Why Xi may well regret Beijing’s alliance with Putin

March 25, 2022

If an ‘unthinkable’ war can occur in Europe driven by one man’s delusions of grandeur, what is the likelihood of another’s igniting an even more destructive conflict in Asia?

Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine is a seismic geopolitical event. It’s shaping to be more destabilising and consequential than anything the world has seen this century, overshadowing Covid, the global financial crisis and the rise of al-Qa’ida. It has shattered Europe’s long peace; raised the spectre of a nuclear confrontation between NATO and Russia; widened the divide between the West and Eurasia’s autocratic states; and almost certainly ended Russia’s quest to be a Eurasian great power.
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Brace for war in our time

December 3, 2021

Australians must face the fact that China is determined to invade Taiwan — and in a China-dominated region we won’t enjoy the freedoms we assume are our birthright.
~ by Alan Dupont

It is often said that there are only two certainties in life – death and taxes. But war and conflict must surely qualify as a third.

Despite our best efforts, we have yet to eliminate the scourge of war. The good news is that when they occur, most conflicts never ­escalate to the level of last century’s two ruinous conflagrations. We have all been accustomed to peace for so long that uber optimists believe major wars have been consigned to the dustbin of history.
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How to protect ourselves if we come to blows with China

October 17, 2021

Ascertaining Beijing’s intent is difficult but past practice provides us with some valuable clues.

As the dust settles on the most consequential month of Australian defence and foreign policy in 70 years, Scott Morrison has signalled unequivocally that he wants a more lethal, capable and agile defence force fit for the times. And he’s not for turning.

Neither is Defence Minister Peter Dutton, who has been given the poisoned chalice of sorting out the procurement mess left by previous Coalition and Labor governments. Dutton is off to a good start. But there is much to do and time is of the essence.
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Worrying signs we’re on the brink of a new nuclear arms race

August 7, 2021

Beijing’s nuclear breakout should dispel any notion that the risk of nuclear Armageddon is long past.

There are worrying signs the world is on the brink of a new nuclear arms race. A regional conflict between nuclear-armed states could escalate quickly into a destructive global crisis with catastrophic consequences.

Fear that a conflict between the US and China over Taiwan could go nuclear is shaping the government’s risk assessments, strengthening the case to upgrade our missile defences for critical defence installations and operationally deployed units of the Australian Defence Force.
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Catching up in the space race isn’t a moon shot

May 29, 2021

China’s ‘God of Fire’ mission foreshadows a scramble for control of space — and Australia is being left behind.

The successful landing of China’s Zhurong “God of Fire” exploration rover on Mars is a major leap forward for the country’s ambitious space program, foreshadowing greater competition for control of space and its vast resources.

Rapid, reliable access to space is now an economic and national security imperative. Tthe Bank of America expects the value of the global space industry, estimated at more than $US424 billion in 2019, to reach $US1.4 trillion by 2030. There are around 3800 operational satellites orbiting the planet. Many more are planned, raising concerns about their vulnerability to attack by “malign actors” and damage from the estimated 128 million pieces of space junk in orbit.
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China strategy: Get a bigger stick with which to protect ourselves – Alan Dupont

April 30, 2021

In one of the more eventful weeks in Australian defence and foreign policy, the Morrison government terminated Victoria’s controversial Belt and Road Initiative deal with China; Defence Minister Peter Dutton declared that a war with China over Taiwan “should not be discounted”; Homeland Security Secretary Mike Pezzullo delivered a resonating speech about the “beating drums” of war; and Scott Morrison announced an upgrade of the Northern Territory’s training ranges in a move widely viewed as a response to China’s military build-up.
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Australia Cancels China Infrastructure Deal, Citing National Interest

April 22, 2021

Alan Dupont quoted in WSJ article:

ARTICLE— Australia’s federal government has canceled an infrastructure deal between China and one of Australia’s most populous states, following concerns that the arrangement could pose a national-security risk.

The state of Victoria, which includes Melbourne, Australia’s second largest city, signed on to Beijing’s Belt and Road initiative, a foreign-policy program in which China is investing billions of dollars in infrastructure projects world-wide.
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China-Australia relations: Beijing set to dominate refined oil exports in Asia-Pacific region

March 22, 2021

Cognoscenti Group quoted in South China Morning Post

Article: A rapid increase in China’s crude oil refinery capacity will see it dominate exports in the Asia-Pacific region, particularly to Australia where there are concerns of a vulnerability in the supply chain, analysts say.

Chinese exports of refined oil products to Australia rose from a few thousand tonnes before 2011 to nearly 300,000 tonnes at the end of last year, according to figures from China customs. And given the announced closure of two of Australia’s last four refineries, its reliance on imports is expected to continue on that trajectory.
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China’s threat to the US makes us a power player

March 12, 2021

There’s a seminal shift underway in Australia’s relationship with the US based on mutual need and Morrison’s determination to act more forcefully.
Originally published in The Australian.

In a historic geopolitical shift, ­Australia is emerging as a key ­alliance hub and partner for the US in Asia as the Biden administration moves to reshape and strengthen its military to meet China’s growing challenge.
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Fighting the dragon: we’re doing it wrong

December 28, 2020

As China slowly strangles our exports to break our will, Australians have responded with a range of emotions from anger and denunciation to self-blame and resignation. Difficult though it may be, we cannot afford to let emotion cloud our response to Beijing’s pressure tactics. Cool heads are required and, above all, an astutely targeted strategy that shields us from irreparable damage while working to stabilise the relationship and keep the door open to some form of reconciliation, no matter how distant the prospect.

But first we need to understand better why China is punishing Australia. This means cutting through the confused reactions and misperceptions that have obscured China’s real aims and tactics. Asserting we should “keep a low profile” or avoid “irritating China” is not a strategy.
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