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ASPI suggests

Posted By , and on October 11, 2019 @ 15:21

The world

Turkey has begun ‘Operation Peace Spring’, its military offensive in northern Syria against the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), following the US withdrawal from the area. The SDF is composed primarily of fighters from the Kurdish YPG, a long-time US ally that, according to Turkey, is a terrorist organisation. See two articles by Al Jazeera, one [1] for the latest developments and another [2] for how the world has reacted to Turkey’s offensive. The ABC [3] looks at the impact on civilians living in the affected area. Will Todman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies answers questions [4] on the implications of Turkey’s operation and the shift in US policy in the region.

It’s been an absolutely packed week in US politics. Despite both the White House and Republicans attempting to pressure Speaker Nancy Pelosi into holding a vote to formalise the House of Representatives impeachment inquiry [5] into the president, it’s well underway. Earlier in the week, Donald Trump’s White House announced [6] it would not be cooperating with the inquiry at all. The implications of this move were unpacked in an article by Vox [7]. Overnight, two associates of Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, were arrested [8] over alleged violations of campaign finance laws connected to both Ukraine and Russia. In light of all these developments, the ABC’s Huw Parkinson’s  take on the state of US politics, ‘Trump and the Giant ImPeach [9]’, is worth a watch.

What started as a single tweet has sparked an uproar of gargantuan proportions. Of course, we’re talking about the China–NBA saga [10]. On Sunday, Houston Rockets manager Daryl Morey tweeted in support of the Hong Kong protests, an act which before long caused a huge backlash in China and put the NBA—which is expanding its footprint in China—in the middle of a public relations nightmare. The ABC has published [11] an excellent piece looking at the use of outrage culture by the Chinese government to pressure companies and individuals into apologising and complying with its  censorship guidelines.

At long last, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Irish counterpart Leo Varadkar have announced [12] that they’re close to finding a solution to the problem posed by Brexit to the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. It remains to be seen what the agreement is, but as we near the 31 October deadline for Brexit, more details are sure to emerge shortly.

There’s been plenty of debate on The Strategist this week over current and future capabilities of the Royal Australian Navy. Starting on the surface, Malcolm Davis argues [13] Australia’s new Hobart-class air warfare destroyers aren’t fit for long-distance warfare and suggests the possibility of purchasing smaller surface ships with long-range weapons. Michael Shoebridge [14] takes us down to Davy Jones’ Locker to look at whether our Attack-class submarines will be future-fit when they enter service. Australian Defence Magazine [15] discusses the importance of submarines to Australia’s national security but acknowledges the challenges involved with our future force. And back to The Strategist, Brendan Nicholson looks at how the RAN is expanding its responsibilities in the region and discusses the future of the navy’s workforce with its chief, Vice Admiral Mike Noonan (here [16] and here [17]).

And for an extra read, see here [18] for a deep dive into North Korea’s testing of a submarine-launched ballistic missile on 2 October.

Tech geek

China’s 70th anniversary military parade showed that the communist party has put a significant amount of effort in developing advanced weaponry and state-of-the-art aircraft. That hardware was on show once again this week at the fifth China Helicopter Exposition [19] in Tianjin, where a mock-up of a new rotorcraft concept was unveiled [20]. Dubbed the ‘Super Great White Shark’, the concept looks like a flying saucer, and while it’s described as an ‘armed helicopter’, it’s unclear what it would be used for. Russia and the US have never successfully built a fully functioning flying saucer.

For a glimpse of what China’s future stealth fighter might look like, The Diplomat has a piece [21] which explores China’s future fighter capabilities beyond its J-20 fifth-generation aircraft.

A big theme this week has been the acquisition and development of new missile systems in the Indo-Pacific region. The Philippine Navy has announced that three more of its vessels will be equipped [22] with the Israeli Spike missile system in another positive development for the Philippines’ military modernisation. In less positive news, Reuters reports [23] that Japan may have to pay an extra US$500 million for additional tests of its US-built ballistic-missile interceptor system that haven’t been budgeted for. And in the US, a video [24] taken from a plane suggests the US is making strides in the development of its new W76-2 nuclear warhead. However, back in June the House Armed Services Committee rejected [25] a bill allowing the deployment of US low-yield nuclear weapons, throwing some doubt on exactly what was launched.

Away from missiles and flying saucers, the ABC has looked at [26] the impact 5G technology may have on Australia’s national broadband network. And finally, Sebastiaan Nijhuis and Iris Herrman have an interesting article [27] which looks into the consequences of the fourth industrial revolution on agriculture.

This week in history

On 7 October 1949, East Germany was officially formed. See here [28] for 43 facts you may not have known about Deutsche Demokratische Republik and here [29] for 10 of the greatest escape stories across the Berlin Wall after it was built in 1961.


See the first images of Turkey’s military offensive with Al Jazeera [30] as soldiers and machinery move into Syria to combat Kurdish forces in the region.

