Archive for the ‘weapons and war’ Category

Aukus plan to expedite Australia’s nuclear sub construction an act of nuclear proliferation under ‘naval nuclear propulsion’ cover: Chinese mission to UN

September 26, 2022
Image from Global Times By Leng Shumei and Hu Yuwei , Sep 26, 2022 , The Chinese mission to the UN in Vienna warned in an exclusive statement sent to the Global Times on Sunday that the latest move by AUKUS to plan to expedite Australia’s nuclear submarine construction is a blatant defiance of and trampling on the international nuclear non-proliferation system, and is an act of nuclear proliferation under the pretext of “naval nuclear propulsion.” 

A spokesperson of the Chinese mission to the UN and other international organizations in Vienna made the comment after leaders of the US, UK and Australia said on Friday marking the one-year anniversary of the AUKUS security pact that they have made “significant progress” toward Australia acquiring a nuclear-powered submarine. 

In disregard of the serious concerns of the international community on the trilateral nuclear submarine deal, the US is insisting on and even making reckless remarks about accelerating the deal, which is a blatant defiance of and trampling on the international nuclear non-proliferation system, the spokesperson told the Global Times in the statement. 

China has repeatedly pointed out that the nuclear submarine deal among the three countries violates the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), the IAEA Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement (CSA) and Additional Protocols (AP). It is an act of nuclear proliferation under the pretext of “naval nuclear propulsion,” the statement noted.

The US regards China as an “imaginary enemy.” The act of inciting Indo-Pacific competition seriously undermines regional peace and stability, which shows that the US has a wrong understanding of China, of the world and of itself, it said.  

We hope that the US side will abandon the Cold War mentality, abandon the use of nuclear submarine cooperation among the three countries to contain China, abandon the trampling of international rules for geopolitical purposes, and work with China to implement the important consensus of the two heads of state, and practice mutual respect, peaceful coexistence, win-win cooperation, and shoulder the responsibility of a major country, read the statement.

Leaders of the US, UK and Australia said in a statement on Friday “We are steadfast in our commitment to Australia acquiring this capability at the earliest possible date,” according to Reuters.

The Biden administration is exploring an arrangement to expedite Australia’s acquisition of nuclear-powered submarines to respond to China’s growing military might by producing the first few submarines in the US, The Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday, citing some Western officials.

The idea is to provide Australia with an initial nuclear-powered fleet by the mid-2030s, while a longer-term effort is under way to give Australia the capability to produce nuclear-power submarines at home, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Chinese experts warned that Australia should also be alert that it is sleepwalking into a US trap to serve as the latter’s pawn in the US’ strategy against China. But they also believed that it would not be easy to implement the plan given the lack of spare shipbuilding capacity in the US and in Britain. 

In August, the US admiral in charge of building new Columbia-class ballistic missile submarines said producing nuclear-power subs for Australia would interfere with the US’ efforts to build its own submarines unless a major effort was made to expand the American industrial base, according to the Wall Street Journal.

It is questionable how feasible the plan actually is, Chen Hong, president of the Chinese Association of Australian Studies and director of the Australian Studies Centre at East China Normal University, told the Global Times on Sunday.   

The nuclear-powered submarine deal under AUKUS is a blatant, irresponsible act of nuclear proliferation, and once again proves that AUKUS countries are practicing a “double standard” on nuclear non-proliferation and using the deal as a tool for geopolitical gamesmanship, Ambassador Wang Qun, China’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Vienna, told the Global Times in a recent exclusive interview.

Song Zongping, a Chinese TV commentator, warned it is already a fact that the US is dedicated to nuclear weapons proliferation. 

But more importantly, the US is pushing its frontier against China to Australia by weaponizing Australia with nuclear submarines. The Australia’s nuclear-submarine fleet would be a squadron of and be controlled by the US, Song noted.    

In the Friday statement, the AUKUS leaders – US President Joe Biden, UK Prime Minister Liz Truss and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese – also said they had made “significant strides” in other areas, including hypersonic weapons, cyber, electronic warfare capabilities and additional undersea capabilities, according to Reuters.

Chen warned that by enhancing cooperation under AUKUS in these aspects, Australia does not understand that it is actually sleepwalking into a trap to serve as a pawn for the US’ strategy against China.    

Currently, the nuclear-powered submarine deal under AUKUS attracts the most attention, but cooperation under AUKUS is far more complex as the organization’s long-term strategic aim is to contain China’s development, Chen noted.       

Australia is being pushed into the teeth of the storm in the US’ strategy against China. It should be on high alert that it probably is sacrificing its own national security for other countries’ national interests, Chen warned.

Aw gee shucks – Australia can be IMPORTANT if we lead USA’s attacks with our AUKUS submarines !

September 17, 2022

Marles said nuclear subs would make “the rest of the world take us seriously,

Final design and cost of Australia’s nuclear submarines to be known in early 2023, Defence minister Richard Marles links the cutting-edge technology to Australia’s economic and trade success

Guardian, Josh Butler, Thu 15 Sep 2022 The defence minister, Richard Marles, says Australia’s pathway to acquiring nuclear submarines is “taking shape”, flagging key decisions within months about which ship to use, how to build it and boosting the country’s defence-industrial capability.

On the first anniversary of the Aukus pact, Marles said nuclear subs would make “the rest of the world take us seriously”, linking the cutting-edge technology to Australia’s economic and trade success.

