As of Sunday, more than 180 Palestinians and eight Israelis have so far been killed in the most severe violence to occur in the region in years. Here’s a look at why it’s happening.
Why is violence flaring up in Israel and Gaza right now?
There were two main triggers that ignited the current crisis.
Protests erupted after attempts were made to evict a number of Palestinians from their homes in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah. Those specific evictions have been paused by Israel’s Supreme Court, but they’re part of a long-term campaign supported by the Israeli government to move Jewish settlers into Palestinian neighborhoods in the disputed area of east Jerusalem, which was occupied after the 1967 war and later annexed by Israel in a move that has not been recognized by the international community.
There were also restrictions imposed on Palestinians during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, which ended on Wednesday. For years, Israeli-Arabs and Palestinians have gathered at the Damascus Gate entrance to Jerusalem’s Old City to celebrate during Ramadan. This year, Israeli police erected barricades in the area and restricted the number of people permitted to enter.
After a series of protests the barricades were removed, but then Israeli police stormed the area around the Al-Aqsa Mosque, also known as the Temple Mount, one of the holiest sites in Islam and Judaism, currently managed by an Islamic endowment called the Waqf. Muslims are allowed to pray there, but Jews and Christians are not. The Israeli police said they were responding to Israeli Arabs having gathered stones to use in a later riot. Palestinian witnesses said fighting began after police entered the compound and fired tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets.
Hundreds of Palestinians were injured in the raid. The Israeli police said at least 21 officers were also hurt.
One of the two main Palestinian territories, the Gaza Strip, is run by the Hamas group. Considered a terrorist organization by the U.S. and Israel, Hamas issued an ultimatum to Israel to remove its forces from Sheikh Jarrah and Al-Aqsa. It then started firing rockets into Israel, prompting the Israeli military to launch airstrikes. Tanks have also since been used by Israel to target tunnels that run between Gaza and Israel, according to the Israeli Defense Force.
More Hundreds of Palestinians have demonstrated in the West Bank, and at least 11 have been shot and killed by Israeli police during clashes there, according to The Associated Press.
By Ben Westcott and James Griffiths, CNN Updated 12:53 AM EDT, Wed May 05, 2021
Editor’s Note: (This is a wrap of several top stories from China for May 5, 2021.) (CNN) For a country with a much smaller military and no nuclear weapons, Australia is suddenly hinting an awful lot about a war with China.
On April 25, the symbolic date of Anzac Day, when Australia honors its war dead, newly appointed Defense Minister Peter Dutton said a conflict with China over Taiwan shouldn’t “be discounted,” adding that Australians needed to be “realistic” about tensions around the region.
In another Anzac Day message, the top official at Australia’s powerful Home Affairs department, Mike Pezzullo, told his staff “free nations” were hearing the “drums of war” beating again.
A few days later, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced $580 million in military upgrades. One week on, several newspapers published a confidential briefing by Australia’s Maj. Gen. Adam Findlay to special forces soldiers, in which he said conflict with China was a “high likelihood.”
The idea of Australia fighting a war against China on its own is ridiculous. Last year, Australia’s military spending was about $27 billion, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. China’s was estimated to be 10 times higher, for the same period, at about $252 billion, the second highest in the world.
Plus, China is a nuclear power. Australia is not.
The China-Australia relationship is in the doldrums. The China-Australia relationship is in the doldrums. Relations between Canberra and Beijing have been in a deep freeze for almost a year, since Morrison and his government infuriated their Chinese counterparts by publicly calling for an investigation into the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic. Since then, Australian exports to China — including coal, wheat and wine — have faced crippling obstacles.
The Australian government has moved to confront Beijing over allegations of human rights abuses in Xinjiang and Hong Kong, and Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian has joined a chorus of state-run media highlighting Australia’s poor human rights record on refugees and Indigenous Australians.
But much of the war-like rhetoric from Australia is actually driven by domestic politics, said Yun Jiang, managing editor at the Australian National University’s Center on China in the World. The Morrison government is under pressure over allegations it has mishandled its Covid-19 vaccine rollout, and could be looking to shift the focus.
“Focusing on an external enemy has usually been quite effective in uniting public sentiment and rallying around the government,” she said. “I think it’s irresponsible for the government to talk it up like that. War is very serious business.”
