Wednesday 08 Apr 2020 | 22:25 | SYDNEY
Wednesday 08 Apr 2020 | 22:25 | SYDNEY

The Afghanistan-Indonesia axis?


Sam Roggeveen


20 July 2009 14:57

Hugh White may be right when he tells Michelle Grattan that...

..."in practical policy there's no link. It's an illusion to think that if you fix Afghanistan, we'll be safe from terrorism." Ideologically and practically, the activities of Noordin Top, the alleged mastermind behind the Jakarta bombings, have nothing to do with Afghanistan, White says.

But opponents of the Afghanistan war don't actually need to win that argument. Even if you believe vehemently that there is a connection between Afghanistan and terrorism in South East Asia (as Foreign Minister Stephen Smith does), it does not follow that fighting a war in Afghanistan is the most efficient or effective way of disrupting that connection.

Given the success that Australia's policing-led approach has had against JI, a pure cost-benefit analysis would suggest reinforcing that effort is a better approach to breaking any Afghan-JI nexus, if such a thing exists.  But then, perhaps our involvement in Afghanistan is not based on pure cost-benefit considerations.