For Whom the Bell Tolls
If Putin is looking to history to justify Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, he should also heed the words of one of history’s great literary figures in John Donne.
Book review: Broken Nation: Australians in the Great War, by Joan Beaumont
My fascination with the Great War, as for other amateur genealogists, begins with the involvement of my relatives. My wife’s paternal grandfather Edward Funston served on the Western Front and suffered trench feet, as well as his brother Hubert Funston who was shot beside him. Her maternal great grandfather Thomas William Austin also served, and survived the war but disappeared. On my father’s side, Fred Petty arrived on the Western Front in December 1917 and was killed by a German shell in March 1918.
Book Review: Beyond Combat, edited by Tristan Moss and Tom Richardson
The Australian Defence Force’s (ADF) core business is foundation warfighting. However, it is often involved in other activities: welfare of soldiers and their families, uniform and nutrition provision, military training, military memorials and music bands. Beyond Combat seeks to explore military history- not just through the wars that are fought- but by “embrac[ing] the history of all that militaries ‘do’ away from the battlefield that is central to the lives of the soldiers who compose those forces” (p.1).
Book Review – Leadership Secrets of the Australian Army by Brigadier Nicholas Jans (Ret’d) OAM
One reason I joined the Army was that I saw it as an organisation that was committed to developing the leadership of its people. I wanted a piece of that – both to develop as a leader, and to contribute to the leadership development of others. Army is willing and eager to learn and adapt from the best leadership studies and practices in business and other spheres.
Indonesia and China: Geostrategic Implications for the ADF
As security tensions heighten in the Indo-Pacific, Australia is well placed to strengthen its relationship with Indonesia by stepping up military cooperation to jointly address China's growing influence in our region.
Book Review: Dare to Lead, by Brené Brown
Brené Brown has been researching vulnerability, shame and resilience for two decades. Her TED talk on “The power of vulnerability” has 37 million views and is one of the five most watched. Her latest book Dare to Lead draws on her consulting and personal experience, teaching and evaluating the “Brave Leaders” course and interviewing 150 global C-level leaders to unpack the ingredients of brave leadership and courageous organizations.
Relax Vlad, Nobody Covets Russia
Every nation has legitimate security concerns. It is also apparent that people can love their country no matter what kind of country it is. Recently, Russian President Vladimir Putin held forth on how NATO encroachment eastwards threatens Russia and causes Russia concern. What makes no sense to observers is: who does he think is coveting Russia? Who in their right mind would want to?
Book Review: Military Virtues
oday’s soldiers navigate complex ethical dilemmas. They face new threats and often carry unprecedented potential for destructive power. An unfortunate series of ethical failures in recent conflicts, by members of Western military forces has raised the need for improved military ethics training. As military commanders scramble to correct such failings, so too is the need to identify what moral resources are required for soldiers to choose; right over wrong, justice over injustice, virtue over non-virtuous.
ANZUS in the 2020s - A Blessing or a Curse for Australians?
The Security Treaty between Australia, New Zealand and the United States of America (ANZUS) came into force on the late Emperor Hirohito’s 51st Birthday the 29th April 1952. Without Japan’s warmongering in the Pacific, even given the rise of communism, it is unlikely to have existed. In 2020 the Australian Government’s Defence Strategic Update (DSU) stated: “the prospect of high-intensity military conflict in the Indo-Pacific is less remote than at the time of the 2016 Defence White Paper (DWP), including high-intensity military conflict between the United States and China. This paper, in answering the question in the title, will also propose an alternative to ANZUS avoiding the Commonwealth becoming embroiled in a third world war. Any such option must still meet the government’s “firm commitment to the Australian people” in the first sentence of the DSU’s foreword “that we will keep our nation safe and protect our way of life for future generations.”
Australia’s Military Strategic Challenges – Close to Home
The 16 September 2021 announcement of an enhanced trilateral security partnership between Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States (AUKUS) confirmed beyond any remaining doubt that the Australian Government considers its strategic environment to have permanently changed. The 2020 Defence Strategic Update presaged the announcement by highlighting a number of developments which had swiftly altered the strategic landscape of the Indo-Pacific region since the publication of Australia’s 2016 Defence White Paper.
The Art of Pacifism in the Conduct of War
For some, pacifism is a dirty word, shorthand for an unwillingness to fight on behalf of your country. However, pacifism is not just about being anti-war or anti-fighting. It is also about how not to get into a war. It is this latter meaning of pacifism that I draw on in this essay to discuss ethical issues in security strategy, not to undermine the willingness to fight but to consider the pragmatic tools that pacifism provides to prevent the need to fight. I am an amateur boxer, so I understand the inclination to fight and the desire to confront an adversary with force.