APSNet Semi-Weekly Bulletin, February 16, 2009

Recommended Citation

"APSNet Semi-Weekly Bulletin, February 16, 2009", APSNet Semi-Weekly Bulletin, February 16, 2009, https://nautilus.org/apsnet/apsnet-16-february-2009/

APSNet 16 February 2009

  1. Children killed in Taliban Battle
  2. Be Sure of Strategy before Committing to Afghan Surge
  3. Biden to Take up Rudd’s Nuclear Arms Push
  4. Serious Failures in $3.8bn Early Warning System
  5. Bougainville Works to Relocate ‘Climate Refugees’
  6. Obama’s Bush-Like Foreign Policy
  7. The Curious Case of the Fake Policemen
  8. Why Canberra Must Not Meddle in the Rio-Chinalco Deal

1. Children Killed in Taliban Battle, Jonathan Pearlman, SMH, 2009-02-14

Five children were killed in a night-time gun battle involving Australian special forces in Afghanistan, the Defence Force has said. The battle, which also resulted in the death of a Taliban fighter and injuries to two children and two adults, comes amid a rising civilian toll in the eight-year-old war and marks a further setback for efforts to win local support against the insurgency.

2. Be Sure of Strategy Before Committing to Afghan Surge, Hugh White, Australian, 2009-02-16

Does it still make sense for Australia to pay alliance dues by supporting the US, when [alliance operations] stop being small, cheap and low-risk? To pull out of Afghanistan now would risk serious damage to the alliance and would not be worth that cost. But to substantially increase our presence might not be worth the benefits we would derive from Obama’s gratitude.

3. Biden to Take up Rudd’s Nuclear Arms Push, Anne Davies, SMH, 2009-02-16

Australia’s initiative to drive a new round of nuclear disarmament talks has met a receptive ear in the Obama Administration, which is likely to give the running on the issue to the Vice-President, Joe Biden, Australia’s chief negotiator on the issue, Gareth Evans, has said.

4. Serious Failures in $3.8bn Early Warning System, Patrick Walters, Australian, 2009-02-14

Project Wedgetail, the RAAF’s $3.8 billion hi-tech airborne surveillance and early warning system, is in deep trouble and may never achieve the performance levels expected by the air force. Defence has had to commission a top US laboratory to conduct an independent design and performance review of the aircraft’s radar developed by US defence giant, Northrop Grumman. Already running at least 38 months late, Project Wedgetail is designed to be the nerve centre of Australia’s air defence system over the next generation.

5. Bougainville Works to Relocate ‘Climate Refugees’, Campbell Cooney, ABC, 2009-02-14

The residents of the Cartaret Islands, north-east of Bougainville, are likely to become some of the world’s first climate change refugees before the end of the year. The Autonomous Bougainville Government has begun searching for land to resettle them. But one of the ABG’s administrators, Patrick Koles, says its efforts are being blocked as it is having trouble getting the legal right to the land it needs.

6. Obama’s Bush-Like Foreign Policy, George Friedman, Open Democracy, 2009-02-12

At the Munich Security Conference US Vice President Joe Biden provided the first glimpse of US foreign policy under President Barack Obama. Most conference attendees were looking forward to a dramatic shift in US foreign policy under the Obama administration. What was interesting about Biden’s speech was how little change there has been in the US position.

7. The Curious Case of the Fake Policemen, Bu V. E. Wilson, ETLJ, 2009-02-13

If the highest court in Timor-Leste has determined that the Supplementary Agreement is purely “administrative” and “non-binding” in nature this arguably means that all arrests and other executive policing decisions made by UNPOL personnel in Timor-Leste since 2006 may not be valid. This has massive implications for the already inchoate task of reconstituting the PNTL.  It is a question of exactly who presides over the monopoly of force in Timor-Leste, something at the cornerstone of a country’s sovereignty.

8. Why Canberra Must Not Meddle in the Rio-Chinalco Deal, John Garnaut, SMH, 2009-02-16

Australia will have one hell of a mess on its hands if it turns out that Kevin Rudd and Wayne Swan can’t tell the difference between the national interest and the self-interest of Australia’s leading corporation. The future – from economics to security and climate change – depends on using what small influence Australia has to encourage China to continue opening to the world and play by the global rules. Canberra should leave the business of Chinalco’s investment in Rio Tinto to the company’s shareholders.

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Richard Tanter,
Project Co-ordinator