Chanting crowds gathered in several Iraqi cities yesterday, some burning Israeli and American flags, in protest against the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip. Thousands of demonstrators shouted anti-Israeli slogans, held signs saying “Death to Israel, death to America” and waved Palestinian flags. The rallies, called by powerful cleric Moqtada al-Sadr and other paramilitary leaders, were held as Israel launched more air strikes on Gaza and Palestinian fighters fired rockets on Tel Aviv and other cities in the worst escalation in the region since 2014. Sadr, who has millions of followers in Iraq and controls a large paramilitary group, pledged his support to Palestinian armed groups in Gaza. Mass public gatherings have been rare in Iraq since security forces and militia groups crushed anti-government protests last year and amid regular curfews to combat the spread of Covid-19. The government had announced a 10-day curfew over the Eid holiday in response to rising coronavirus infections. The curfew was partially lifted the day before the anti-Israel demonstrations. Political leaders aligned to militias joined the call for Iraqis to take to the streets in a rare show of unity by rival factions which are competing for power ahead of a general election slated for October. Sadr and other groups see Israel and the United States as enemies and vehemently oppose the possibility of restoring diplomatic links with Israel as two Gulf states have done.
Days of violence have seen Israeli soldiers massing on the edge of the territory, though the army stressed there has been no ground incursion.
The Israel Defense Forces tweeted earlier Thursday that “air and ground troops are currently attacking in the Gaza Strip,” and CBS News and other media outlets reported that troops were on the ground. A spokesman for the military later told CBS News that there are currently no ground troops inside the Gaza Strip, but said air and ground troops were carrying out strikes on targets there.
The central city of Lod has seen some of the worst violence. Footage captured on a cellphone shows what the government calls “Jewish extremists” marching through Arab neighborhoods, calling for blood.
“They are moving in our streets they are throwing stones they are shouting at us, they are beating,” said Rana Masimi, an Arab Israeli who teaches English at the local high school.
Shauli Rappaport, who is part of Lod’s Jewish community, says he can’t see a way forward.
The unrest triggered a massive security buildup. Israel’s military said two infantry units and an armored unit were at the Gaza border and plans had been prepared for a potential ground incursion.
An urgent United Nations Security Council meeting requested for Friday was dropped after US resistance to hold a second session in a week. However, it now appears that a meeting will go ahead on Sunday.
President Biden has said Israel has a right to defend itself as Hamas fired off hundreds of rockets at Israel, which responded with airstrikes. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he was sending a senior diplomat to the region in hopes of a truce.
Blinken spoke on Wednesday with Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas, whose Fatah faction governs the West Bank but has little control in Hamas-controlled Gaza. Blinken “expressed his condolences for the lives lost as a result” of the violence in Israel and the Palestinian territories, according to a readout of the call provided by the State Department.
Officials from the U.N. and Egypt have said efforts to establish a cease-fire are underway, and an Egyptian delegation arrived Thursday in Israel, but there were few signs of progress yet.
India had no option left but to go nuclear and conduct a number of nuclear tests including thermonuclear device on 11 and 13 May 1998—the so called Pokharan II. There is no denying the fact that it was a geopolitical necessity because of growing Sino-Pakistan nexus and the lack of genuine commitment shown by acknowledged nuclear weapons states towards achieving a nuclear weapons free world. India understands it very well that its national security interests would be best served in a nuclear weapons free world. But there is a lack of consistency between the rhetoric and action on part of the acknowledged nuclear weapons states (US, Russia, UK, France and China) in adhering to the commitments made in Article VI of the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Instead of getting the role of nuclear weapons de-emphasised, the salience of the nuclear weapons got increased especially when one does the assessment on the nuclear strategy of nuclear weapons states. On the one hand these nuclear weapons states, more particularly the United States and Russia, tell the world that they are moving on the path of reducing their nuclear warheads, but in reality these two countries have been showing signs of putting more reliance on nuclear weapons—hence, nuclear weapons are here to stay. Even though the Cold War got over and the world witnessed the demise of the Soviet Union, the nuclear weapons which were deployed during the Cold War years are still on hair-trigger alert. In practical sense, India had become frustrated because its voice was not heard at the United Nations whenever India proposed the means to achieve nuclear disarmament. India’s contributions in terms of ideas, resolutions and action plans to achieve a nuclear weapons free world at the United Nations was not given due attention by the United States and Russia in particular. They became the champion of vertical proliferation. China became a pioneer of horizontal proliferation by providing nuclear technology to Pakistan. India’s credentials remain very high because it has neither promoted vertical nor horizontal proliferation. Despite being a non-signatory to the NPT, it has followed all the provisions of the treaty guidelines. India never defied any international law and principles and found the nuclear tests a good bet for conveying message to its adversaries. India also understood the predicament of the regional security environment. The acquisition of nuclear weapons by India is purely for the purpose of deterrence. India is