The Strategist top 10
26 Jan 2021|

It’s time for Australia’s second most hotly anticipated annual countdown. That’s right, the top 10 articles of the year as determined by you, dear Strategist readers, through your clicks.

In a year dominated by the Covid-19 pandemic, you’d be forgiven for thinking that our most popular articles would be analysis and examination of the novel coronavirus that emerged in Wuhan a little over a year ago. We certainly had no shortage of those to pick from.

Instead, you decided that you had Covid information overload and not one of our top 10 articles was about the pandemic and its effects.

As is the case every year, the list includes pieces on a wide variety of topics, ranging from border clashes to military acquisitions and even fisheries.

Every article in the list bar one was published in the second half of 2020, including two that we posted on 24 December. One of those two was our number 10, Jonathan Lim’s piece on China’s Chang’e-5 mission to the moon. Next, a perennial reader favourite, Brahma Chellaney, came in at number 9 with his September piece on the cost to China of its deadly border clashes with India in the Himalayas—an issue that’s still playing out today.

In a first for this annual list, the next spot went to one of a monthly series started by ASPI’s Malcolm Davis and Charlie Lyons Jones with their ‘China military watch’ instalment for December.

The Strategist’s own Brendan Nicholson was next with his interview with Royal Australian Air Force chief Mel Hupfeld about the RAAF’s preparations for increasing conflict in the grey zone. From the air force to the army, Marcus Hellyer’s piece examining the strategy (or lack thereof) for Australia’s new armoured vehicles came in at number 6.

Moving to our nearest neighbour, Jeffrey Wall’s look at plans for a $200 million Chinese fishery project in Papua New Guinea was at number 5.

Two very different aspects of the Australian Army came in at 3 and 4, with fourth spot taken by Malcolm Davis’s examination of the project to replace the Tiger armed reconnaissance helicopter, and former soldier Jonathan Huston’s piece on the Special Air Service Regiment in the wake of the damning Brereton report into war crimes in Afghanistan taking third.

Coming in at number 2 was ASPI’s Nathan Ruser with another of his always popular deep analyses of satellite imagery, this time looking at the anatomy of the China–India border clash.

And the top piece for 2020—despite having been published on Christmas Eve, with just eight days in which to rack up a record number of reads—was aviation journalist Bradley Perrett’s article about Japan’s plans for its next fighter jet.

Despite the many challenges of the year, our audience has once again grown and we have all of you to thank for helping us make The Strategist the best site in Australia for analysis and commentary on foreign affairs, defence and national security issues.

Here’s the full top 10 for 2020:

10. China’s Chang’e-5 mission: flagging the moon for conflict? by Jonathan Lim

9. China is paying a high price for provoking India, by Brahma Chellaney

8. China military watch no. 5, by Malcolm Davis and Charlie Lyons Jones

7. Air force chief says RAAF ramping up preparations for ‘grey zone’ missions, by Brendan Nicholson

6. What’s the strategy for the Australian Army’s new vehicles? by Marcus Hellyer

5. China to build $200 million fishery project on Australia’s doorstep, by Jeffrey Wall

4. The eye of the Tiger: Is the Australian Army preparing for the right conflict? by Malcolm Davis

3. The anatomy of the Special Air Service’s descent into a one-battalion army, by Jonathan Huston

2. Satellite images show positions surrounding deadly China–India clash, by Nathan Ruser

1. Japan going ahead with ‘Godzilla’ fighter jet, by Bradley Perrett

We’ll be back to our usual programming tomorrow after a short break for the Australia Day public holiday.