ASPI suggests
14 Nov 2012|

Reporting from Jakarta, I’m kicking off today’s ASPI round-up of reports and events on strategy, defence and security with an Indonesia acquisition story. Indonesia has moved one step closer to the purchase of German tanks with the signing last week of an agreement with Rheinmetall. The sale has been controversial; human rights groups have been concerned about potential misuse of tanks against Indonesian citizens, while other commentators say it’s simply about keeping up with the neighbours.

Keeping with a regional theme, CSIS’ Ernest Bower examines newly re-elected President Obama’s upcoming tour of Cambodia, Myanmar and Thailand. (ASPI’s Peter Jennings will provide his own perspectives later this week.) Bower gives some context to America’s shoring up support in all 10 ASEAN states as well as the burgeoning security relationship between the US and Thailand.

Next (and thanks to Iain Henry for this) is CSBA’s Andrew Krepinevich who has a new Foreign Affairs article ‘Strategy in time of austerity’ (available in full here). In the article, he argues that the US should focus on a strategy of ‘assured access’ and not conquest in Afghanistan and Iraq. Of note, Australia gets a mention, but not a glowing one:

The United States’ Pacific allies, such as Japan and Australia, might be willing to shoulder a greater burden in their region, but they have yet to augment their defenses enough to make a significant difference.

Moving onto Northeast Asia’s security, the Heritage Foundation’s Bruce Klingner provides a step by step explanation of what the US should do to improve military cooperation and interoperability between its forces and those of allies South Korea and Japan.

The Virginia class nuclear attack submarine is the flavour of the week. This week’s first capability piece is a US Naval Institute magazine article describing the very successful acquisition program that delivered this submarine.

Turning now to events; to coincide with Remembrance Day, the Australian War Memorial has a new photographic exhibition, ‘Remember me: the lost diggers of Vignacourt’, that covers aspects of Australian involvement on the Western Front.

Group portrait of two unidentified Australians with a French soldier. The man on the left also appears in P10550.027. From the Thuillier collection of glass plate negatives. Taken by Louis and Antoinette Thuillier in Vignacourt, France during the period 1916 to 1918.

Also this week is an AIIA presentation by former ABC Tokyo correspondent Walter Hamilton on the challenges of territorial disputes between Japan and its neighbours, and their potential implications for Australia, Thursday 15 November at 7pm.

Natalie Sambhi is an analyst at ASPI and editor of The Strategist. Image courtesy of the Australian War Memorial.