Australia’s Defense Review: ‘Sort of Promissory Note’

Members of Australia’s Federation Guard take part in the opening ceremony of the Royal Easter Show in Sydney on April 9, 2022InternationalIndiaAfricaOleg BurunovImplementing all the tasks outlined in Australia’s defense review is a challenge that will take plenty of time, Professor Joe Siracusa, US political expert and dean of Global Futures at Curtin University, told Sputnik. Australia has rolled out its new defense strategic review, billed by the government as the most significant update of its military planning in nearly 40 years.The document outlined at least six “priority areas for immediate action,” including the development of Australia’s nuclear-powered submarine capability and longer-range strike capacity, speeding up the integration of new technologies into the military, defense workforce retention and recruitment, plus improving strategic cooperation between Canberra and its key partners in the Indo-Pacific.

"These are major changes which are going to take a great deal of effort to realize, because they have neither the capability to produce the boats right now or the ability to manufacture the missiles unless they buy them off the shelf from the Americans," Siracusa said, referring to nuclear­-powered submarines.

The expert argued that the review “does two things: shows that [Australia’s] Labor [Party] is changing the battle plan for the country, and number two, that it’s serious about funding it.”

"It's been very hard to get this kind of money up in Australia because Australians don't like to pay a lot of money for defense. […] And so this is a major decision. And once again, it's a decision taken by a government on a proposal that will take years to come to fruition, when and if it does. This defense plan is sort of a promissory note," Siracusa claimed.

Joseph Camilleri, emeritus professor at La Trobe University in Melbourne and one of Australia’s leading international relations scholars, in turn, told Sputnik that the goal of the country’s new defense review is “to equip Australian military forces to support the US in any future military confrontation with China.”

According to him, the Australian government looks "to demonstrate that it remains a close ally of the United States and that it will side with it in any future conflict with China."

Camilleri was echoed by Scott Burchill, Honorary Fellow in International Relations at Deakin University and author of The National Interest in International Relations Theory and Misunderstanding International Relations.WorldWhat is Behind Australia’s Reported Plans to Buy US Nuclear Subs as Part of AUKUS?13 March, 12:15 GMTHe recalled that the review stipulates a shift in Australian defense policy towards a closer alignment with the US military in the Asia-Pacific outlined under the AUKUS arrangements, which he said “is an incremental rather than a revolutionary change.”

"The emphasis on greater ‘self-reliance’ is welcome and sensible, but the purchase of nuclear-powered submarines and the ‘interchangeability’ foreshadowed under the AUKUS procurements suggest Australia is heading in the opposite direction: to an even closer alignment with US maritime interests in the region," Burchill pointed out.

He said that Canberra deciding to side with Washington is “a development that will not be lost on the other countries of the region, Australia’s neighbors, who will again question the sincerity of Australia’s desire to more fully integrate with the Asia-Pacific.”

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