Edition 92 April 2022

AWPR Editorial - April 2022

By Dr Alison Broinowski
The leaders of the two major parties before the May election have belatedly resorted to talking about foreign affairs or defence. Their policies are virtually indistinguishable, and are facsimiles of the US position on most issues. In a column itemising electoral topics, the Sydney Morning Herald mentioned under ‘Foreign Affairs’ merely bipartisan concerns about China and the Solomon Islands, and ABC RN interviews did the same. In an article discussing elections in France, Australia, and the US (mid-term), Colin Chapman told
readers of AIIA Outlook that the 21 May poll in Australia was ‘largely a domestic matter of little global consequence’

Yet this month, Defence Minister Peter Dutton told us Australia could be at war in two years – within the life of the new government. He has said that it is ‘inconceivable’ that Australia would not be involved in an American conflict with China.

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ADF veterans: The way Australia goes to War must change

Australian Defence Force veterans and their families are urging federal government to reform the current system of approving overseas deployments.

In an open letter to the parliament, published on ANZAC Day, signatories are requesting that any proposal for Australians to be involved in conflict abroad be debated in parliament and voted on. At present, the Prime Minister acting alone can make the decision for war without consulting our elected representatives or the Australian people.The veterans' appeal
 has been signed by 160 people and has the backing of former Defence Force Chief Admiral Chris Barrie.
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Scomo sets his sights on the Solomons

Having failed to develop a coherent foreign policy for the region, particularly the Pacific, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has rounded on the Solomons with a statement that should they proceed to allow the Chinese to develop defence facilities they will ‘cross a red line’. What is he talking about? What is the red line? What is either side of it?

Clearly it is a threat against the Solomons and an implied threat toward China. It is this sort of threat that the Solomons claim to have undertaken an agreement with the Chinese to protect themselves against. The aggressive intent behind Morrison’s statement will push the Solomons even more into the arms of the Chinese. It also flies in the face of an earlier statement acknowledging the sovereignty of the Solomons.

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Are we not still Hell Bent on War?

Guest post by Dr David Faber
Hell-Bent: Australia’s leap into the Great War.
Douglas Newton
Scribe, Melbourne 2014
A prime criterion of good histories is contemporary relevance.  For history is written in the present and addressed to the present as well as the future.  By this measure, Douglas Newton’s study of our imperial Dominion’s fateful precipitation into an awesome bloodbath, motivated by `the crimson thread of kinship’, is, as Henry Reynolds observed in the centenary year of the outbreak of those hostilities, `an instant classic’, with many a cautionary tale to tell. As we commemorate Anzac Day, the anniversary of the fatal Gallipoli shore where Australian youth was first sacrificed on a large scale to the Moloch of war, the contemporary context of concern looms larger.

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Articles of Note
Australian War Memorial seeks new funding from Lockheed Martin despite veterans’ criticism
The Australian War Memorial is pursuing a new sponsorship deal from arms manufacturer Lockheed Martin despite being inundated with letters from veterans, historians and retired staff saying such arrangements are “degrading to the memory of our war dead”. More than 300 Australians wrote to the memorial urging it not to renew its deal with Lockheed Martin, due to the company’s involvement in nuclear weapons and surging share price following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Read the article

World military expenditure passes $2 trillion for first time
Stockholm, 25 April 2022. Total global military expenditure increased by 0.7 per cent in real terms in 2021, to reach $2113 billion. The five largest spenders in 2021 were the United States, China, India, the United Kingdom and Russia, together accounting for 62 per cent of expenditure, according to new data on global military spending published today by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

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"Sleepwalking" into war: former CDF renews warning
As the government's language over threats from China and Russia ramps up, Chris Barrie warns leaders have forgotten how high the stakes are. He renews his caution that we may be "sleepwalking" into war. He also offers his clear support for war powers reform. He spoke with Linda Mottram from ABC Radio.

Listen to the interview

Australia confirms dozens of pilots are flying armed drone strikes from the UK
Australia's Department of Defence for the first time confirms the total number of RAAF pilots deployed to the United Kingdom on a secretive mission to remotely operate British armed drones over the Middle East.

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Fast track to Armageddon
Hypersonic missiles being developed in Australia are aircraft-launched highly-manoeuvrable high-speed precision cruise missiles, capable of delivering a conventional, and potentially a nuclear payload, from an aircraft speeds up to 10,000 km/hr.

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UN: Over 5 million people have fled Ukraine since Russia invasion
The United Nations’ refugee agency says more than five million Ukrainians have been forced to flee their country in less than two months since the Russian invasion, creating an unprecedented refugee crisis. The figure of five million is a “staggering” milestone and is Europe’s biggest refugee crisis since World War II.

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