Robert Bond Director Citizens for Defence
CITIZENS FOR DEFENCE
Defence Alliances are just bits of paper
Benjamin Schreer, a senior ASPI defence analyst, advocates a White Paper which avoids any suggestion of a future conflict with China and suggests if such an event ever comes to pass we leave it up to our ally the US to deal with.
It is hard to fathom how educated analysts put in writing that “staying close to the US also allows us to spend relatively little on defence, and gives us access to intelligence and world class military technology”. It highlights this nation’s willingness to bludge on another nation for a responsibility that is clearly ours which is shameful and against all the virtues Australians pride themselves as standing for.
Even the meagre funds made available by the Australian government are being frittered away in an organisation that has no direction other than to helplessly sit on its hands and avoid any ambitions of long term strategic plans that more generous governments might feel need funding.
Analysts feed into this sea of despair by suggesting we form alliances with Indonesia, and every other nation between here and China and we will then need no defence force.
For Schreer to give the opinion that “Indonesia’s external threat perception is focussed north, not south” is hardly a basis for Australia to remain unprepared. In the first instance only a soothsayer could predict what this comment suggests.
The recent export cattle crisis displays the brittleness of the relationship between us and our close neighbour even when Indonesia has the most pro western government in its history.
This nation of 250 million people has the highest proportion of Muslims per head of population of any nation in the world. Indonesia is in a constant battle to contain the violent Islamist element and its many sympathisers. Westerners are regularly being targeted and murdered in that country.
Indonesia has had several coup d’état in the past where dictators have reigned with great loss of life. Yet our Ivory Tower Academics have stared into the future and infallibly advised our government that an Islamist takeover will not happen and we need no defence preparedness.
The truth is the Islamists have already claimed northern Australia as part of a future Islamic kingdom and in the event of any Coup they could have a million militia with machetes and wearing sandals roaming the north and there would not be a single thing we could do to prevent them.
Give them their trusty AK 47 sub-machine guns and grenade launchers and who knows where events like this could end. The north is a comfortable overnight rubber duckie ride from Indonesia and given the lack of security, small population and remote locations it is possible for thousands of militants to land undetected.
The whole of Northern Australia is within reach of the modern Russian attack aircraft that Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia possess now, not to mention their plans to expand the number of these weapons into the future.
We can make alliances with these countries which make us feel cosy without a defence force but they can make alliances between themselves against us in an instant if it suits their purpose at the time.
The only alliance Australia has that seems rock solid is with the US and this nation is facing significant defence spending cuts over the next ten years which will certainly place it under great strain with its “pivot to Asia” strategy.
One would think any serious defence analysts would be suggesting that the three bare RAAF bases in Northern Australia, Scherger, Curtin, and Learmonth be continually upgraded over the next twenty years into hardened forward skeleton bases with radar, underground fuel storage and hardened missile defences even if it means the closing and downgrading of some bases in southern Australia.