the only country across the globe which had put its nuclear doctrine in draft form for public debate and discussion. The response from the West in general and the US in particular on India’s draft nuclear doctrine was highly critical although very interesting. India stated in clear terms about its “no first use” intent where it articulated that it would not be the first one to use nuclear weapons against nuclear weapons states (NWS) and the non-use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapons states (NNWS). The perception built by the NWS about the status of India whether it is an NWS or NNWS was dictated by the NPT definition that those countries which have tested their nuclear device after 1 January 1967 are only acknowledged de jure NWS. China, somehow, has taken this very seriously and still puts India as NNWS despite for all practical purposes it is an NWS. The US understood India’s potential and openly recognised it as a responsible nuclear player because it has not proliferated. The notion of India as a responsible nuclear power led the US to accept India as a de facto nuclear weapons state. The US accepted India’s Separation Plan where India has segregated both its civil nuclear and military facilities. This unique recognition of India by the US has elevated India’s position across the spectrum. India has also stated that it will have a “minimum credible nuclear deterrent capability”. It has obviously left to speculation as to how much minimum would be minimum. It must be emphasised here that the minimum number of nuclear warheads required for India would be relative. India requires to deal with two of the nuclear weapons states in its immediate neighbourhood. The West and the US have been trying their best to find the numbers. No sensible country will ever divulge the details of numbers required when they have limited capability. Both the US and Russia shrouded everything in secrecy about their numbers and when they achieved everything in plenty, they slowly and steadily started giving the information in public domain. India will have to be guarded on this and at the same time it has conveyed the message to the rest of the world that it is not interested in any nuclear arms race. It will keep its inventory at the minimum level. India has committed itself to retaliate in much greater force in the event of an attack by an adversary. India’s notion of massive retaliation is to inflict sufficient damage to its adversary so that the question of a third strike does not arise. India has also articulated that it will have a “triad” capability, which means it will have sufficient land-based, air-based and sea-based assets. The emphasis given on the acquisition of nuclear powered submarine tipped with sea launched ballistic missile all these years has boosted India’s nuclear deterrent capability. Since India has “no first use policy”, hence it should have a robust second-strike capability. In case of any eventuality, both land-based and air-based assets remain highly vulnerable and hence it is perhaps the sea-based assets which could complement India’s no first use policy. The integration of “Arihant” with “K-15 Sagarika” is a sign of reflecting its preparedness in the case of any attack by its adversary. India’s nuclear doctrine has also spoken about a robust “command and control” system, which perhaps remains the key and will always remain under civilian control. Even in the nuclear doctrine, India has argued the need to have complete elimination of nuclear weapons from the world. India has shown its commitment to nuclear disarmament. India’s nuclear doctrine since its formalisation in 2003 has not changed any of its stated position except that it added that India will retaliate with the use of nuclear weapons if it is attacked by chemical or biological weapons. It remains largely rhetoric because it would be too difficult for India to find the origin of attack in case these chemical or biological weapons are used. Right now, India is, undoubtedly, a victim of biological warfare. The pandemic has been continuing with dire consequences for India. There is an urgent need to figure out the origin of the use of biological weapons and obviously take stern measure to deal with its adversary. It would be in India’s interest to review and revisit its nuclear doctrine and see how there can be changes in some of the stipulations made. From time to time, the discussion on changing its “no-first use” stance to “first use” of nuclear weapons have taken place, but it seems that “no-first use” in the context of India has given more dividends. Nuclear weapons for India will strictly remain for deterrent purposes. India will not get influenced by the changes occurring among the NWS about their intentions, motivation, fundamental goals and how they keep relying on the role of nuclear weapons in their strategy. Arvind Kumar is Professor at School of International Studies (SIS) and Chairman of the Centre for Canadian, US and Latin American Studies, SIS, JNU, New Delhi. Monish Tourangbam teaches Geopolitics and International Relations at Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE), Manipal.
‘We narrowly avoided a terrible loss of life,’ says news organization’s president
Israeli Airstrikes Hit Building Housing Associated Press A view of the building in Gaza City housing international media after it was bombed. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa) camera-icon View 4 more images (Newser) – An Israeli airstrike on Saturday targeted and destroyed a high-rise building in Gaza City that housed offices of the Associated Press and other media outlets. AP staffers and other tenants safely evacuated the building after the military telephoned a warning that the strike was imminent within an hour. Three heavy missiles struck the 12-story building, collapsing it in a giant cloud of dust. For 15 years, the AP’s top-floor office and roof terrace were a prime location for covering Israel’s conflicts with Gaza’s Hamas rulers, including wars in 2009 and 2014. The news agency’s camera offered 24-hour live shots as militants’ rockets arched toward Israel and Israeli airstrikes hammered the city and its surrounding area this week.
