China’s rise poses a growing threat to our defences

China’s rise poses a growing threat to our defences, by Paul Dibb and Richard Brabin-Smith, both former deputy secretaries of defence.

Australia’s strategic outlook is deteriorating and, for the first time since World War II, we face an increased prospect of a threat from a major power.

China’s aggressive policies and its use of coercion are grounds for concern that it seeks political domination of countries in our region, including Southeast Asia.

Individual Southeast Asian countries are drifting into China’s orbit and ASEAN has proved incapable of protecting its territorial interests in the South China Sea. China’s militarisation of the South China Sea has brought its power projection capabilities 1200km closer to Australia’s vulnerable northern approaches …

This means the comfortable judgments of previous years about the limited levels of military capability within our own region are no longer appropriate. …

It is China that could come to pose serious challenges for Australian defence policy. No other major power is likely to threaten us militarily in the foreseeable future. The US, Japan and India are democracies and we are distant from Russia’s priority security concerns. …

In the years ahead, the level of China’s military capability able to be brought to bear against Australia will increase. So, our judgments relating to defence risk management will need to rely less on the earlier evidence that capability was limited, and more on assessments of Beijing’s motive and ­intent. …

Potential warning time for high-intensity conflict involving China — in our neighbourhood or farther afield — is shorter because China’s capability levels have risen and will increase further. …

We must now reckon with a major power capable of doing us serious damage.

Our political class is distracted by promoting gay marriage, transgenderism, Muslim migration, and decarbonization.

hat-tip Stephen Neil