Home > Asia-Pacific, Conflict & Security, Politics > Australia’s Expansive Asian Security Footprint: The 2007 Defence Update, the United States, and the Abuses of Realism

Australia’s Expansive Asian Security Footprint: The 2007 Defence Update, the United States, and the Abuses of Realism

Richard Tanter writes in Japan Focus:

“How we defend our sovereignty, our citizens and our interests – and our success in doing so – shapes the future of our nation.”

The opening words of Brendan Nelson’s Preface to the 2007 Defence Update are the most accurate of all those in this seriously flawed document – though quite likely not as Nelson had in mind when he wrote them. The Defence Update 2007 comes after a decade of constant and still unfinished increases in defence spending, a tripling of domestic security spending, huge weapons systems orders, Australian defence Forces deployments from Lebanon to the Solomon Islands, three large and extremely demanding deployments to Iraq, Afghanistan and East Timor, and world politics turning on the hinge of a massive strategic miscalculation by Australia’s closest ally. The Defence Update is a deeply flawed policy document, shaped by double standards and selective learning, shortsightedness and botched use of realism, the aggressive demands of alliance maintenance, and an almost complete failure to consider the real and salient threats to Australian security – both the state- and human- versions – of global problems such as climate change, health and poverty.

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