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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

boys and their toys « Previous | |Next »
January 13, 2004

I heard on the news this morning that Australia is going to spend billions on a missile defence system that would enable SM3 missiles to shoot down intercontinental missles in outer space. The tone of the voice of Robert Hill the Minister of Defence, was one of positively drooling over the capabilities of the SM3.

The clip sounded so much like boys raving about their toys. The Minister was carried away with excitement:

"It's got the capability to basically meet and intercept missiles outside of the atmosphere, long-range three stage missiles that can do what the Americans did, destroy an incoming missile 37 kilometres above the earth travelling at 3.7 kilometres a second."


The minister did not mention who would be firing these long-range ballistic missiles at Australia. But we all knew without being told. It was the Asian enemy in the north.

The reason for the enemy firing the missiles at Australia? They wanted to knock out Australia's old fossil fuel economy. We all know that.

Yeah, it's whacky reasoning I know.

But then so is the reasoning of Robert Hill on Australia's involvement in Star Wars Mark 11.
Indonesians have voiced concerns about the missile plan. Indonesia's foreign ministry spokesman Marty Natalegawa said the system dubbed Son of Star Wars would not contribute to regional security. It would destabilise the region.

This piece says that the ALP is opposed to Australia signing up to Star Wars. The ALP argues that one of the consequences of signing up is that it will lead to an arms race where nations build bigger and better missiles to beat the missile shield. The Australian Strategic Policy Institute says that:

"China is certainly concerned about being hemmed in by the US on missile defence. And with Australia and Japan both signing up, China would be very much concerned that this policy is about the containment of China."

The Institute was established to provide an alternative input into strategic decision-making processes and encourage public debate on strategic issues. We certainly need some new input into public debate given the way the opposition to the war on Iraq is seen as supporting the former Iraqi dictator and his brutal regime. All the stuff about weapons of mass destruction, Iraq's WMD posed a threat to Australia, and that a close nexus existing between Iraq and the al-Qa'ida terrorist network is quietly forgotten.

Whilst on this this topic have you noticed how much the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council supports the Bush Administration's foreign policy---in this case the US anti-ballistic programme. In Wednesday's Australian Financial Review (subscription requiredbut see here) Ted Lapkin, their senior policy analyst justifies Australia joining this programme on the grounds of the threat posed by North Korea:

" One of the most compelling dangers to international peace comes from North Korea, a reprobate nation that could also pose a direct military threat to mainland Australia...With a range of 6000 kilometres the Taepo-Dong-2 missile could easily hit Darwin...Moreover, intelligence indicates that the North Koreans are working on an extended-range missile that could reach as far as Melbourne."

Why would the North Koreans want to rain missiles down on Australia?

The reason given is the paranoid irrationality of the current North Korean regime driven into destitution by failed economic policies.

This is the old Red Scare reinvented as "rogue regime" by the conservative hawks playing off the old fears and anxieties about the enemy from the North.


| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 7:14 AM | | Comments (6)


'Scuse me, but as far as I am aware there has not been a single successful hit of missile (except for one with a homing device on it to make the demo more encouraging) with one of these ABM missiles. Let alone a missile that uses basic chaff/decoy tricks.

This is science fantasy stuff.

Andrew good point. It is fantasy.

Chris Evans, the ALP's Shadow Minister for Defence, put out a media release that highlights the Howard Government having no current plans to buy the ships needed to contribute to a American defensive shield.

Evans says that the Defence Minister, Robert HIll,talks about the planned air warfare destroyers having a role in a missile defence system. However, these ships are not due to be in service for another ten years.

Yeh but it still shows lil Johnnys stronger on national security than the other mob.

There have been a number of successful tests of the Standard Missile 3. For anyone wanting to be better informed, you might try (Federation of American Scientists).

For example, at is the actual infrared image of a target as seen by the SM 3's seeker. Such a detailed image should make it possible for an SM 3 to find its target despite decoys or chaff.

The missiles may work but why does Australia need them?

It is mythmaking to talk about the Red Threat from the North.

It is about the integration of Australia into the US defensive shield/system. We become a part of the US empire in the Asia- Pacific region.

That is kissing an independent Australia goodbye.

Gary initially claims that missile defence will never work. But, then, when confronted by evidence that his position is erroneous, he falls back on a stance that is predicated on unbounded faith in the sanity and good judgement of Kim Jung Il's kleptocracy in Pyongyang.

Gary conveniently overlooks the insanely erratic policies of that regime, including countless acts of terrorism against South Korea, the repeated violation its signed nuclear non-proliferation committments, and the firing of a ballistic missile over homeland Japan.

The boys in Pyongyang are dangerous enough in their own right, and they are doubly so because they have been trading in WMD technology for years. Selling missiles to the Syrians and Iranians as well as buying nuclear technology from Pakistan.

The thought of North Korea developing missiles with the range to hit Australia's major population centres is a helluva lot more unsettling than Gary's knee jerk anti-American blatherings about any supposed loss of Australian independence.