Friday 03 Jul 2020 | 00:00 | SYDNEY
Friday 03 Jul 2020 | 00:00 | SYDNEY

Non-provocative defence


Sam Roggeveen


15 December 2008 16:19

I have a Lowy Perspectives paper out today on Australia's defence policy (and an accompanying op-ed in the AFR). Regular Interpreter readers will recognise some of the arguments; as Andrew Sullivan has said, blogs are an excellent way to test and refine ideas for longer-form writing.

One potential line of criticism I want to address pre-emptively: the arguments I make in this paper might be seen as pacifist or left wing. But that's not my intention and those are not my politics. My argument basically boils down to designing Australia's defence policy in order to ameliorate the security dilemma, which is neither a left wing nor right wing argument.

And although I don't refer to it in the paper, one of the inspirations for the idea of non-provocative defence is Ronald Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI). It was little appreciated by the left at the time, but Reagan made a number of sincere offers to the Soviets to share SDI in order for both sides to swap their mutually offensive posture for a more stable and less dangerous defensive one. His ambition proved technically and politically unattainable, but his instinct was right.