AUKUS News, Views, Analysis.


weig2000

Captain
Australian Foreign Affairs magazine recently did an issue focused on Taiwan and Hugh White's contribution was typically blunt and refreshing: Reality Check: Taiwan Cannot Be Defended.

Here is a recent video discussion with Hugh White about that article:


There have been a lot of discussions around the lessons and takeaways from the current Russia-Ukraine conflict for a Taiwan situation including here at SDF. I'm not going to repeat them or go into any detailed discussion here in a thread on Australia. But it's worth highlighting what Professor White pointed out in this interview: the contrast between the power balance of Russia vs EU/NATO and that of China vs the rest of Asia.

Many years ago, the former Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Kuan Yew said at the time that the combination of the Asia including Japan and India would not be able to balance China in the not too distant future. He was talking in the context of justifying the necessity of continued US involvement in Asia. In fact, there isn't nearly the level of apprehension towards China quite like that which exists in Europe towards Russia. Japan is possibly the only exception. The ASEAN as a whole is not interested in taking side. The US has been trying to play up India, to its disappointment. India joining QUAD mostly because it felt the huge power disparity between it and China and needs some external balancing to send a signal to China. Over the last two years, it has started to dawn on them that they're not benefiting much from QUAD, instead they're being used as pawn in the great power competition. Australia is the only willing taker, without much pressure from the US due to its perceived racial and cultural affinity, but it's light-weight and too faraway. I've always been amazed by the way some Australian elites talking about China threat. What kind threat that China poses to Australia other than a hugely one-sided trade dependence? It's more psychological than anything else. As much as Australia's politicians and media have been attacking and insulting China non-stop, these days the Chinese media and public have largely treated Australia as a nuisance.

By the way, I don't think the efforts to turn AUKUS into an Asia NATO will be quite successful, or at least AUKUS will be ending up effective in containing China.
 
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redion

Junior Member
Registered Member
I don't know if this is the correct thread for this news but the Australian thread is closed so I post this news here.It's sims that Navantia have declared a full war on the Hunter class frigate (Australian version of the Type 26 ) of the RAN.
The objective is to have a second contract of 3 new Hobart class ships.(The study below is financed by Navantia )
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Lethe

Senior Member
As we near the 2022 Federal Election, Australian national security discourse is becoming ever more belligerent and unhinged. The defence minister, Peter Dutton, who aspires to lead the Liberal party and thereby Australia as a future Prime Minister, has used the occasion of the ANZAC war memorial services to
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against an "arc of autocracy", drawing explicit analogies between today's international political environment and that of the 1930s in the run-up to World War II. Though for some mysterious reason, Dutton is a lot more comfortable invoking Hitler's Germany in this discourse than he is Imperial Japan.

Meanwhile, the Morrison government has gone full Putin on Ukraine in its response to the Solomon Islands signing an agreement with China that could permit naval resupply and logistics:

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"Working together with our partners in New Zealand and of course the United States, I share the same red line that the United States has when it comes to these issues.

"We won't be having Chinese military naval bases in our region on our doorstep."

Mr Morrison would not say how he would respond if re-elected, if the "red line" was crossed and China did move to establish a military base.

He instead said that Solomon Island's Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare assured him it would not happen.

"So he clearly shares our red line," Mr Morrison said.

So much for respecting the autonomy and dignity of sovereign nations. :rolleyes:
 
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SAC

Junior Member
Staff member
Moderator - World Affairs
Registered Member
As we near the 2022 Federal Election, Australian national security discourse is becoming ever more belligerent and unhinged. The defence minister, Peter Dutton, who aspires to lead the Liberal party and thereby Australia as a future Prime Minister, has used the occasion of the ANZAC war memorial services to
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
against an "arc of autocracy", drawing explicit analogies between today's international political environment and that of the 1930s in the run-up to World War II. Though for some mysterious reason, Dutton is a lot more comfortable invoking Hitler's Germany in this discourse than he is Imperial Japan.

Meanwhile, the Morrison government has gone full Putin on Ukraine in its response to the Solomon Islands signing an agreement with China that could permit naval resupply and logistics:

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So much for respecting the autonomy and dignity of sovereign nations. :rolleyes:
As you know Lethe during Federal Elections in Australia, those "Right of Centre" always play the "national security" card against those "Left of Centre". It's wedge politics and is exactly what we see in U.S. politics wrt China.
 

Lethe

Senior Member
As you know Lethe during Federal Elections in Australia, those "Right of Centre" always play the "national security" card against those "Left of Centre". It's wedge politics and is exactly what we see in U.S. politics wrt China.

