U.S. supremacy is on the wane under President Obama, and Australia can no longer depend on its number one ally to protect it. That’s the assessment of the Rudd government, and it is taking steps to ensure that Australia can defend herself.
A white paper, Defending Australia In The Asia Pacific Century: Force 2030, outlines a range of possible security threats, including instability caused by the financial crisis, cyber warfare, failed states in the Pacific, Islamist terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, and other factors.
Although the document says the short-term chances of a direct attack on Australia are “very remote,” it warns that Australia must guarantee that it can protect itself in the midst of emerging powers in the region – particularly China, India and Russia – which could lead to a “miscalculation” with disturbing consequences for the Land Down Under.
The new military focus for the Rudd government is the defense of Australia’s borders through increased air and naval power to protect the northern sea-air gap, maritime approaches and offshore oil and gas reserves.
The blueprint calls for major hardware acquisitions including doubling Australia’s submarine fleet to 12, 100 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, eight frigates with submarine detection capability and three air warfare destroyers. For the first time Australia will have its own arsenal of sea-based long-range cruise missiles.
Meanwhile in the U.S., the Obama administration is preparing to cease production of its advanced F-22 Air Superiority Fighter, abandon its missile defense program and reject any modernization of its aging stockpile of nuclear weapons. In a new century of emerging and re-emerging threats, Obama, like Clinton and Carter before him, is intentionally and recklessly weakening America’s defense posture.
While the white paper recommends that Australia should continue to support the US alliance and American-led efforts to increase global security, it warns that Australia will no longer put her troops at risk “in distant theatres of war where we have no direct interests”.
It is yet to be determined how other U.S. allies will react to Obama’s determination to diminish America’s status as a superpower. In the Asian theater, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan will likely have to reallocate precious resources to increase their own military self-reliance. In Europe, the emerging democracies simply do not have those resources to defend themselves against a more aggressive Russian Federation, as was demonstrated by Putin’s incursion into Georgia. If Obama scales back the level of U.S. participation in NATO, nations such as Ukraine and Poland may find themselves increasingly isolated.
Cross-posted at Mainstream Conservative