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Erik is a public policy professional and owner of the online training course in democracy and civic action: www.3ptraining.com.au The Blog …explores ways to create a sustainable and just community. Explores how that community can be best protected at all levels including social policy/economics/ military. The Book Erik’s autobiography is a humorous read about serious things. It concerns living in the bush, wilderness, home education, spirituality, and activism. Finding Home is available from Amazon, Barnes&Noble and all good e-book sellers.

Monday, 30 September 2013

Why Environmentalists Should Care about Defence

So why have I just posted five articles on Australia’s vulnerability to invasion on a left leaning environmentalist blog? The answer quite simply, is that you can only protect what you can defend; be it the environment, human rights, or any other value.


On the rare occasions that environmentalists talk about Defence it is usually in an eye rolling ‘I can’t believe they spend so much money on this stuff for no reason’ kind of way. This is usually followed by concerns over disposal of toxic stuff (aircraft fuel, depleted uranium rounds, spent nuclear rods etc), the effects of sonar on whales, and sometimes a grudging aside that the military can be helpful in disaster relief because they have lots of helicopters…and that’s about it. This was, more or less, the response I got from Christine Milne when I spoke to her recently at a celebration of the World Heritage Area extension, (that’s the one Abbott wants to repeal, and which environmentalists have been fighting for since 1973). The Greens have a Defence Policy but it is really just a statement of principles and lacks any real substance.

Underlying this intellectual sloth is a kind of unspoken assumption that if we (rich Western people) were nicer to the rest of the world wars wouldn’t happen, so we wouldn’t need to worry about defence. Didn’t work so well for the Celts when the Romans showed up, or too well for the Romans when the Goths showed up but hey…. After spending five years trying to even talk to any Green politician about Defence without success I have given up.

With all respect to the eco-anarchists, if you want national parks, marine reserves, restrictions on extractive activity etc, you need a nation state that is able and willing to enforce those restrictions. It really doesn’t matter how many marine reserves Australia declares in the Coral Sea, if there is no naval presence, international fishing interests will just keep fishing.

War is indeed unhealthy for children and other living things but war is a fact. In 1985 an Indonesian official bluntly asked Kim Beazley what Australia would do if Indonesia invaded Papua New Guinea. Beazley to his credit said that we would fight to the last man. A key reason why Indonesia did not invade PNG, and did not send its army against UN forces in Timor Leste, is because we had the F-111 bomber (that was so beloved of Beazley). Now we don’t and on current trends Australia will not be able to defend PNG in 2030. What of human rights? What of PNG’s super diverse environment? Why do the Greens and the Left generally oppose Australia having an offensive military capability? What exactly do they think will happen?

Facing no serious military threat to their existence most Western nations now see military matters in terms of policing, and coalition operations against developing nations. Australia does not have that luxury. It’s an uncomfortable and unacknowledged truth that the greatest threat to our natural treasures may not be global warming, but Javanese expansionism. Invasion is the ultimate form of privatisation. War is trade by other means.

So is there any real possibility that the Javanese empire (aka Indonesia) could extend their transmigration program to Australia, or as Indonesian generals prefer to call it “Iryan Selatan” or “South Iryan”? The future intentions of any nation, and the Javanese in-particular, are inscrutable. What the preceding five articles show is that, on current trends, invasion is possible. If we do not build a defence force that provides a reasonable power balance, we put at risk both ourselves and the smaller countries to our north and east. It’s time the Left and the Greens in-particular grew up, left the ideological sand-pit, and started dealing with the world as it really is.

Indonesian special forces with the bodies of the GAM guerrillas they killed. Photogaph taken near Nasi Besar Island in May 2003. While Australian politicians and Defence bureaucrats play their little games, the Indonesians play for real.

Tag line: Greens security policy, Christine Milne, Australian defence policy, pacifism, ABRI, TNI, transmigration, human rights Iryan Jaya, human rights Timor Leste, F-111 bomber, PNG security, Pacifc Rim security and strategic policy.


  1. Replies
    1. Lol. It depends where you stand. From the point of view of Atilla the Hun my posts are very left leaning! A more interesting questions is whether the terms 'left' and 'right' have descriptive validity/meaning any more. What do you think?