“We are shocked and horrified that the Israeli military would target and destroy the building housing AP’s bureau and other news organizations in Gaza,” said AP President and CEO Gary Pruitt. “We narrowly avoided a terrible loss of life.” The building also housed the offices of Qatari-run Al-Jazeera TV, as well as residential apartments. The Israeli military said Hamas was operating inside the building, a standard explanation, and it accused the militant group of using journalists as human shields. But it provided no evidence to back up the claims. Hours earlier, another Israeli air raid on a densely populated refugee camp killed at least 10 Palestinians from an extended family, mostly children, the deadliest single strike of the current conflict.
A 3.6-magnitude earthquake shook Bliss Corner, Massachusetts, on Sunday morning, officials said — startling residents across the Northeast who expressed shock about the rare tremors.
The quake struck the area about five miles southwest of the community in Buzzards Bay just after 9 a.m. — marking the strongest one in the area since a magnitude 3.5 temblor in March 1976, the US Geological Survey said.
With a depth of 9.3 miles, the impact was felt across Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and into Connecticut and Long Island, New York.
“This is the strongest earthquake that we’ve recorded in that area — Southern New England,” USGS geophysicist Paul Caruso told The Providence Journal.
But the quake was still considered “light” on the magnitude scale, meaning that it was felt but didn’t cause significant damage.
The quake, however, was unusual for the region — which has only experienced 26 larger than a magnitude 2.5 since 1973, Caruso said.
Around 14,000 people went onto the USGS site to report the shaking — with some logging tremors as far as Easthampton, Massachusetts, and Hartford, Connecticut, both about 100 miles away.
“It’s common for them to be felt very far away because the rock here is old and continuous and transmits the energy a long way,” Caruso said.
Journalist Katie Couric was among those on Long Island to be roused by the Sunday-morning rumblings.
“Did anyone on the east coast experience an earthquake of sorts?” Couric wrote on Twitter.
“We are on Long Island and the attic and walls rattled.”
Closer to the epicenter, residents estimated they felt the impact for 10 to 15 seconds.
“In that moment, it feels like it’s going on forever,” said Ali Kenner Brodsky, who lives in Dartmouth, Massachusetts.
B-52 has completed the first successful off-ground test of a hypersonic missile being developed by the U.S. Air Force, as the Pentagon races against China and Russia to develop the next generation of weapons.
A B-52 Stratofortress bomber flew a 13-hour round trip to Alaska from Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana to test data transmission and target sensing for the AGM-183 air-launched rapid response weapon—or ARRW—on May 5, according to an Air Force statement released on Thursday, The ARRW is the hypersonic missile developed by Lockheed Martin for the Air Force.
During the trip, the B-52 was able to receive target data from sensors via the All-Domain Operations Capability experiment, or ADOC-E, more than 1,000 nautical miles away at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage, the statement said.
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Once it had received the data from the ADOC-E, the bomber was able to take a simulated shot of the target from 600 nautical miles away using the hypersonic missile.
“We were really exercising the data links that we needed in order to complete that kill chain loop, and then get the feedback to the players in the airspace that the simulated hypersonic missile was fired and effective,” said Lt. Col. Joe Little, deputy commander of the 53rd Test Management Group.
“The team did an outstanding job effecting this event both in planning and execution,” said Lt. Col. Matt Guasco, commander of the 49th Test and Evaluation Squadron. “This is a win for the U.S. Air Force and greater [Department of Defense] as a whole but make no mistake, we are just getting started.”
First Lt. Savanah Bray, an Air Force spokeswoman, told Stars and Stripes that the test was “a major milestone.”
The flight test of the ARRW had been delayed after it was initially scheduled for December 2020. The Air Force has not explained precisely why the launch was pushed back, but said “technical findings” and the coronavirus pandemic were among the reasons.
Owner of Gaza Apartment Building Was Warned by Israeli Military to Evacuate In early April the test finally went ahead, but failed after the ARRW missile didn’t launch from the bomber carrying it. It was the seventh ARRW test and the first that involved an actual launch.