Final design and cost of Australia’s nuclear submarines to be known in early 2023

Defence minister Richard Marles links the cutting-edge technology to Australia’s economic and trade success…………………………….

On the first anniversary of the Aukus pact, Marles said nuclear subs would make “the rest of the world take us seriously”, linking the cutting-edge technology to Australia’s economic and trade success.

“The optimal pathway is taking shape. We can now begin to see it,” he said. “With Aukus there’s a really huge opportunity beyond submarines of pursuing a greater and more ambitious agenda.”……..

Marles, also the deputy prime minister, said the first steps toward acquisition of nuclear submarines were on track. In a briefing call with journalists this week, he said the current timeline had Australia slated to make initial announcements in the first part of 2023.

The government plans to give answers to five questions by that time: the final design; when it can be acquired; what capability gap that timeline will create and solutions to plug it; the cost; and how Australia’s plans comply with nuclear non-proliferation obligations.

The government is said to be choosing between building American or British ships, or some hybrid. Marles said the government was not ready to announce which type of submarines would be built but hinted Australia’s design could be “trilateral” in nature………..

In a press conference with Marles in the UK earlier this month, the British defence secretary, Ben Wallace, said future submarine designs may see a combination of British, American and Australian components.

“We are on to our next design and our new one and that might well be fully shared with all three nations as a collaborative design,” he said.

The cost of the submarine program is not yet known but is expected to be in the tens of billions. Marles linked the Aukus arrangement not only to military but economic security, saying a boosted submarine fleet would protect freedom of navigation through vital shipping routes.

“We need a highly capable defence force which has the rest of the world take us seriously and enables us to do all the normal peaceful activities that are so important for our economy,” he said………

V Adm Jonathan Mead, the chair of the nuclear submarine taskforce, also spoke of protecting “sea lanes” on the call.

Mead said the navy was investigating workforce challenges, such as how to build and crew the ships – which may involve placing Australian staff in British and American nuclear schools or agencies, laboratories and shipyards

“The exchange of these personnel will be both ways and won’t just involve our submariners,” he said.

Facilities to build and maintain the submarines in Australia are part of the equation. Defence this year pinpointed Brisbane, Newcastle and Port Kembla as possible sites for an east coast nuclear base and consultation with those communities is said to be in its early stages.

Marles also spoke of building Australia’s defence-industrial capability on the back of the nuclear process…………………..“We hope Aukus can help develop a genuinely seamless defence industrial base across the US, the UK and Australia.”…………………….

A report from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (Aspi), released on Thursday, recommended further investment in other Aukus streams like hypersonic missiles and artificial intelligence technology, to help plug a capability gap while the submarines are built………..

Such short-term investment may force government to make “difficult choices and trade-offs” in its defence strategic review, also slated for March, Aspi said.

China, AUKUS clash over nuclear subs

September 17, 2022

By Francois Murphy, South Coast Register, September 17 2022  China has clashed with the countries in the AUKUS alliance at a meeting of the UN nuclear watchdog over their plan to supply Australia with nuclear-powered submarines, capping a week in which Beijing has repeatedly railed against the project.

Under the alliance between Washington, London and Canberra announced last year, Australia plans to acquire at least eight nuclear submarines that International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Rafael Grossi has said will be fuelled by “very highly enriched uranium”, suggesting it could be weapons-grade or close to it.

To date no party to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) other than the five countries the treaty recognises as weapons states – the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France – has nuclear submarines.

The vessels can stay underwater for longer than conventional subs and are harder to detect.

“The AUKUS partnership involves the illegal transfer of nuclear weapon materials, making it essentially an act of nuclear proliferation,” China said in a position paper sent to IAEA member states during this week’s quarterly meeting of the IAEA’s 35-nation Board of Governors……………………

The AUKUS countries and the IAEA say the NPT allows so-called marine nuclear propulsion provided necessary arrangements are made with the IAEA.

China disagrees in this case because nuclear material will be transferred to Australia rather than being produced by it.

It argues the IAEA is overstepping its mandate and wants an unspecified “inter-governmental” process to examine the issue at the IAEA instead of leaving it to the agency.

In its seven-page position paper, China said AUKUS countries were seeking to take the IAEA “hostage” so it could “whitewash” nuclear proliferation.

Nuclear submarines are a particular challenge because when they are at sea their fuel is beyond the reach of the agency’s inspectors who are supposed to keep track of all nuclear material.

IAEA chief Grossi has said he is satisfied with the AUKUS countries’ transparency so far……………………

The Defence Strategic Review – Australia is becoming a proxy or is it a patsy for the US in a possible conflict with China

September 16, 2022

Pearls and Irritations By John Menadue, Sep 16, 2022

The Defence Strategic Review must warn Minister Marles about the dangerous path he is committing Australia to. We are becoming a spear carrier for the US.

  • Fearing its world hegemony is under challenge the US is goading China at every opportunity. Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan was but the most recent example of this goading.
  • The threat we face from China is if we continue to act in our region as a proxy for the US. Other regional countries are not doing so.
  • The ‘China’ threat is a rerun of the shameful and earlier ‘yellow peril’. China is not a military threat to Australia.
  • The US is the most violent and aggressive country in the world, almost always at war. Its  military empire includes 800 foreign military bases.

