Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Is it the yellow peril, or the other one?

I wanted to adapt a comment I dropped, slightly off topic, on an LP Post on Submarines, into a short post to see if anyone has any thoughts on the issue.

The vague bit in Australian Defence Policy is not the how but the why. I’m not saying we don’t face security threats, potentially, just that it would be nice to see these better articulated prior to grandiose statements about the coming century and the need to keep up with people. In reference to India and China, such statements suggest we’re still suffering delusions of grandeur. In relation to Indonesia, how much is it the other way around- we are a prime source of theoretical threat to Indonesians, resulting in them needing to arm up, and so on.

I think the likelihood of us getting embroiled in total war, the kind that poses existential threat, in the next 2-3 decades, will come far more from the WWI problem (entangled alliances) than the WWII problem (a single, unplacatable, totalitarian behemoth on the rampage).

Any security wonks reading this site? I don't consider predictive security analysis to be an easy field, and my comment is more aimed at prompting discussion than putting a final, confident viewpoint.

However I am uneasy about the government's present positioning on regional issues, as much in relation to competence as ideology.


skepticlawyer said...

The best site (go to their FAQ) I've found for explaining basic defence rationale (although it segues into an emphasis on air power is this one.

Armagnac Esq. said...

Full on looking, but I'll go in further. My own analysis is that air power theory slid back into place sometime around the second gulf war if not well before. An aberration in history stemming from excited confusion about the potential a new technology offered.

But hey, they're not shy about their chosen emphases.