Some of what we have read and heard recently can be put down to sheer political opportunism in the lead-up to the election. The Morrison government's framing of Labor as "weak on China" and the Labor opposition's attack on the government for its "failure" to prevent the Solomon Islands from signing the agreement with China both fall into this category. But some things have implications beyond the current election cycle and I believe the two items I have posted about above are such.

Peter Dutton is an important figure for foreign observers of Australia to keep an eye on. Ideologically, he is the most belligerent political figure in the Australian foreign policy and national security apparatus. He is currently Minister for Defence and aspires for more. If the Coalition wins the next election he will maintain his preeminent role in shaping Australian foreign policy and national security discourse over the next term of government. If the Coalition loses the next election then it is likely that Morrison will be replaced as leader of the Liberal party. In that circumstance, the two figures most likely to replace him in that role are Josh Frydenberg (moderate wing) and Peter Dutton (conservative wing); the winner of that leadership contest will be in a position to contest for the role of Prime Minister in the 2025 election. So, Dutton and his pronouncements matter.

Recent developments in the Solomon Islands are another issue that is not confined to the electoral cycle. Morrison's statements about Australia's "red lines" in relation to the Solomon Islands are the first "stick" the Australian government has aired publicly, where most previous statements have been anxious but nonetheless relatively warm and fuzzy utterances regarding "our Pacific Family". Looking at the chronology here, it seems this shift in Canberra's rhetoric can best be accounted for by considering Washington's recent dispatch of a
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. My read is that Washington believes that Canberra has failed in its duty as America's
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in the Asia-Pacific region. Washington has had to come in and lay down the law to Honiara itself, and Canberra has been put on notice that the Empire expects better performance from its deputy going forward. As Australia's leaders are anxious for the nation to be seen as a useful and effective ally for Washington, this accounts for the recent evolution in Australia's public political messaging.
 
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Lethe

Senior Member
Peter Dutton is an important figure for foreign observers of Australia to keep an eye on. Ideologically, he is the most belligerent political figure in the Australian foreign policy and national security apparatus. He is currently Minister for Defence and aspires for more. If the Coalition wins the next election he will maintain his preeminent role in shaping Australian foreign policy and national security discourse over the next term of government. If the Coalition loses the next election then it is likely that Morrison will be replaced as leader of the Liberal party. In that circumstance, the two figures most likely to replace him in that role are Josh Frydenberg (moderate wing) and Peter Dutton (conservative wing); the winner of that leadership contest will be in a position to contest for the role of Prime Minister in the 2025 election. So, Dutton and his pronouncements matter.

So, the incumbent Coalition (Liberal + National) government has lost the 2022 election and will be replaced by a Labor government led by Anthony Albanese as Prime Minister, with Penny Wong as Foreign Minister. Notably, Penny Wong's father is from Malaysia of Chinese descent. As such, she is the most senior political figure of Chinese descent in Australia's history.

In terms of Australia's relations with China, we are looking at broad-level continuity (i.e. strategic antagonism) with some limited opportunities for improvement. There have been indications that Beijing is seeking to reopen dialogue with Canberra, while the inauguration of a new government provides Canberra the opportunity to distance itself from some of the more rancorous developments under the previous government. Essentially, the opportunity is there for Canberra and Beijing to "turn over a new leaf" if they want it. Nonetheless, any positive developments in the relationship will be constrained not only by the high-level of continuity between the international/strategic perspectives of the previous Coalition government and the new Labor government, but by external pressure from what is now the political opposition, aided by Australia's powerful right-wing media, chiefly the Murdoch press.

This brings me to Peter Dutton. As I predicted in my previous post, former Prime Minister Scott Morrison has resigned as leader of the Liberal party following his electoral defeat. An unexpected development is that the most prominent candidate to replace him from the "moderate" wing of the Liberal party, Josh Frydenberg, has also lost his seat. This leaves Peter Dutton, as the most prominent candidate from the "conservative" wing of the Liberal party, as the prime candidate to succeed Scott Morrison as leader of the Liberal party. I have written previously about Dutton's anti-China rhetoric. It is likely that this rhetoric will continue and, now that Dutton and his party are free from the responsibilities of government, become even more belligerent. It is quite likely, therefore, that Dutton will be in a position to contest for the position of Prime Minister at the 2025 election and that he will run on an explicitly anti-China platform.

And on that note I am going to repost what is likely to be the most entertaining Albanese-Dutton interaction that will ever occur:

 
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