  • We need a strong US presence in our region but not the provocative and dangerous behaviour we see time and time again.
  • We are attaching ourselves uncritically to a declining  but dangerous hegemon.
  • Our ‘Washington Club’ has been on an American drip feed for a long time.It has a ‘colonial’ mind set.It accepts without serious thought the US view of the world.
  • Northern Australia is becoming a US military colony.These points are developed further below.

Northern Australia is becoming a US military colony

In some political difficulty in 2011 Julia Gillard was anxious for President Obama to visit Australia and address the Parliament. Kim Beazley, our Ambassador in Washington was very keen to help. As part of the deal to lock in the Obama visit Gillard agreed to the rotation of Marines through Darwin with US hopes for more future basing in Perth and Cocos-Keeling.

This was the real door opening for the Americans.

The colonisation has continued apace since then with more and more Marines rotating through Darwin and USAF operations in Northern Australia.

But putting the foot on the accelerator of US military colonisation really came in September 2021.

On 16 September 2021, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin hosted Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Women Marise Payne and Minister for Defence Peter Dutton in Washington D.C. for the 31st Australia-United States Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN 2021). The Secretaries and Ministers endorsed the following areas of force posture cooperation:

Enhanced air cooperation through the rotational deployment of U.S. aircraft of all types in Australia and appropriate aircraft training and exercises.

Enhanced maritime cooperation by increasing logistics and sustainment capabilities of U.S. surface and subsurface vessels in Australia.

Enhanced land cooperation by conducting more complex and more integrated exercises and greater combined engagement with Allies and Partners in the region.

Establish a combined logistics, sustainment, and maintenance enterprise to support high end warfighting and combined military operations in the region.

See the Australia-US Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN) joint statement.

We have committed ourselves to ‘high end warfighting and combined military operations and unfettered access for US forces and platforms’ in northern and western Australia.

Only yesterday the AFR highlighted the US focus on western and northern Australia. ‘Former foreign policy adviser to president George W. Bush and new United States Studies Centre chief executive Michael Green predicts the US will become more dependent on Australia for its military operations and intelligence. A shift in foreign policy focus from Asia-Pacific to Indo-Pacific meant that areas of western and northern Australia would be ‘‘critical’’ for the US and its allies. ‘‘We need access: we need purchase on the Indian Ocean and, so geographically, in technology, in terms of military operations and intelligence, the US is going to be more dependent on Australia,’’ Mr Green said. ‘‘There’s no two ways around it.’’

We have not seriously debated or considered the enormous and very risky consequences of all of this. Our sovereignty and integrity as a nation is on the line and at the whim of the US, a country that does not really know which path it is on, crypto-fascism, civil war or anarchy.

In AUKUS, at enormous cost and with great delay we are planning to fuse our future nuclear powered submarines with the US Navy to operate in the South China Sea against China.

Minister Marles has told us that we are not only working ‘inter-operatively’ with the US military in numerous ways but we are now committed to ‘inter-changeabilty’ with US forces. We are locking ourselves even more to a ‘dangerous ally’. Minister Marles seems unconcerned about the dangerous path we are on.Even worse he seems careless about surrendering our national sovereignty. He should be watched very carefully.

The US is the most violent country in the world and almost always at war

There is an enormous and powerful US constituency committed to continual war. We joined those wars in Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria. All were disastrous. Now the US is continually goading and provoking China and wants us to join it. And we are obliging…………….

In this blog, Is war in the American DNA?, I have drawn attention repeatedly to the risks we run in being “joined at the hip” to a country that is almost always at war. The facts are clear…………………..

Despite all the evidence of wars and meddling, the American Imperium continues without serious check or query in America or Australia………………………………………………………………

Australia is trapped within the American Imperium

This complex co-opts institutions and individuals around the globe. It has enormous influence. No US president, nor for that matter any Australian prime minister, would likely challenge it. Morrison and Albanese have the same view on the US imperium.

Australia has locked itself into this complex. Our military and defence leaders are heavily dependent on the US Departments of Defence and State, the CIA and the FBI for advice. We act as their branch offices.

…………………………………… AUKUS has locked us in even more. In AUKUS we are effectively fusing our Navy with that of the US so that we can operate together in the South China Sea and threaten China. We are surrendering more and more of our strategic autonomy by encouraging the US to use Northern Australia as a forward base against China as if the US does not have enough giant military bases ringing China in Japan, ROK and Guam.

A ’rules-based international order’; but not for America

The third reason for the continuing dominance of the American Imperium is the way the US expects others to abide by a “rules-based international order”………………………….

Derivative media compounds Australia’s lack of autonomy

A major voice in articulating American extremism and the American Imperium is Fox News and Rupert Murdoch who exert their influence not just in America but also in the UK and Australia. ………………………. But it is not just the destructive role of News Corp in the US, UK and Australia. Our media, including the ABC are so derivative. It is so pervasive and extensive, we don’t recognise it for its very nature. We really do have a ‘white man’s media’. We see it most obviously today in the way legacy media spew out an endless daily conveyor belt of anti-China stories…………………………………..

Read more in our Defence Strategic Review series of articles.

World BEYOND War Volunteers to Reproduce “Offensive” Peace Mural

September 15, 2022 David Swanson, World BEYOND War, September 14, 2022

A talented artist in Melbourne, Australia, has been in the news for painting a mural of Ukrainian and Russian soldiers hugging — and then for taking it down because people were offended. The artist, Peter ‘CTO’ Seaton, has been quoted as saying he was raising funds for our organization, World BEYOND War. We want to not only thank him for that but offer to put the mural up elsewhere.