The Atlantic [31] investigates how water shortages are impacting one of America’s most agriculturally productive regions in California. There are some striking similarities with agricultural regions in Australia. [8:16]


Get the latest on the possible impeachment of Trump and the growing dissent among Republicans on CNN’s The Daily DC: Impeachment Watch [32]. [19:36]

Global Dispatches [33] this week focuses on the Turkish offensive in Syria, explaining the background to the situation and looking at what might happen next. [30:37]


Sydney, 15 October, 6–7.30 pm, Australian Institute of International Affairs: ‘Climate change and international relations: “ecomodernism” and the role of technological innovation’. Tickets here [34] ($25).

Canberra, 15 October, 6.15–7.45 pm, Australian National University: ‘2019 Wilson Dialogue’. More information here [35].

Article printed from The Strategist: https://www.aspistrategist.org.au

URL to article: https://www.aspistrategist.org.au/aspi-suggests-150/

URLs in this post:

[1] one: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/10/turkey-syria-border-latest-updates-191008131745495.html

[2] another: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/10/world-reacts-turkey-military-operation-northeast-syria-191009181335266.html

[3] ABC: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-10-11/as-thousands-of-syrians-flee-turkey-pounds-northern-region/11592524

[4] answers questions: https://www.csis.org/analysis/implications-turkish-intervention-northeastern-syria

[5] impeachment inquiry: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry-live-updates/2019/10/10/e46ddd94-eace-11e9-9c6d-436a0df4f31d_story.html

[6] announced: https://www.businessinsider.com.au/white-house-says-trump-wont-cooperate-with-dems-impeachment-inquiry-2019-10?r=US&IR=T

[7] Vox: https://www.vox.com/2019/10/10/20906172/trump-congressional-subpoenas-constitutional-crisis-impeachment

[8] arrested: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/10/us/politics/lev-parnas-igor-fruman-arrested-giuliani.html

[9] Trump and the Giant ImPeach: https://twitter.com/rabbitandcoffee/status/1180614037614120961?s=20

[10] China–NBA saga: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-49995985

[11] published: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-10-10/beijing-uses-outrage-culture-online-against-nba/11587534

[12] announced: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-49995133

[13] argues: https://www.aspistrategist.org.au/australias-navy-is-undergunned-for-denying-long-range-attackers/

[14] Michael Shoebridge: https://www.aspistrategist.org.au/australias-new-frigates-will-be-fit-for-the-future-our-submarines-should-be-too/

[15] Australian Defence Magazine: https://www.australiandefence.com.au/defence/sea/the-importance-of-submarines-to-australia-s-national-security

[16] here: https://www.aspistrategist.org.au/navy-chief-says-australia-is-carving-out-a-bigger-role-for-itself-in-the-region/

[17] here: https://www.aspistrategist.org.au/navy-recruiting-for-roles-that-dont-yet-exist/

[18] here: https://beyondparallel.csis.org/sinpo-update-significant-shrouding-activity-after-pukguksong-launch/

[19] China Helicopter Exposition: http://www.helicopter-china-expo.com/

[20] unveiled: https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/30281/china-reveals-flying-saucer-shaped-super-great-white-shark-armed-helicopter-concept

[21] piece: https://thediplomat.com/2019/09/beyond-chinas-j-20-stealth-fighter/

[22] equipped: https://thediplomat.com/2019/10/new-missile-armed-attack-craft-puts-philippine-military-modernization-into-focus/

[23] reports: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-japan-defence-aegis-exclusive/exclusive-as-north-korea-expands-arsenal-japans-missile-defense-shield-faces-unforeseen-costs-sources-idUSKBN1WC0CY

[24] video: https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/30170/amazing-cockpit-video-of-unusual-trident-ballistic-missile-test-may-point-to-new-warhead

[25] rejected: https://www.defensenews.com/congress/2019/06/13/low-yield-nukes-lose-partisan-fight-in-hasc-ndaa-markup/

[26] has looked at: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-10-10/could-5g-technology-make-the-nbn-redundant/11591924

[27] article: https://www.strategy-business.com/article/The-fourth-industrial-revolution-in-agriculture?gko=75733

[28] here: https://www.factinate.com/places/43-bizarre-facts-life-east-germany/

[29] here: https://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2014/11/07/berlin-wall-escape-stories_n_6090602.html?ri18n=true

[30] Al Jazeera: https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/inpictures/pictures-turkey-military-operation-northeast-syria-191009172058865.html

[31] The Atlantic: https://www.theatlantic.com/video/index/599635/dry-town-central-valley/

[32] The Daily DC: Impeachment Watch: https://podcasts.cnn.net/embed/single/skin/pajr24/republicans-are-pushing.html

[33] Global Dispatches: https://player.fm/series/global-dispatches-world-news-that-matters/turkey-invades-syria-as-the-united-states-abandons-the-kurds

[34] here: https://aiiansw.tidyhq.com/public/schedule/events/27060-climate-change-and-international-relations-ecomodernism-and-the-role-of-technological-innovation

[35] here: https://www.anu.edu.au/events/2019-wilson-dialogue

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