Tuesday, December 16, 2014


NOBODY can be sure exactly how the terrible actions of a deranged lone gunman in Sydney will play out.

The "National Security Cabinet" is meeting as I write this . . . why, I'm not sure.

Image courtesy The Australian 

I'd actually begun writing this column some time ago.

It's not about terror, or Martin Place, at all.

It's really about what we're doing - or rather, not doing - in Iraq.

SAS soldiers - image from Herald Sun

There are certainly no troops fighting against Daesh, at any rate.

I had to rewrite the column to reflect the events in Sydney. It's a pity that those events have meant the impact of the piece will inevitably be diluted . . .

Tuesday, December 2, 2014


We want to buy a new submarine.

The only question is; which one?

A French nuclear submarine - one we won't be getting

The problem is the government won't share any of its thinking about the project.

And this is not the only area where the government's failed to explain its thinking, as this column for todays Canberra Times pointed out . . .

Saturday, November 29, 2014


It's certainly not my ABC.

I think it's Scott's, personally.

My ABC . . .

A CEO needs to believe in his vision. After years of being told he's correct, he inevitably grows until he believes his vision is the only correct one. He stops reflecting the desires of the shareholders/stakeholders, because he knows - or thinks he knows - what's needed.

Scott's certainly not reflecting the desires of the government, as this column for today's Canberra Times makes clear . . .

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


This column reads a little more hysterically than I felt when composing it. It puts a case, rather than representing my considered opinion.

A G20 debacle

But this does seem to be where our politics is currently, as I wrote in the Canberra Times . . .

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Russians are going!

Every now and then - well, regularly, actually - a story comes along that makes me wonder about journalism. 

Last week's surprise was the reports of a Russian 'fleet' off the coast of northern Australia. 

Fairfax stoops to report the scare

The ships arrival was greeted with shock and awe.

Personally I preferred the cartoon adds embedded in this desperate attempt at whipping up a story out of nothing.

But guess what? Today they've gone home. So what did it all mean? What was it all about? I suspect the answers to those two questions are "nothing" and "not much" respectively. Although you can swap the answers around if you prefer.

Another link to the non-story. Now even the press realise it was always rubbish.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Does the Bishop speak Ex Cathedra?

The labels have been checked and updated.

It appears that Iran's Qasem Soleimani is, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs, a sponsor of terror.

This would be the same Soleimani that our ally, Iraq, is embracing?

Why yes, it is . . .

Is the US still Number One?

The Kokoda Foundation is a great Aussie think-tank dealing with Defence issues. But that doesn't make it infallible.

Was Paul speaking ex cathedra?

The estimable Professor Paul Dibb has just put out a Kokoda paper (reviewed by the equally estimable Cameron Stewart in the Oz) , in conjunction with John Lee, arguing that a great deal of hype accompanies the assertions that China is overtaking the US as a military power.

No argument there.

China's military does lack modern combat experience and have major deficiencies in doctrine.

My difficulty lies with his linking this to the assertion that therefore China "is not now or foreseeably a strategic peer of America". That's a big call.

And, as I'm sure the Professor would admit, this doesn't necessarily mean that Beijing couldn't (either) achieve local superiority or severely compromise Washington's ability to act as it chooses.

If Beijing thinks it's a big power, it will act as one. And who knows what might happen in future . . .

PS - Like Kokoda, here's another view of China's economy. The headline suggests China's soaring past the US, but if you read down you'll see the rise is not inexorable. Change is the only constant and nothing is certain . . . except that journo's love good headlines.