Antarctica: coming in from the cold?

Since the April 2013 publication of my previous post on Antarctica, two events have added further to the picture of Australia’s strategic interests in Antarctica. The first was the release of a new defence white …

ASPI suggests

Last week’s Australian election  has raised the question of how the new Abbott government will manage our foreign and security policies. Here we have Michael Fullilove and Hugh White in the New York Times and …

For the bookshelf: Africa’s third liberation

It’s now time for Africa’s third liberation, according to Greg Mills and Jeffrey Herbst in their positive and uplifting book, Africa’s Third Liberation. In their construct Africa’s first liberation was from colonial governments—in essence the …

Don’t assume the PLA land force is a paper tiger

Concerns about China’s rising military capabilities usually focus on its naval, air and anti-access/area-denial forces, downplaying its ground forces. Some American analysts have great confidence in the ability of the US and of its regional …

China’s 10-dash line and cross-strait tensions

John Blaxland recently argued on The Strategist that China is largely responsible for tensions in the Asia–Pacific. Indeed, its new ‘10-dash line’ is likely to increase the fears of its neighbours about Beijing’s expansive territorial …

Abbott and Abe: allied Liberals

Just as the thumping victory by the conservative Liberal Democratic Party under Shinzo Abe in December 2011 over the ‘progressive’ Democratic Party of Japan is good for Japan–Australia relations, the thumping victory by the Liberal–National …

Syria: thinking twice

President Barack Obama’s 10 September address to the American people about Syria continues to send confused messages about the administration’s plans. Obama reasserts his authority to authorise a strike following the Assad regime’s use of …

Should India be a priority for PM Abbott?

Last week over on The Interpreter, Danielle Rajendram criticised what looks like the absence of India from PM-elect Tony Abbott’s priorities in Asia. China, Japan, South Korea and Indonesia are at the top of the …

Graph of the week: how ready do we need to be?

A few months back, Mark Thomson and I wrote about eight defence challenges for the incoming government. Some of them were obvious, such as getting the budget under control, managing the future submarine project and …

2% – can we, should we, will we?

The incoming government’s promise to boost defence spending to 2% of GDP within a decade has attracted a lot of commentary, including here, here and here on The Strategist. And well it should. It’s a …

Abe’s ASEAN tour

Abe’s recent trips to Southeast Asia show that Japan is turning once again to the region. Abe travelled to Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam in January — his first foreign tour since his re-election as prime …

2% of GDP: it might be logical, but is it rational?

Remarkably, there’s now bipartisanship in Australian Defence. Both major parties agree that the Defence Budget should be 2% of GDP. The only difference is the timing in getting there. While some express doubts, there’s a certain logic …

Asia Essentials: the US military chameleon

The Asia security system is to be constructed atop the foundations of the US hub-and-spokes of alliances in Asia—the San Francisco system, which is enjoying a burst of health and regional affection in its seventh …

ASPI suggests

The big story this week is still Syria, and expectation has reached a fevered pitch. The Economist writes that …The congressional votes and the action to follow [will be] one of those episodes that will …

Salami slicing ASEAN solidarity

No one can dispute the fact that the South China Sea has been a sea of contention in recent years. And now Malaysia has added confusion to the already torturous mix. Speaking to Bloomberg News …