Wednesday 18 Jul 2018 | 15:14 | SYDNEY
Wednesday 18 Jul 2018 | 15:14 | SYDNEY

Monday security linkage


Rory Medcalf


16 August 2010 14:20

  • At last: The Pentagon is about to release its long-overdue annual report on Chinese military power. Only, this time it seems it will be couched in ultra-diplomatic language – a report about 'security developments' rather than military power.
  • If so, that would seem oddly out of step with the recent hardening of America's tone towards Chinese military assertiveness. In any case, it should prove illuminating to study the new assessment against some of the older reports, such as those of  2006 or 2003.
  • East Asia's maritime security tensions continue. A bilateral maritime exercise by the forces of the US and Vietnam surely marks a new stage in the trend of overt balancing against Chinese influence.
  • Looking further north, here's the Lowy Institute's Cook and Shearer with some forthright judgments about how to respond to North Korea's sinking of the South Korean warship Cheonan, including advice for Australia's next government.
  • We're still waiting for much by way of detail on defence policy in the Australian election. Will Opposition leader Tony Abbott clarify where his government stands on taking the lead in Afghanistan's Oruzguan province, where a US colonel has taken charge of an Australian force that includes a Joint Task Force under an Australian major-general'* Will Abbott seek to wind back any of the grand capability promises outlined in last year's Defence White Paper' Will Labor shed any more light on how it plans to deliver its ambitious Force 2030'
  • STOP PRESS: The Coalition has just launched its defence policy, but initial press reports suggest it does not dramatically differ from Labor's, and is focused on affordability. 
  • As India celebrates its Independence Day, it faces a sobering list of security challenges, including resurgent unrest in Kashmir, Maoist rebellion, troubling signs in Afghanistan, strife in and emanating from Pakistan, and questions looming over the safety of the Commonwealth Games. Prime Minister Singh's speech puts a new emphasis on the need for dialogue. But leading Indian analyst Raja Mohan warns that the Kashmir situation is at a fresh crisis point, and that New Delhi needs to act quickly — though not with the gun.

* I am grateful to the military colleague who has pointed out that this sentence was infelicitously phrased, and does not distinguish between operational and national command. The Australian major-general is in fact national commander of the Joint Task Force, which includes some assets outside of Oruzgan and thus not under the American colonel's geographically-defined operational command. Still, as this article suggests, the fact of American command on the ground does seem to rankle with at least some in Australian military circles.