~ 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.