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The Forum > Article Comments > Defence: fact, folly and fiction > Comments

Defence: fact, folly and fiction : Comments

By Bruce Haigh, published 24/5/2012

Our defence, should be just that OUR defence, relying as much on diplomacy, trade and cultural exchange as weapons of war.

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Bruce, How refreshing to read a reasoned analysis of Australia's defence needs. I think it was Talleyrand who said that a country has neither friends nor enemies, only interests. Australian politicians since 1941 have miserably failed on that standard, involving Australia in a succession of wars that had no greater purpose than the protection of America's imperial interests.. Such policies have manifestly not been in Australia's interests. The expansion of the American military presence in Australia (not just Darwin) seems guaranteed to involve us in further American imperial ventures.
Posted by James O'Neill, Thursday, 24 May 2012 10:19:20 AM
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James,

I don't agree, i find the article pretty ordinary.

How ridiculous is it to portray Australia as being a puppet of the US when other naitons in the region also have similar security concerns.

Also, the US anti-Chinese? That is ridiculous given the role that country has played in helping create the opportunities for China to rise.

Gee whiz, now the US is supposedly void of any positive role just because it, and others, have concerns about the balance of power,an important consideration of any half-decent international relations scholar.
Posted by Chris Lewis, Thursday, 24 May 2012 10:42:47 AM
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Chris,

The U.S. at present is overly reliant on cheap imports from China - they are propping up the American economy. So it has a stake in economic machinations concerning China.

As for Australia being a puppet of the U.S....well yes it is, even if it's for reasonably sought security reasons. It's still incumbent upon us to align ourselves with the U.S. in all sorts of ways. It's a case of scratching each others' backs - always was.
Posted by Poirot, Thursday, 24 May 2012 10:50:02 AM
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As you distrust the US Bruce I suppose China is automatically more trustworthy...?

Wonderful stat use. Problem is your bright idea means Australia would need to provide for its independent defence - costing 15% of our GDP.

The increases to defence spending in the 1930s quoted by you are from an extremely low base at a time when Federal budgets were laughably low. Our armed forces were therefore totally unable to defend Australia in 1941.

Funnily enough the Japanese aggressors, seeking resources for their growing population (um, not like China?) were not impressed with the soothing words of Australia's diplomats. The soothing words of the League of Nations had long since failed.

We completely relied on Americans from 1942 to defend us from an enemy that bombed us.

In a region of rapidly growing nuclear forces and rapidly growing navies (that means India and China) it would be idiotic for Australia to cancel our alliance with the US. I suggest you read this and learn http://gentleseas.blogspot.com.au/2012/04/latest-news-of-agni-v-test-may-be.html .

As soothing words don't work too well aginst expanding authoritarian countries we would need to replace the American weapons we just cancelled.

As your idea, Bruce, effectively requires Australia to buy its own deterrent weapons including nuclear warheads on ICBMs and in nuclear submarines I'm totally with you.

Pete
Posted by plantagenet, Thursday, 24 May 2012 10:53:33 AM
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Chris,
You have a charmingly naive view of American foreign policy. Look at the encirclement of China by US bases, the latest three being provided for in Obama's latest visit to Afghanistan. What country has nuclear weapons in Taiwan, South Korea and Japan, all aimed at China?
What country is busy cozying up to sundry despots in the former Soviet Asian republics to the north of Afghanistan and establishing bases there?
Pete: You sure do like to set up straw men arguments. Foreign policy does not consist of making choices between the US and China. It surely does not mean engaging in an arms race with nuclear weapons and other fantasies that you like to dangle bewfore the gullible.
We neede a sane foreign policy based on a realistic appraisal of own own true best interests. I think the article added to that debate. It doesn't mean we stop thinking at that point.
Posted by James O'Neill, Thursday, 24 May 2012 1:37:18 PM
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We have a handful of front line fighters, pitiful air defences, 12 obsolete diesel powered submarines, and an army well trained but ill equipped. In short not enough to fight off anyone stronger than Fiji.

What makes it worse is that if there was trouble on the horizon, we no longer have the manufacturing base to ramp up our resources, unlike Finland, Germany etc.

The only cards we have on the table is suck up to the US and hope a base of theirs on our soil is a deterrent in itself.
Posted by Shadow Minister, Thursday, 24 May 2012 2:37:46 PM
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