ASPI suggests
28 Feb 2014|

Indonesian President Yudhoyono receiving new ambassadors, 30 January 2014.

‘As things stand, Indonesia’s relationship with Australia is unlikely to become a foreign policy priority in coming years.’ That’s one of the assessments from the Lowy Institute’s Dave McRae in a new report on Indonesia as a foreign policy actor. Dave concludes that, despite its size, Indonesia won’t emerge as a significantly more influential actor in ways that set it apart from other middle powers. If that’s the case, Australian policymakers take note: rather than assuming our future in the Asia Pacific is too heavily dependent on Indonesia, we might look for more cooperative and collaborative efforts on a peer-to-peer basis.

Sticking with the region, the team at New Mandala look at Thailand’s and Singapore’s respective bilateral relationships with Malaysia in 2014. Also, check out CogitASIA’s ‘By the Numbers’ this week, which features some key stats on the Aquino government’s plan to allocate more resources to upgrading the Philippine military.

Want some essential reading for the Apocalypse? War on the Rocks has you covered, with recommendations from Elbridge Colby, William Rosenau, Usha Sahay and Robert Zarate on books essential for understanding nuclear issues.

Watch Professor Sir Hew Strachan (video) at a recent IISS meeting discuss key elements from his new book, The Direction of War. He argues that the failure of the west’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan resulted from a fundamental misreading and misapplication of strategy itself.

The folks over at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA) have summarised the case for why aircraft carriers are still important and hence why the Pentagon should develop a new unmanned carrier-based aircraft. Some think tank analysts support the idea of a stealthy unmanned combat aircraft system (UCAS), in preference to the current Pentagon program to development an unmanned carrier-launched airborne surveillance and strike (UCLASS) one—the difference being the relative emphasis on strike and surveillance. In their opinion:

A long-range, stealthy UCAS operating from the Navy’s carriers would complement the Air Force’s fleet of land-based, long-range bombers and surveillance aircraft to project power globally and rapidly redeploy or “swing” between theaters to deter or fight multiple aggressors.

Keep reading here.

With the US set to end its involvement in Afghanistan 2014, the push for exploring unmanned systems is diminishing. CSIS has a new report that looks at sustaining the US lead in unmanned systems, paying attention to the increasing prominence of these platforms in homeland and law enforcement contexts.

Finally, how much does it cost to not buy an aircraft carrier? About A$327 million, according to France’s national audit office.

Natalie Sambhi is an analyst at ASPI and editor of The Strategist. Image courtesy of the official website of the President of the Republic of Indonesia.