Here is a small sampling of the reporting on this story:

SBS News: “‘Utterly offensive’: Australia’s Ukrainian community furious over mural of Russian soldier embrace”
The Guardian: “Ukraine’s ambassador to Australia calls for removal of ‘offensive’ mural of Russian and Ukrainian soldiers”
Sydney Morning Herald: “Artist to paint over ‘utterly offensive’ Melbourne mural after Ukrainian community anger”
The Independent: “Australian artist takes down mural of hugging Ukraine and Russia soldiers after huge backlash”
Sky News: “Melbourne mural of Ukrainian and Russian soldiers hugging painted over after backlash”
Newsweek: “Artist Defends ‘Offensive’ Mural of Ukrainian and Russian Troops Hugging”
The Telegraph: “Other wars: Editorial on Peter Seaton’s anti-war mural & its repercussion”

Here is the artwork on Seaton’s website. The website says: “Peace before Pieces: Mural painted on Kingsway close to the Melbourne CBD. Focusing on a peaceful resolution between the Ukraine and Russia. Sooner or later the continued escalation of conflicts created by Politicians will be the death of our beloved planet.” We couldn’t agree more.

World BEYOND War has funds donated to us specifically for putting up billboards. We would like to offer, should Seaton find it acceptable and helpful, to put this image up on billboards in Brussels, Moscow, and Washington. We would like to help with reaching out to muralists to put it up elsewhere. And we would like to put it on yard signs that individuals can display around the world.

Our interest is not in offending anyone. We believe that even in the depths of misery, despair, anger, and revenge people are sometimes capable of imagining a better way. We’re aware that soldiers try to kill their enemies, not hug them. We’re aware that each side believes that all the evil is commited by the other side. We’re aware that each side typically believes total triumph is eternally imminent. But we believe that wars must end with the making of peace and that the sooner this is done the better. We believe that reconciliation is something to aspire to, and that it is tragic to find ourselves in a world in which even picturing it is deemed — not just unliklely, but — somehow offensive.

World BEYOND War is a global nonviolent movement to end war and establish a just and sustainable peace. World BEYOND War was founded on January 1st, 2014, when co-founders David Hartsough and David Swanson set out to create a global movement to abolish the institution of war itself, not just the “war of the day.” If war is ever to be abolished, then it must be taken off the table as a viable option. Just as there is no such thing as “good” or necessary slavery, there is no such thing as a “good” or necessary war. Both institutions are abhorrent and never acceptable, no matter the circumstances. So, if we can’t use war to resolve international conflicts, what can we do? Finding a way to transition to a global security system that is supported by international law, diplomacy, collaboration, and human rights, and defending those things with nonviolent action rather than the threat of violence, is the heart of WBW. Our work includes education that dispels myths, like “War is natural” or “We have always had war,” and shows people not only that war should be abolished, but also that it actually can be. Our work includes all variety of nonviolent activism that moves the world in the direction of ending all war.

Don’t mention the war powers: what’s behind Labor’s silence on inquiry?

September 12, 2022 by Zacharias Szumer | Sep 12, 2022,

Last year Labor committed to holding an inquiry into war powers reform. A hundred days into taking power, there is no indication of when the inquiry might happen, but the reintroduction of the Greens’ bill into the Senate may put some pressure on Labor to clarify its plans, writes Zacharias Szumer.

At Labor’s 2021 conference, federal MPs Josh Wilson and Julian Hill put war powers on the agenda. They put forward a resolution that promised that “during the term of the 47th Parliament” a Labor government would “refer the issue of how Australia makes decisions to send service personnel into international armed conflict to an inquiry to be conducted by the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade.” The resolution was passed and the inquiry was added to Labor’s policy platform.

However, as we enter the fourth month of the Albanese government, there is still no confirmation that the inquiry will go ahead.

MWM recently contacted Wilson and Hill, both now members of the joint standing committee, to ask when the inquiry would take place. Wilson’s media adviser said that his office was “unsure about the timing of an inquiry” and Hill said it was a question for the Minister of Defence.

MWM has reached out to Defence Minister Richard Marles but is yet to receive a reply.

Reintroduced Greens bill may put heat on Labor

Meanwhile, the Greens plan to reintroduce their long-running Defence Amendment (Parliamentary Approval of Overseas Service) bill into the Senate. If passed, the legislation would mandate that “service of members of the Defence Force beyond the territorial limits of Australia in warlike actions would require the approval of both houses of the parliament,” with exceptions for emergency situations.

Over the past several decades, various iterations of the bill have been introduced to the parliament by the Greens and, before that, by the Australian Democrats. According to the bill’s explanatory memoranda, revisions to the original bill consist mainly of:

more detailed provisions relating to emergency situations which occur when the Parliament is not meeting and the information which is required to be provided to the public and the Parliament

The bill’s progress has always been stymied by the two major parties, and there’s no indication that its fate will be any different this time. However, the bill’s reintroduction may put pressure on the Albanese government to clarify when, or perhaps if, they plan to launch their promised inquiry.

Labor opposed the bill when it was last read in August 2021, with then deputy opposition leader in the Senate Kristina Keneally saying that “Labor believes that this bill leaves too many unanswered questions and may have unforeseen and unintended consequences.”