Hypersonic missiles could revolutionise warfare because of their high speeds, flat trajectory and ability to maneuver in flight, all of which will make it difficult for existing anti-missile systems to intercept them. Russia and China are investing heavily in hypersonic research and Moscow has already deployed two hypersonic weapons.
The missiles are made up of a solid-fuel rocket booster topped by an unpowered boost-glide vehicle. The booster propels the glide vehicle and its warheads—including nuclear warheads—to hypersonic speeds, after which the latter detaches and continues to its target.
The ARRW will be able to fly at speeds of between 5,000 and 6,000 miles per hour—somewhere between Mach 6.5 and Mach 8, according to Major General Andrew Gebara, director of strategic plans, programs and requirements for Air Force Global Strike Command, quoted in Air Force Magazine last October.
The Air Force has already completed the ARRW’s early testing phase, mounting a prototype of the weapon on a B-52 strategic bomber. The service is hoping to live-fire ARRW prototypes in October 2021, purchasing as many as eight prototypes. Operational capacity is slated for September 2022.
Why military response won’t defuse the Israel crisis — or other multiplying threats GETTY IMAGES BY JONATHAN GRANOFF, OPINION CONTRIBUTOR The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the view of The Hill TWEET SHARE EMAIL
The Biden administration wants to reinvigorate alliances and diplomacy to build a more secure world, but there are howling headwinds, including the pandemic, cyberattacks, climate change, and nuclear tensions. Escalating regional conflicts in Israel and Kashmir – both involving nuclear-armed nations motivated by religious and ethnic passions – are the latest reminders that the threat of nuclear war hangs over us, more ominously than ever.
Credible sources report China plans to double its nuclear arsenal. Russia has a massive tactical nuclear stockpile, and is upgrading its strategic arsenal with ultra-powerful nuclear weapons. U.S. Adm. Charles Richard recently warned that Moscow and Beijing have “begun to aggressively challenge international norms” in ways not seen since the height of the Cold War. “There is a real possibility that a regional crisis with Russia or China could escalate quickly to a conflict involving nuclear weapons,” he said.
Meanwhile, climate change is accelerating. New data shows carbon dioxide at its highest level in 3.6 million years, despite the disruptions of the pandemic. At the April climate summit, U.S. Defense Secretary Austin called climate change an “existential threat” which “is making the world unsafe.”
Unfortunately, that’s no exaggeration. Nuclear weapons and climate change are twin, mutually compounding threats that have spiraled into unprecedented territory and actively threaten humanity’s survival. Each one poses security risks that make the other more of a threat.
Climate change is a byproduct of a mania for economic growth beyond the planet’s limits, which also drives scarcity, social inequity and resource conflict, adding up to a steady, grinding threat to our long-term survival. Nuclear weapons codify adversity as avowed state policy – and pose an acute threat to near-term survival.
Our default approach to security is doubling down on adversity, buying more weapons and projecting more power, building military capacity rather than the resilience and well-being of communities and people.
This year the Biden administration requested a 2021 military budget of $753 billion, an increase of $12.6 billion over last year. That increase is more than the entire 2021 budget for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The cost of the nuclear weapons complex over the next 30 years is projected to be around $2 trillion – about as much as the cost of overhauling infrastructure across the U.S.
Other nations are also profligate in their military spending, especially the other nuclear-armed states (Russia, China, UK, France, Israel, Pakistan, North Korea, and India). The world spent nearly $2 trillion in military outlays last year, but less than $50 billion on the United Nations.
This is the wrong bus to be on.
At this dangerous juncture in history, any coherent approach to defusing spiraling existential threats and promoting security means investing in Human Security.
Human Security focuses on how we live our daily lives. It prioritizes the environment and climate, sustainable development, education, jobs, health, food security, thriving cultures and communities, and the flourishing that comes from upholding freedom of worship and conscience, human rights, and the rule of law. As the COVID-19 pandemic reminds us, these personal needs are also global. Human security defuses threats by working cooperatively toward these goals.
Assembling at a world summit in Rome, Nobel Peace laureates declared that “the promotion of global cooperation is distorted by the possession of nuclear weapons by some… We must ensure the elimination of nuclear weapons before they eliminate us.” They framed three critical interconnected questions that world leaders must answer to achieve security, and urged all of us to press for answers:
As tensions rise in Kashmir, India and Pakistan continue to brandish nuclear weapons at each other while COVID-19 rages, and while a third of the children in both countries suffer malnutrition. For most Indians and Pakistanis, real security depends on personal and family health. For the rest of the world, security depends on lowering tensions between the two governments, for if they escalate enough to trigger a nuclear exchange, it would not only cause unthinkable casualties and suffering among their people, it would throw enough soot into the stratosphere to cripple agriculture worldwide.
