Australia Reorients Its Military Policy to Target China
April 24, 2023, 2022 (EIRNS)—Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese today released a new strategic defense review which his government commissioned eight months ago shortly after taking office. In the words of the Sydney Morning Herald, the Australian defense budget will get a $19 billion increase over the next four years “to prepare the defense force for a possible conflict between China and the United States.”
Delivering a stark warning that the Defense Force is not equipped for a modern age of warfare, the federal government’s defense strategic review calls out China for threatening Australia’s national interests by undermining the rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific and failing to be transparent about its dramatic military expansion, the daily reports. Described by Defense Minister Richard Marles as a “watershed moment for defense policy,” the review, conducted by former Defense Minister Stephen Smith and former Defense Force chief Angus Houston, also calls for the urgent fortification of military bases in northern Australia and the rapid development of a local missile manufacturing industry.
The right wing anti-China crowd, such as the neocon Australian Strategic Policy Institute, is complaining that the $19 billion increase is not enough, while the left, such as the Greens, are charging that the Labor Party government is pushing the nation towards a U.S.-led war with China. Everything has already been decided, however, as Albanese stressed in a press conference that his government has already accepted the review’s recommendations and he has already issued directives for their implementation.
In short, the review calls for the abandonment of a long-standing policy of the defense of Australia itself, in favor of long-range strike capabilities, a direction that the AUKUS agreement is already pointing in. Three of the recommendations include: following through on Australia’s acquisition of nuclear powered submarines; developing the Australian Defense Force’s (ADF) ability to precisely strike targets at longer-range and manufacture munitions in Australia; and improving the ADF’s ability to operate from Australia’s northern bases.