Keneally also said that “federal Labor have supported and continue to support this power remaining a prerogative of the executive.” However, given that Hill and Wilson proposed the resolution calling for an inquiry at the ALP conference only months earlier, there is possibly some division in Labor over the issue.

Consider the contrast between Keneally’s statement and Wilson’s response when asked by MWM on this issue:

The very mild checks on Australia’s executive war-making power that have been in place through legislation and parliamentary convention have arguably weakened in the course of the 21st century, and it’s time to have a hard look at how we might turn that wheel in the direction of greater parliamentary involvement in the name of better and more transparent decision-making.”

Public and parliamentary attitudes

In late 2020, civil society group Australians for War Powers Reform commissioned a Roy Morgan poll that found that 83.3% of Australians want parliament to decide whether troops are deployed into armed conflict abroad. Around 30% said that parliamentary approval should always be required, 52.4% said that approval should be required unless there was immediate danger to Australia and 16.7% said parliamentary approval was not needed.

However, according to MWM’s ongoing survey of parliamentarians, this degree of support for war powers reform is not shared by MPs and senators in Canberra. Or, if it is, they’re not willing to tell the public about it.
The majority of respondents said they had no comment, but an even larger number didn’t respond at all. Of those that did offer a response, their position could be fairly assumed based on their party allegiance: Greens supported reform, LNP members opposed it, and Labor members emphasised the complexity of the issue and consequent need for an inquiry.

MWM recently asked newly elected Teal candidates about the issue, but most did not offer a public response. The Independent member for Warringah, Zali Steggall, said:

“I strongly support war powers reform as other than in exceptional and urgent circumstances, the decision to commit Australians to an armed conflict or war should be made by the Parliament, in an extraordinary sitting and not just be the decision of the prime minister of the day.”

The Independent member for Indi, Helen Haines, told MWM that, while “there is no easy yes or no answer to the question on war powers reform”, she supported holding an inquiry into the issue. The newly elected Independent member for North Sydney, Kylea Tink, also said that she “would likely support an inquiry if called by Labor.”

Pine Gap a target as Ukraine invasion raises nuclear war risk, Australian defence expert warns

September 10, 2022

A humiliated Russia could be driven closer to China in a ‘grand coalition’, former Joint Intelligence Organisation director says

Guardian, Ben Doherty 7 Sept 22,

Australia could become a nuclear target due to its hosting of a US military base at Pine Gap in the Northern Territory, one of Australia’s leading defence strategists has warned.

Prof Paul Dibb, an emeritus professor at the Australian National University and former director of Australia’s Joint Intelligence Organisation, said the current Russian invasion of Ukraine carried potential global nuclear consequences, with the possibility of a defeated and humiliated Russia pushed closer to China in “a grand coalition … united not by ideology but by complementary grievances”……….

Australia should not feel its geographic distance from the epicentre of the conflict affords it any significant protection, Dibb argued.

“We need to plan on the basis that Pine Gap continues to be a nuclear target, and not only for Russia. If China attacks Taiwan, Pine Gap is likely to be heavily involved,” he said.

“We need to remember that Pine Gap is a fundamentally important element in US war fighting and deterrence of conflict.”

Pine Gap is a highly secret US-Australian military installation near Alice Springs. It serves as a major hub for US global intelligence interception, and for satellite surveillance operations for military and nuclear missile threats in the region.

Russia is unlikely to be able to subjugate Ukraine in its current invasion, Dibb said, but Ukrainian military is unlikely to succeed in driving out Russian troops entirely. “Most likely there’ll be a negotiated conclusion, probably at the ceasefire talk.”

Regardless, Dibb argued, the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, was unlikely to be deposed as a result, but he would be a leader grown increasingly isolated, and the threat of nuclear escalation was real.

“There’s little doubt that Putin is the sort of person who won’t resile from the use of nuclear weapons, particularly if it looks as though he’s losing this war. But he must surely realise that there’s no such thing as the limited use of tactical nuclear weapons in isolation from their escalation to a full-scale strategic nuclear war.

“Once we enter the slippery slope of even limited nuclear exchanges, the end result will be escalation to mutual annihilation – something about which both Putin and Xi Jinping may need reminding.”

The comprehensive defeat of Russia in Ukraine would bring its own dangers, Dibb argued.

A severely weakened, isolated and smaller Russia might then become more – not less – dangerous for the world.”

A Russia left humiliated would be driven closer to China, Dibb said, with the nuclear powers forming what he described as a “grand coalition”, unified “not by ideology but by complementary grievances”.

Dibb told the Guardian: “The most serious threat to America would be a de facto alliance between China and Russia, united in the common cause of their hatred for the west.” ………………….

The Defence Strategic Review and the loss of our strategic autonomy to the US

September 8, 2022, Pearls and Irritations, By John Menadue, Sep 8, 2022

Over the next two weeks we will be running a series of articles to focus on the Defence Strategic Review (DSR) which is headed by Sir Angus Houston and the Hon. Stephen Smith.

In becoming a US proxy, even patsy, we are on a risky and dangerous path.

Smith was Minister for Defence when the Gillard Government committed to US Marines in Darwin. As Minister he told us in 2011 that ‘Australian troops are making good progress in Uruzgan province…the Taliban is losing ground’. On the domestic front he told us in 2016 that Mark McGowan was a failed party leader. He offered himself, unsuccessfully, for ALP preselection for a State seat in order to defeat McGowan.

The review was announced on 3 August with submissions closing on 30 October.

