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.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

IRAQ

The big question is how to help create a stable future for Iraq. 

We're trying to do it with troops. 

Mentoring Afghanis


Is that the right way? I examined some of the issues involved in this article for the Canberra Times . . . 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

DAVID MORRISON

This is a story about institutions. Changing cultures. 

When he eventually gets around to writing his book it will prove a fascinating business insight into how to introduce change. 

Morrison - the YouTube that made him famous

This is a piece I did for ASPI's Strategist after seeing him preform at the ANU's National Security College . . . 

Saturday, November 8, 2014

THE TEAM

We don't hear much about it. It would be easy to think Australia isn't at war.

Preparing the Super Hornets at AMAB

Bit the RAAF contingent in the Middle East are engaged in a war every day and night.

This is an attempt to tell part of their story.


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

THINGS FALL APART

The US-backed anti-ISIS Syrian coalition in the Middle East seems to be falling apart.

Perhaps we should have always realised that proxies are unlikely to be able to win.

Will he die for you?

Should we really be surprised?

Moderates don't normally win wars - they win elections. The problem resides in Washington. The idea that US support can somehow be enough to transform a selected rebel group into a victorious national identity is a fraud . . .