistic missiles, one of which flew over northern Japan, has pushed tensions on the Korean peninsula to a perilous tipping point where war is no longer unimaginable. The real prospect of a military conflict between nuclear-armed North Korea and the US and its allies underscores the recent deterioration in Australia’s security environment. It raises the question of whether our foreign policy is calibrated for the challenges ahead in a world that is becoming a far more dangerous and volatile place.
Read more

This time, ignoring North Korean nuclear weapons is no longer an option

July 8, 2017

With exquisite political timing, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un effectively gatecrashed this week’s G20 summit and US Independence Day celebrations by test-firing his country’s first genuinely intercontinental ballistic missile on July 4.
We have become so used to Kim’s provocative missile diplomacy and the impotency of the international response it’s easy to dismiss this latest missile test as likely to elicit nothing more than the customary ineffectual hand-wringing.
But this time it’s different.
Read more

Getting too close to China could harm Australia

April 3, 2017

The rejection of the extradition treaty with China by an unusually diverse coalition spanning the political spectrum should be a reality check for proponents of closer ties with a country that shares few of our core values. Read more