But is it a genuine review? Minister Marles called it a ‘snap review’. Stephen Smith has told the Western Australian newspaper that a ‘draft report with initial findings would be given to the Minister for Defence Richard Marles on November 1’. That is one day after submissions close!

My major concern however is that this Review will be dominated by the Washington Club and its derivative media followers with the mistaken but widespread and spurious view that China is a military threat to Australia. The Club is very ignorant of Chinese history. It trash talks and goads China day after day.

This Review takes place against a successful anti China campaign in Australia waged by organisations like the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, the Office of National Intelligence, politicians and importantly by our media including the ABC. There has been a colonisation of the mind by western media.

Our new Prime Minister is also not immune to the anti China infection. His first rushed overseas trip was to join the anti China group at QUAD and NATO.

As set out in the terms of reference for the Review on Critical information Requirements. ‘the review is to be informed by the intelligence and strategic assessment of the most concerning threats which challenge Australia’s security’.

It’s clear to everyone that the unstated assumption in setting up this Review is that China is a threat in some undefined way.

Although not naming China, Angus Houston was quickly out of the blocks after the announcement of the Review by commenting that ‘the deteriorating strategic environment facing Australia is the worst I have seen in my lifetime’.

But is that so? Is China a threat?

China may be a threat to the United States Empire with its 800 bases world wide, including 19 in Japan and ROK ringing China, but it is not a threat to the United States or Australia.

Countries of our region have built more balanced and better relations with China than we have.

In the last forty years the US has waged numerous illegal wars resulting in the death and displacement of millions of people. In that time China has not waged a single war.

China will become a threat to us if we continue on our present very dangerous path of acting as a US proxy and tying ourselves ever more closely to the United States a county that is the most violent in the world and almost always at war.

As Jeffrey Sachs put it in a recent interview, ‘A new database …has just shown that there have been more than 100 military interventions by the United States since 1991. It’s really unbelievable’.

On the domestic front the US is more and more a failing or failed state.

Will the US fall into the Thucydides Trap by refusing to accept its own decline and fearful of a rising power, China.

In considering the ‘China threat’ what is the evidence? What is China’s intent? What is its capability to threaten Australia? How does Chinese history inform us? Are China’s security concerns largely limited to its own borders and relations with buffer states?

In Australia today we are witnessing a new version of the “yellow peril’. We seem unable to shake ourselves free of our racist history.

As Hugh White has described it, our unthinking alliance with America means that we may be sleep walking to war with China.

We need to take resolute action to slow the rapid ceding of our national sovereignty to the US. In becoming a US proxy, even patsy, we are on a risky and dangerous path.

The series starts tomorrow.

Defence Minister Richard Marles is confident about AUKUS, nuclear submarines, and non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. Not everyone is so sure.

July 23, 2022

Australian National University emeritus professor of strategic studies Hugh White argues there are risks in making the AUKUS agreement at all.

In his new Quarterly Essay, Sleepwalk to War – Australia’s Unthinking Alliance with America, White warns it takes the alliance too far in the strategic contest with China.

Richard Marles on AUKUS nuclear safeguards , The Saturday Paper, By Karen Middleton. 23 Jul 22

” …………………………… “Non-proliferation was a condition of our support for AUKUS from the outset, when we were in opposition,” Marles says in an interview with The Saturday Paper, on his return from Washington, DC, this week.

While there, he discussed progress on the trilateral nuclear technology transfer agreement between Australia, Britain and the United States……..

The first non-nuclear country to seek nuclear-powered submarines, Australia will be required to sign a special International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards agreement. The document is likely to run to hundreds of pages, specifying in minute detail how the material will be handled – accounting for every gram – and with the tightest restrictions on its use. Amid some concern among international law specialists about exploiting existing treaty language around “peaceful use”, the wording will be designed to leave no wiggle room for more malign countries wanting to follow suit.

The greatest potential legal obstacles lie in the fact that the nuclear material is for use on a military platform. Australia’s lack of a nuclear power industry could be a reassurance, reducing the risk. Every aspect of the use and management of the enriched uranium – including in the event of an emergency – will need to be codified.

Marles says Labor’s party room will demand further assurances before consenting to move to the agreement’s next stage, which will involve the choice of future submarine design and how to resolve any capability gap in the meantime. He is confident the concerns can be addressed……………..

Navigating the non-proliferation safeguards with the IAEA is just one of the challenges for the new government in seeking to enact the monumental security agreement it has inherited.

Marles will not say if a Labor government would have taken the same decision as then prime minister Scott Morrison and his Defence minister Peter Dutton to dump the multibillion-dollar French contract for conventional submarines and switch to an American or British nuclear-powered option instead………………

“We have been supportive of the AUKUS agreement when it was announced, and we are supportive now.”

It’s clear that it wouldn’t have happened the same way, not least because of Labor’s volatile internal politics around nuclear energy.

In senior levels of the new government, there is a view that this is part of what motivated Morrison in pushing for the nuclear option to be sealed and announced with such haste. Some are convinced he believed it would wedge Labor on nuclear energy, an intergenerationally contentious issue within the party and particularly in Albanese’s Left faction.

……………….. in Labor’s upper ranks, suspicion about Morrison’s motivation raised further questions about the then prime minister’s attitude to national security.

Now in government, Labor is focused on bringing the wickedly complex submarine acquisition to completion and ensuring national security is not compromised any further along the way.

