Updated: Sep 12
'Australia is big enough and rich enough to defend itself in these frightening times; we just choose not to. What are the options if China succeeds in pushing the US out of the region?'
Jim Molan is a wonderful Australian warrior. Today he has presented in The Australian a powerful account of how serious warfare in the Asia-Pacific is likely and Australia is unprepared. I will pick our key points from Warrior Molan and provide a link to the whole article.
Senator Jim Molan
‘The biggest strategic challenge for Australia … is the state of the US military and the regional threat. Intent can change overnight. Military capability can take years to waste and years to rebuild.’
‘Regardless of whether a US administration intends to come to the aid of its allies or help Taiwan, Japan or South Korea, the US now may not have sufficient military strength to be confident of winning.’
China is about dominance, either in the region or perhaps the world. ‘This is a zero-sum game. China must reduce US power to increase its own’.
‘To achieve this, China has built a world-standard military, and in the areas in which China chooses to fight it dominates the US in numbers, technology, range of weapons and short, medium and long range accurate rocketry,’ The US and its allies might not win!
‘Australia is a nation that lacks self-reliance and resilience because it depended for so long on the US for security and prosperity and has overindulged in globalisation, as the pandemic reminds us.’
‘These circumstances have led us to develop a very good small but fragile one-shot military lacking lethality (cannot fight nasty enough), sustainability (it cannot fight for long enough) and mass (it is not big enough).’
'Ironically, our defence force is the best it has been for the kind of war it has fought for 75 years while being severely deficit for the future.'
Here are the key points.
* Our missile production project is across 20 years.
* New submarines and frigates take even longer.
* And after 10 years the Australian defence force still may be only able to fight for a few days in a modern war with China.
I am no warrior like Jim Molan but a mere economist, but I would add the following points, some implicit in Molan’s views. We need:
* Much faster action in deciding and implementing new defence kit.
* Finding a way to buy some elderly nuclear submarines and ask the US to train our submariners. Review the current (very slow) non-nuclear submarine purchase program.
* Quickly buy and train soldiers in using swarms of armed drones
* Rapidly increase capability by raising Australia’s defence spending to 5 % of GDP.
The rest of Jim Molan’s fine article is available here. Three very important points caught my eye and perhaps the first offers some comfort.
1. ‘I do not believe massive Chinese forces will invade Australia in the first instance, outside of a wider war. We are not the main target, just the handy kicking boy now. The US is the target.’
2. ‘Confronted with its own weakness, is this the time the US considers the use of tactical nuclear weapons?’… ‘This situation is dark enough for the US but is even darker for Australia with its paucity of force in its one-shot military, enormous vulnerability within the nation, and weakness of its once great and powerful ally.’
3. ‘(What) Australia must now prepare for is the distinct possibility that the US might be forced out of our region for a very long time and China could run rampant. Is our nation resilient ... or our defence force lethal enough to fight for long enough, and big enough to defend against Chinese coercion or subsequent aggression while the US recovers? And what is our strategy to make the nation and the defence force resilient and powerful?
Finally, how much time do we have?
‘First step is to recognise the appalling threat.’
Thank you Jim Molan for a powerful and much needed contribution.