CITIZENS FOR DEFENCE
Robert Bond Director Citizens for Defence
Australian Defence Analysts lean to US
Benjamin Schreer is a senior analyst at ASPI, and advocates the US gets tough on China over its incursions in the South China Sea. Why should the US come to the aid of these nations including Australia if they cannot prepare defence forces themselves and have the guts to oppose China from their sovereign territory?
Benjamin should stop talking on behalf of the US and suggest what Australia and the rest of the freeloaders in the South and East China Sea should do to balance China. I hope the US continues this policy until it forces Australia and the other nations to upgrade their forces. Australia should be spending 4% of GDP on intelligent defence assets like nuclear submarines and substantial military exercises.
We could then say what we should do to a point instead of starting off with what the overworked US should do.
Indonesia is being humiliated by China with attacks on its fishing fleet in Indonesian sovereign waters and claims on an island in the South China Sea bordering its landmass. But Indonesia is not waiting for the US to come to its rescue and is setting up a naval and air base in the region with marines included. China may run into spirited resistance in the future if it continues to breach Indonesia’s sovereign territory and this is the way it should be.
Vietnam is buying Russian submarines for its defence and it too is likely to take direct action if Chinese harassment continues. The Philippines and Malaysia have to do the same if they expect to get back their sovereign estate and surrounding oceans.
The Indonesian dispute with China is in closer proximity to the Australian coastlines than is Christmas Island and should be a litmus test of Australia’s resolve in aiding its close neighbours. There is little doubt that Chinese success there will encourage further adventurism by China south of Indonesia, whether it is fishing or mineral rights, military bases in the small nations surrounding Australia or some other activity.
The US has clearly shown that it is not interested in these internecine disputes anywhere in the world but has a self interest of preventing major conflicts and wars. It is up to the affected nations in the South and East China Sea to arm themselves sufficiently to make a credible attempt to defend their territory and hope that a NATO type body could be formed to give it more clout at some time in the future. With these actions one would hope that the US will step in if China escalates the situation by partially invading any of these nations’ sovereign interests.
It is becoming a habit for Australian defence analysts to speak on behalf of the US and tell us what they will and will not do. Mark Thomson is senior analyst for defence economics at ASPI, and in his ASPI blog Free financial advice has turned the coming White Paper into a budget review based on what the major parties say they will put up which is a paltry 1.5% OF GDP with a wild unbelievable promise that in ten years which will be 2023 they will have increased it to 2%.
Even if this unlikely event comes to pass, this is estimated to be about $50 billion in 2023 which will probably have less purchasing power than $27 billion in 2013 currency after adjusting for the 10% annual cost rise for high technology defence equipment.
Every aspect of government and their paid advisers thinking is based on the premise that the US is our back stop and let’s be a freeloader.
It doesn’t matter if it is the strategic uncertainties in the China Seas or drawing up a strategic document like the Defence White Paper, the US is the milking cow at the end of the equation that is expected to carry the entire load.