There’s a high pile of issues to be resolved before Australia has nuclear-powered submarines in the water. With the contract to buy up to 12 Attack-class submarines from France now scrapped in favour of the AUKUS agreement, the government has to decide whether to opt for the American Virginia-class boat or the British Astute-class alternative. While it hopes to get the first of whichever it chooses by the late 2030s, Marles has warned it could be the early 2040s.

That means filling the gap in the meantime.

With the existing six Collins-class submarines already extended from their initial retirement date of 2026 into the 2030s, there is a growing view in government that they will have to be extended again. What else may be required – in the form of some other possible stopgap purchase – is still unclear.

In an apparent bid to force Marles to clarify options, Peter Dutton wrote last month that he had planned to buy two American submarines to plug the capability gap. He said he had “formed a judgment that the Americans would have facilitated exactly that”.

The Saturday Paper understands that Dutton’s public commentary angered Britain, because of its presumption that Australia would choose the American option…………..

Just back from US consultations, Marles dismisses outright Dutton’s assertion about planning to buy two early American boats……………………

there are expensive decisions to be made with enormous consequences for Australia’s security.

By March next year, Marles wants to be able to announce which submarine he has chosen and when the first one will be in the water, quantify the capability gap and explain how it will be filled, outline the cost, describe industry arrangements for construction and detail the undertakings to be given to the IAEA to meet non-proliferation obligations. All this in the next eight months.

He has also vowed to produce a new force posture review in the wake of the 2020 Defence strategic update, which raised fresh questions about the strategic landscape in the region. …..

Delivering submarines makes AUKUS central to that. There is much debate on what else the agreement is meant to be and whether it makes Australia more or less dependent on the US.

In the AUKUS paperwork that has gone before the parliament so far, the submarine deal is described as its “first initiative”.

“AUKUS is about much more than submarines,” says Asia Society Australia executive director Richard Maude, who was foreign policy and security adviser to prime minister Julia Gillard and chief author of the 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper.

“AUKUS is a central platform for more co-operation and sharing of technologies that the Australian Defence Force wants.”

Maude says the issue is the nature of the submarines, not AUKUS. “The risk in AUKUS stems not from the agreement itself but from the decision to jump from a conventional to a nuclear-powered submarine.”

He points to concerning reports from the US that the Virginia-class submarine program’s production time line and costs are blowing out, raising further questions about delivery of an American boat.

“So, it’s not just our capability,” Maude says. “It’s our partner’s capability.”

Australian National University emeritus professor of strategic studies Hugh White argues there are risks in making the AUKUS agreement at all.

In his new Quarterly Essay, Sleepwalk to War – Australia’s Unthinking Alliance with America, White warns it takes the alliance too far in the strategic contest with China.

Maude says the issue is the nature of the submarines, not AUKUS. “The risk in AUKUS stems not from the agreement itself but from the decision to jump from a conventional to a nuclear-powered submarine.”

He points to concerning reports from the US that the Virginia-class submarine program’s production time line and costs are blowing out, raising further questions about delivery of an American boat.

“So, it’s not just our capability,” Maude says. “It’s our partner’s capability

Defence Minister Richard Marles downplays any broader binding role for AUKUS.

“AUKUS is not a security alliance. That’s not what it is,” he says. “Sharing capability and building technology – it doesn’t seek to be any more than that.”

Asked if it will mean an expansion of the US bases at Pine Gap or North West Cape, he would not comment…………………..

At the top of the decision pile for the “first initiative” is which submarine to buy. Neither the British nor the American version is exactly the right fit in size, crewing requirements or capability.

Whichever way they turn, the cost is horrendous at a time when the nation is a trillion dollars in debt…………………….

In Jakarta, there were assurances about respect, in the wake of Indonesian anger that it was not given an AUKUS heads-up. When AUKUS was announced last year, Indonesia said it intended at the next NPT review conference to seek to address what it calls the treaty’s “loophole” that would allow Australia to acquire nuclear-powered submarines. Dealing with nuclear weapons, proliferation and “peaceful use”, the NPT does not specifically go to the issue of nuclear-powered vessels. Rescheduled from January, the conference is in the US next month.

The new government has also had to reassure the nations of the Pacific.

At the recent Pacific Islands Forum, secretary-general Henry Puna, from Cook Islands, presented a report on the South Pacific nuclear treaty, known as the Treaty of Rarotonga, and “other nuclear issues”. The Saturday Paper asked the forum secretariat this week for a copy of the report but did not receive a response before time of press.

Ahead of the forum – and after a visit from Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong – Samoan Prime Minister Fiamē Naomi Mata’afa voiced the concerns of some Pacific countries that they were not consulted on AUKUS.

Dr Tess Newton Cain, project leader of the Pacific hub at Griffith University, says there is some unhappiness about a US pattern of using Australia as a diplomatic and defence conduit instead of approaching Pacific nations directly.

“Some of this reflects a belief in the US administration and the US policy community that a good way of understanding the Pacific is to listen to Australia and New Zealand,” Cain says. “From the Pacific side of things, that’s not necessarily how people would see it.”

Overlaying that, Pacific nations have a heightened sensitivity to nuclear matters. Having been the unhappy historical hosts of nuclear testing, they’ve had their own experience with the mushroom cloud.

