The Strategist Hottest 10.0
25 Jan 2019|

There’s a famous countdown on at this time of year in Australia, and at The Strategist we thought we should jump on the bandwagon with a list of our most popular articles from 2018.

Unlike the triple j Hottest 100, though, we aren’t going to make you sit through hours of songs you’ve never heard before and which bring to mind questions like, ‘Is this really what young people listen to these days?’ (yes) and ‘Am I really that uncool?’ (probably—be honest).

As can happen with musical countdowns, 2018 saw some fan favourites re-emerge near the top of the list, and a previously unheralded newcomer take out top honours.

Sam Bateman’s piece about the implications for modern navies of the sinking of the Norwegian frigate Helge Ingstad after it collided with an oil tanker was our runaway number 1, even though it was only published on 11 December.

Despite missing out on the top slot, the F-35 dominated this year’s top 10. Discussion of the much-maligned joint strike fighter took out places 3, 4, 5 and 6 on the list. And it’s hard to see the topic going away for 2019 now that the first of the RAAF’s F-35s have arrived in Australia and a renewed debate is emerging about whether the ADF should acquire the short take-off and vertical landing F-35B too.

The next heavy hitter on the list was China. A perennial favourite among Strategist readers, China can be relied on to give us chart-toppers from a broad selection of strategic genres, from the alleged hacking of the African Union headquarters by Huawei brought to us in a Strategist special report by Danielle Cave, to its stabilising and friendly development of military installations all over the South China Sea.

Apart from our number 1, the list’s other real outlier in terms of subject matter came in second place. Nicole Forrest Green’s interview with the man who commanded Philippine ground forces during the siege of Marawi, Danilo Pamonag, was a rare insight into a conflict Australia has played a role in, and that’s now back in the news.

Some topics that have previously made the top 10 missed out this year. Indonesia, North Korea, Australia’s new submarines and Donald Trump didn’t crack the list as standalone subjects, though the US president’s diplomatic skills were arguably the catalyst for Marcus Hellyer’s F-35 piece and our subs did rate a mention in Richard Menhinick’s article about the need for a bigger navy.

Finally, we have to give a triple j–style shout-out to Andrew Davies, who has written ‘more Strategist pieces than any other sentient being, bot or roomful of monkeys with typewriters’. Andrew was definitely ‘not at all bitter’ about never having cracked the top 10 and finally did it in 2018, reaching the podium with his F-35 update from March. So, many thanks to you, our readers, for giving Andrew his ‘props’.

We hope you enjoy what we’ve got in store for the rest of 2019 too.

  1. Norwegian frigate sinking has far-reaching implications, by Sam Bateman
  2. Strategist Six: Danilo Pamonag, by Nicole Forrest Green
  3. F-35 update: the good, the bad and the unknown, by Andrew Davies
  4. Preparing for stormy skies (part 1): the RAAF’s future fighter force, by Malcolm Davis
  5. Talking Turkey about the F-35, by Marcus Hellyer
  6. The mangled myths dogging the joint strike fighter, by Brendan Nicholson
  7. The African Union headquarters hack and Australia’s 5G network, by Danielle Cave
  8. China’s South China Sea grab, by Brahma Chellaney
  9. A ‘clever’ Australia needs a larger, more potent navy, by Richard Menhinick
  10. China’s soft and sharp power, by Joseph S. Nye Jr