CITIZENS FOR DEFENCE
Robert Bond Director Citizens for Defence
Ely Ratner, in a Lowy interpreter blog article on the state of play of our national security asks is Australian security spread too thin. The brutal truth is Australia has been a US freeloader for many decades and few of the experts at defence, Foreign Affairs, or the various think tanks think this ideal situation should end. Security analysts almost universally come out to support the two major parties on their desire to use the US as a milking cow by saying 1.5% of GDP is ample for defence with a few saying it should rise to 2% when funds are available.
But many thinking citizens in the community can see that this situation is fraught with catastrophic possibilities. Australia must be able to defend its land mass, sea lanes and coastal surrounds out to more than 1500 kilometres. We can do none of this now and are highly vulnerable if the US cannot come instantly to our aid for whatever reason.
These jelly belly analysts could be telling the government that we should be spending 4% of GDP on defence and then the question of spreading Australia to thin would carry much less weight. Why do the free loaders in Australia think that we can misspend much of a 1.5% of GDP defence budget when the US is cleverly spending a massive 4% of GDP defence budget?
We desperately need a ballistic missile shield with the US in the Indo-Pacific, amphibious capability equal in effectiveness to the US marines, 5th generation aircraft, and Virginia-class or Astute-class nuclear attack submarines. The conspiracy of silence from the analysts about the government saddling Australia for the next 50 years with early last century technology submarines is a typical example of the subservient attitude of analysts and all Australians. This sort of cowardice types Australia as a loser nation when anyone who may attack us will have nimble nuclear subs.
One could go on how Australia could spend a couple of billion dollars on a squadron of US armed reconnaissance drones, hard armoured vehicles, tracked heavy artillery, and other high technology weapons for use in Iraq if needed to create a top flight ready response unit that could gain invaluable experience and training in Iraq and could come home to Australia and be ready to defend our nation.
Our security in the Indo-Pacific region will never be enhanced by reducing commitments on the world stage. Less is never more. Abbott is showing leadership qualities and why the many defence experts criticize him for this is inexplicable. Australia has to man up and stand on its own two feet on the world stage and this will make us more secure and also more useful to our allies in seeking world peace. Our freeloading culture has to be smashed and the sooner we match the US in budget GDP share the sooner we will become a proud nation that stands tall in the world.
Nervous Nellie defence commentators and politicians sniping at Abbott trying to lead and the conspiracy of silence over nuclear submarines will do more to degrade our defences in the Indo-Pacific in the decades ahead than any full blooded activism by Australia on the world stage.
Leadership is needed by the defence commentariat, not negativity, to encourage the nation to contribute to our defence on a per capita basis to match the US.