AUKUS – contrived to foster the unrealistic and unattainable aims of American foreign policy

July 21, 2022

The wounded bison is thrashing about with its sole survival plan to wreck the China shop and it doesn’t care if it takes us with it. In fact, it is better to set Australia up as a primary target than Hawaii and the west coast of the US.

Anthony Albanese has not attempted to get his head around foreign relations, in particular China. He is stupidly relying on the people who advised Morrison. People like the head of ONI, the LNP favoured, Shearer and the US arms funded, ASPI. Neither should be allowed near a Labor government. They continue to push the LNP/AUKUS agenda. By Bruce Haigh, Jul 20, 2022 ,

In all of my experience, AUKUS is the worst example of abuse within the so-called American alliance.

It is a prescription for failure and considerable loss of face for Australia amongst its neighbours, friends in the region and more widely spread friends and trading partners. In fact, the region has shown no support for the proposal and indicated disquiet.

Involvement with the US in the disastrous Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan wars should have given cause for thought, but no, a supine media, lack of debate within academic institutions and amongst what remains of an intellectual class has seen the AUKUS proposal gain ‘acceptance’ by politicians without so much as question or query. And this in the complete absence of planning detail and cost analysis.

There has been a lot of poppycock about acquiring nuclear submarines and of having them built in Australia with a lead time to delivery of 20 to 30 years. Only child politicians and their puerile advisers would be prepared to swallow such rubbish. The submarine deal was always a smokescreen to get US nuclear armed submarines based in Australia. The so-called deal was a sop to public opinion and for the moment it has worked with a China hating, US loving, Murdoch led MSM. Where is the sense in spending over $200 billion in the face of a one Trillion-dollar debt? The money would be far better spent on health, education and infrastructure.

AUKUS is nothing more than a US takeover of northern Australia as an operational base against China. Australia has rolled over and the new Minister for Defence, Marles, has gone so far as to offer full integration of the ADF into US force structures.

The most appalling defence acquisition program over 20 years has left Australia without a viable fighting force. Whose decision was it to buy the upgraded version of the Abrams tank? As an ex-tank man, I can say the decision is entirely without merit and smacks of lining US pockets at Australian taxpayer’s expense. The US has a history of foisting rubbish on the ADF, such as the F35, and Australia under leaders such as the toadying and incompetent, John Howard, of rolling over and accepting them.

Instead of weeks, which the US proposed, Labor was given just 24 hours to consider the AUKUS ‘proposal’ by the devious Morrison; it agreed in order to avoid a wedge in the face of the election. Anthony Albanese agreed to something that he knows nothing about. And to prove it he continues to grind on about nuclear submarines.

The Americans thought they were very clever in dragging the British in on the deal. Anyone but the arrant, arrogant and colonial Johnson would have demurred. The UK in AUKUS is unlikely to survive the departure of the incompetent Johnson. The British east of the Suez is the material for jokes. After Brexit they are much reduced and once the Queen dies their prestige will be on sale in second hand shops. The US made a mistake in dragging the UK  in. They probably thought it would add some weight to their containment of China.

AUKUS is all about the US and its rivalry and competition with China. It wants to use what Australia has on offer, a base to confront, and when the time comes, to attack China. There is nothing in it for Australia. We are not threatened by China. It is and should remain a major trading partner.

The wounded bison is thrashing about with its sole survival plan to wreck the China shop and it doesn’t care if it takes us with it. In fact, it is better to set Australia up as a primary target than Hawaii and the west coast of the US.

Darwin will become the centre of a US centre monitoring (controlling) all sea and air movements in a wide zone embracing much of the north of Australia with what will be termed a joint operations command. Tindal is being expanded along with Stirling in order to take US arms and delivery vehicles.

The QUAD is a quad in name only. India with its strong ties to Russia was never in it beyond the extent of Modi’s ego. South Korea and Japan will always play their own game depending on who is in power in Washington and Beijing. NATO moving into the so-called Indo-Pacific is little more than a US induced wet dream on the part of Stoltenberg who has absorbed nothing of Nordic notions of social justice and dialogue. No doubt the US is pleased with the NATO announcement seeing further China containment as having been achieved.

Anthony Albanese fans the fires of AUKUS with incomprehensible talk of submarines and staying in step with allies but much more so with his inflammatory statements about China.  Penny Wong has outdistanced her Coalition predecessor by leagues. She took on the very difficult task of rebuilding the relationship with China after the oafishness of Morrison and Payne over Wuhan and Covid. She is succeeding. She has deployed a nuance which is a pleasure to watch She has brought her considerable intelligence to bear. She has been subtle and tough minded. She is the person of the moment. Australia got what it needed.

Not so with Anthony Albanese. He has done his best to wreck Wong’s good work.  He talks of the continuing danger posed by China, forgetting the AUKUS takeover. He says China has changed and we haven’t? What does he think Morrison did? He trashed twenty years of relationship building, including a most successful visit to Australia by Xi Jinping in November 2014. And he and Dutton banged the drums of war as an election ploy.

Anthony Albanese has not attempted to get his head around foreign relations, in particular China. He is stupidly relying on the people who advised Morrison. People like the head of ONI, the LNP favoured, Shearer and the US arms funded, ASPI. Neither should be allowed near a Labor government. They continue to push the LNP/AUKUS agenda.

Penny Wong is not in that camp, which is lucky for the rest of the country. Albanese must learn to do his own thinking and to find the courage to sack and distance himself from the pernicious influence of Morrison’s dangerous and undermining advisers.