Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
The "National Security Cabinet" is meeting as I write this . . . why, I'm not sure.
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.
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
The only question is; which one?
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
I think it's Scott's, personally.
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.
But this does seem to be where our politics is currently, as I wrote in the Canberra Times . . .
Thursday, November 20, 2014
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
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 . . .
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
Saturday, November 15, 2014
Saturday, November 8, 2014
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
Perhaps we should have always realised that proxies are unlikely to be able to win.
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 . . .
Tuesday, November 4, 2014
And shouldn't an Australian Governor General be flying Qantas?
On his recent trip to Dubai Cosgrove travelled business.
It's very different to the way things happened under Labor, as I wrote in the Canberra Times . . .
Saturday, November 1, 2014
One hint - it won't be quick.
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
But, as I ask in my Tuesday column for the Canberra Times, is that going to be enough?
"Better alignment of leave provisions to make it more equitable amongst the forces."
Not everyone feels quite the same way, as this news story for the Canberra Times pointed out . . .
Some soldiers in the Middle East Area of Operations had their allowances cut.
I'm not getting involved in the argument about how dangerous it is to be at any particular location - this is simply about the issue of what the cuts to the allowances were all about.
It's in the Canberra Times Defence Supplement . . .
Sunday, October 26, 2014
I wrote this after reading Peter Leahy's piece on the 'Long War' for ASPI.
Peter Leahy at ASPI
It's worth reading.
But also read the penultimate paragraph of this story.
It's important we don't forget that this war isn't entirely the fault of interpretations of Islam, as I wrote it the Canberra Times . . .
Friday, October 24, 2014
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
The new one's in charge of the forces in the MEAO.
More importantly, he's been here on four occasions in the last four decades.
I did this profile for Tuesday's Canberra Times . . .
Sunday, October 19, 2014
Sunday, October 12, 2014
The university issued a simple statement stating that it would, in future, be investing its money ethically. The uni named some mining and resources companies, including Santos, from which it would divest.
Unfortunately it appears someone didn't do their homework. The Fin carries a story today suggesting that the named companies - and particularly Santos - are, in fact, very ethical investments.
Another story coincidently noted that the big four accountancy firms have issued a statement of support for the Beijing government. They called for students to stop protests calling for more democracy in Hong Kong.
I wonder how they would justify, ethically, why they felt so compelled to tell the students what to do? What moral code is at work here?
Or are they just more worried about the financial viability of their mainland operations?
Saturday, October 11, 2014
Of course the moral of her story is that alliegance or belonging - want to or not - to a particular cause or group is everything.
Media outlets around the world are attempting, incoherently, to come to some view on what the group fighting in the state formerly known as Iraq should be called.
News that it's now begun fighting Iran suggests that it's not a genuine "Islamic State".
That's why I made the decision, some weeks ago, to call it Daesh. So have most reputable media outlets.
Oh, and by the way, the ABC might note it's been the only organisation stupid and incompetant enough to spell the word "Daish". I remember when it used to be an authoritative news outlet.
Monday, September 29, 2014
Normally no one cares less about a book. Publish and be dammed.
But sometimes books are weapons . . . political weapons.
That's probably the case with these two, recently published books (one of which Rudd described as a "work of fiction"), as I wrote in the Canberra Times . . .
Friday, September 26, 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
But there's still hope for the likes of more pedestrian authors like myself. I opened it at p102, his (Kelly's) account of the Gillard/Rudd pact to destroy Beazley. Surprisingly, I feel, although he details Rudd's visit to Melbourne to address the Left at Lygon Street (an important step in gaining support from this quarter) he doesn't even mention the meeting between the two leadership aspirants on the NSW North Coast where they sealed their pact. This was the point at which the two actually reached their agreement that Rudd would be the boss.
Also, on p105 he says Chris Evans became the "future treasurer and Senate leader". Well, it's not often that we've had a Treasurer in the upper house and I don't actually think Evans did become treasurer. And there are a few other infelicitous sentences.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not being picky and nor am I suggesting there are gaps or sloppiness in the work. It's excellent. The point is that everything is the product of a person.
Witnessing the fact that Kelly remains a mortal offers hope to those of us who are more pedestrian writers and analysts. We should be thrilled that each of us can aim to achieve Kelly's heights.
Then, in 1989, the wall began to fall.
In Singapore in the mid 90's I remember the enthusiasm that greeted the great, uniting, "European Project".
Today things are different. Everywhere - from East Timor to Scotland - we see increasing demand for self determination.
But that's why it's so important to take the long view, as this great column from the Financial Times does.
Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Friday, September 19, 2014
It's about the need to keep the Services vibrant.
As I said in this piece in Saturday's Canberra Times, I don't think that works for either the services or the individuals . . .
Monday, September 15, 2014
Wednesday, September 10, 2014
Welcome to today's world.
The real issue is how do we protect our society.
Raising the threat level, from "amber" to "red" is a pathetic, ridiculous and a bizarre way of dealing with the problem. It's difficult to treat such a vague and general "warning" as anything other than a clear indication Irvine is dealing with something that's utterly beyond him.
ASIO (supposedly) provides us with actionable intelligence. What we need is a clear warning of what might happen, why, and what we can do to avoid it's occurrence. If that can't be offered, suggest other strategies that might actually work. It's not good enough just to cry "wolf". I can do that myself.
After watching Irvine the other night, it's difficult not to suspect that whatever the answer to domestic terrorism is, it won't come from ASIO.
What other ways of de-radicalising potential terrorists are there?
How about this?
Tuesday, September 9, 2014
Saturday, September 6, 2014
Tuesday, September 2, 2014
Saturday, August 30, 2014
Perhaps it is worth knowing something about cyber issues after all, as this article for the Canberra Times last Saturday suggested . . .
Unless we intervene in Iraq now, they say, something terrible will happen.
What, worse than this?
I'd enjoy reading the intelligence assessment that says the deployment of 12, 18 or even 24 Super hornets with ancillary supports will make any difference to what's happening on the ground, as I wrote in today's Canberra Times . . .
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
Sunday, August 17, 2014
Monday, August 11, 2014
Saturday, August 9, 2014
Tuesday, August 5, 2014
There's no underlying, unifying philosophy knitting his policies together.
Saturday, July 19, 2014
Yet this is, it seems, exactly what Australia is doing.
This Canberra Times column asks if Tony Abbott is acting in Australia's interests or being cleverly manipulated by Shinzo Abe . . .
Friday, July 18, 2014
Monday, July 7, 2014
But it's this man who'll probably have most to say about our security.