After five years of dithering, Scott Morrison’s Australia, supported by Defence Minister Dutton and the Australian Defence Force, has pulled off a wonderful coup. Scott Morrison’s announcement, available below, was the first surprise, although Henry’s proposal, available as part of Henry’s summary of Jim Molan’s fine paper, is also worth a read.
The most worrying concern is that it will take 20 years to build and trial new submarines. Is it presumably possible that the USA or UK might lend us some old Nuclear subs with American or British troops, and at some stage pepper the regular crews with young Aussie submariners.
Today I had the privilege of watching former Prime Minister Tony Abbott interviewed by Katherine McGregor on Sky News.
Mr Abbott was clear and knowledgeable. His most dramatic point I found absolutely correct. ‘The government should not take 18 months to choose between the UK or the American submarine. Pick one now and start building.’ (Quote recalled but correct.)
My earlier surprise was Labor’s endorsement, subject to caveats. Opposition leader Anthony Albanese said he would support the new approach subject to no nuclear missiles or indeed nuclear manufacturing. What about replacing coal production of electricity with nuclear production, Mr Albanese? This would greatly help us to meet the ‘zero by 2050’, for CO2 emissions, unlike many other advanced nations.
The Labor leader’s comments got largely lost in the widespread ‘Go for it Prime Minister Morrison’s comments.’ Who knows, the Coalition’s lagging approval rating may even rise, even approach a winnable level.
Less confusing is China’s anger. ‘How dare Australia build nuclear submarines’ asserts China, who already have great numbers of nuclear submarines, and presumably have them loaded with Nuclear missiles.
Today (Saturday 18 Sept) the big journo beasts contribute. My plan is to present key points by the big journos.
‘After eight years of Liberal government we have done absolutely nothing on subs and all we are doing is having a feasibility study over the next 18 months to work out what kind of nuclear sub we should get’.
‘Free of charge I can short-circuit the process for Defence. Just get the US Virginia-class, without any modifications’. …
‘Don’t think for a moment we are doing anywhere near enough to address our disturbing strategic circumstances’.
‘The historic Australia-United Kingdom-United States defence – AUKUS – is a powerful statement of purpose, …
‘They don’t love war. Each loves peace. But they don’t shirk the burden of defending democracy and national survival.’
‘We have consistently made the wrong decisions and avoided the best options, condemning ourselves to burdensome costs and sub-optimal defence outcomes. This week’s historic correction from Scott Morrison will embolden and strengthen our defence and security settings for decades to come, even though, infuriatingly, it is based on mere acceptance of what has been obvious and logical for decades’.
In conclusion: ‘Just as the tortured path of politics eventually could not resist the compelling logic of nuclear submarines, the economic, environmental and energy needs of the nation and the world will eventually overwhelm the politics – probably within a decade – and see us choose to develop a domestic nuclear energy industry’.
‘China is the main game, and removing Xi is how to play it’. (How to do this is unstated!)
In conclusion: ‘Xi must go, and with him the reactionary dictatorship and hubris he espouses. This must be our stance. It must be the stance of the Quad. It must be the mantra of all those seeking a peaceful, prosperous future for Asia and the world.’
‘The opposition, crucially, does not object. Labor leader Anthony Albanese raises concerns about costs, timing and process. He does not break with the strategy. The fundamental decision is bipartisan: Australia must cement its alliance with the US, based on shared values, and defy those who see America as a waning superpower in a changing world.
‘There is no longer a pretence that Australia does not have to choose between China and the US. Morrison has made the choice, emphatically.’