Australia's Massive Plan To Become A World Military Power
Per head of population, Australia's defence spending now ranks second only to the United States.
While the US regularly criticises China and Russia for vast spending on re-arming, Australia is now outspending both of those countries. By 2014, more than $140 billion of Australian taxpayers money will have been funneled into the world's defence contractors, here and in Europe, Israel, the UK and the United States.
There are just under 21 million people in Australia, but the Howard government has set aside an extraordinary $22 billion, or more, to spend on defence through 2008. The defence budget for 2009 could climb to $26 billion, and to almost $30 billion in 2010.
Most Australians don't know about any of this. Arguments in the defence industries, and its myriad of think tanks consulting agencies, about whether or not we should be spending $15 billion on these jets, or $12 billion on these destroyers, rarely make for headline news.
The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have shown that when it comes to quelling insurgencies, tanks, helicopters and submarines are all but useless. The improvised explosives Iraqi insurgents are burying by the sides of roads, and along the edge of tracks, to take out tanks and heavily armoured vehicles have proven to be so effective that American troops have been told it's now safer for them to"get out and walk".
But while the world enters a new age of war amongst the people, rather than government against dictatorship, or nation against nation, Australia is laying out tens of billions of dollars to deck itself out with enough new military gear to move it swiftly into the ranks of the world's biggest military powers.
And who exactly are the enemies of the next decade against whom we need to be so heavily armed?
Are we really expecting to go to war with China? Or Indonesia? Or Taiwan?
Foreign minister Alexander Downer likes to claim that Australia needs to become a part of the US missile defence system because of the "threat" of North Korea, but few serious analysts see North Korea as being anything more than an annoyance in the next decade.
Are we instead now, quietly, part of a larger plan to help the United States encircle China? Will it fall to Australia to move in and help cut off China's sea lanes in the, regionally, local Malacca Straits? It is through the Malacca Straits that China ships most of its new energy supplies. Should the bubbling trade war between China and the United States become far more serious, will Australia be called on to move in and blockade China?
This scenario, by Greg Sheridan,for how Australia may come to put to use its extraordinary new collection of submarines, jets, tanks and war ships, sounds as though it was dreamed up with China, or China's allies in the region, squarely in mind :
Two huge amphibious ships, each weighing 27,000 tonnes, each carrying a full battalion of Australian soldiers and then some, with more than 1000 soldiers on each ship.
Each is also carrying a dozen Abrams tanks, as well as lighter vehicles and amphibious vessels for landing. Each has a fully equipped hospital in case there are casualties. Each also has eight helicopters, six for unloading troops and two for defending and supporting the ships.
The troop ships are escorted and guarded by three air warfare destroyers. Each of these is equipped with the US Aegis combat system, the most advanced naval combat system in the world. Each has a phased array radar that enables it to engage and destroy hostile aircraft at a range of more than 150km. Each of these destroyers, at a modest size of 6250tonnes, has 48 separate missile cells. Each is also equipped with advanced sonars for anti-submarine warfare.
They also have harpoon missiles for anti-ship warfare and they have five-inch guns that can fire extended range munitions in support of our troops once they land.
This convoy is given air cover by 100 joint strike fighters, or F-35s. They are masters of stealth and advanced detection. The aircraft are supported by Wedgetails, mistakenly called spy planes but in reality giant electronic networking command and control planes that make sure that an enemy aircraft is destroyed long before it becomes aware of its Australian opponents.
The Wedgetails, the F-35s, the destroyers, the amphibious ships and the commanders of the land force are all networked into the giant US-based satellite and electronic intelligence system, which detects any movement or communication of any potentially hostile force the second it happens.
Finally, Australia's quiet, immensely capable Collins class submarines have gone in close to the destination point and landed Special Air Service troopers, the best small-unit infantry forces in the world, to prepare the way for the larger Australian party to follow.
Yeah, hopefully. But just in case...
Hopefully, Australia will never have to conduct such an operation.
Before China gets the chance to militarily, strategically, empower other nations in our region, like Indonesia, Australia will move first to get the military, technological edge.
The message is clear : You won't be able to beat us, so don't even think about trying anything. Or we will hammer you, hard. Just look at all our new toys.
The fact is that when Australia becomes a vital part of the US missile defence shield, and such plans are already underway (without the public being a part of the debate, or even being consulted), Australia will need all the submarines and war ships and jet fighters and arms detailed above, and more.
And there will be more. More tens of billions poured into becoming a military proxy of the United States, a 51st (heavily weaponised) state of the future North American Union. America wants to own the Pacific in the next two decades, and it needs Australia to complete this goal.
The mega-spending on 'defence' will continue. Because once this kind of military mega-spending begins, it doesn't end, until the next world war is over.
How Australia Will Help The United States 'Surround' China
Australia Will Spend Billions To Help US Create Its 'Missile Shield', But No American Missiles Will Defend Australia