Like Kashmir, the crisis in Israel is not amenable to military solutions. Both require a different approach that addresses how people can live their daily lives securely. Military expenditures don’t do that, but the Human Security approach does. Its object is protecting ordinary people and the natural world.
The more the world perfects sophisticated high-tech weaponry, the less secure its people are. State power is not an end in itself, and it is irrational to promote it with weapons that can kill us all. The state is a means to serve human needs, and a construct which now needs reorienting toward that mission.
Today we face many threats which cannot be solved except by international cooperation. To address them, world leaders must work together. The April climate summit was an example of this, but we need a more integral approach cutting across today’s multiple, pressing, intertwined threats. We need a world summit on Human Security.
Jonathan Granoff is president of the Global Security Institute and representative to the United Nations of the Permanent Secretariat of the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates. He chairs the Task Force on Nuclear Nonproliferation of the International Law Section of the American Bar Association, and he is a fellow of the World Academy of Arts and Science. He has testified as an expert before the U.S. Congress, United Nations, Canadian Parliament and U.K. Parliament. He was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014.
New Delhi, May 13: Chinas state medias threat to subject Australia to a missile strike, should it support Taiwan, has had an unexpected fallout—it has triggered demands in Canberra for nuclear weapons.
“Given that Australian hawks keep hyping or hinting that Australia will assist the US military and participate in war once a military conflict breaks out in the Taiwan Straits, and the Australian media outlets have been actively promoting the sentiment, I suggest China make a plan to impose retaliatory punishment against Australia once it militarily interferes in the cross-Straits situation,” writes Hu.
The bellicose insider of the CPC then details a plan of attack. “The plan [to attack Australia] should include long-range strikes on the military facilities and relevant key facilities on Australian soil if it really sends its troops to China’s offshore areas and combats against the PLA,” Hu writes. “If they [Australian hawks] are bold enough to coordinate with the US to militarily interfere in the Taiwan question and send troops to the Taiwan Straits to wage war with the PLA, they must know what disasters they would cause to their country.”
Undeterred by the Chinese threat former Yale and Harvard academic, Anders Corr, in his riposte written in Epoch Times, says that given Hu’s threat “the United States and allies should immediately support Australia in obtaining an independent submarine-based nuclear deterrent, so that Australia can join countries such as the United States, France, Britain, and India as powerful global defenders of freedom and democracy. The independent strength of individual members of an alliance improves the overall strength of the alliance”.
Corr is not the first one to call for an independent Australian nuclear deterrent, given the likely face-off with China in the Indo-Pacific region. “Far from being in a strategic backwater, Australia is very much now a state in the front line,” said Malcolm Davis, a military planner as quoted earlier by Bangkok Post.
Hugh White — a professor of strategic studies at the Australian National University is another heavyweight advocating Australian nukes.
In his book, “How to Defend Australia”, he argues that developing nuclear weapons has become inevitable.
“The strategic costs of forgoing nuclear weapons in the new Asia could be much greater than they have been until now,” he says citing “big strategic shifts in Asia”.
Corr, points to the urgency of acquiring Australian nukes.
“Australia has a limited window of opportunity in which to go nuclear, after which China’s rising power and regional hegemony will make an independent nuclear Australia impossible. At that point, which could be as soon as 5 or 10 years, the window will close and China could more effectively use nuclear brinkmanship, control of Asian seas, check book diplomacy, and its economic trading power, to break Australia from its allies, and bring it under Beijing’s dominance,” he observes.
NATO should welcome Australia into its alliance as a full member, before China has a chance to create a territorial dispute down under, and thereby make Australian accession more difficult. If Washington came under the influence of Beijing, the bilateral U.S.-Australia alliance would be useless to Australia’s defence, he says.
Corr makes two additional points. First, NATO must change its strategic outlook by no longer narrowly focusing on the Atlantic. Instead, it should broaden its vision to include Asia. Second non-democracies such as Saudi Arabia and Vietnam should be included in the Indo-Pacific phalanx.
“NATO should no longer be a purely Atlantic affair, given globalization and the rise of China. What matters today in choosing our closest allies is not geography, but shared values in support of democracy, as well as the inclusion of a broader diversity of allies, including countries like Saudi Arabia and Vietnam, that will strengthen the alliance in resisting Beijing’s growing preponderance of power.”