About being a U.S. ally

"The Strategist" blog appears to expand its tolerance for B.S., or maybe there's more to it?

The US is indeed Australia’s natural ally and we’re lucky to have it. But there’s a price to be paid to be a US ally, part of which is participation in wars led by the US. The other part is for allies to provide adequately for their own defence in their own region.

At first this appears to be nonsensical: What again is the benefit of being allied with them if it's a requirement to "provide adequately for [your] own defence in [your] own region"? There's not much they're doing for you according to this quote; protection of maritime trade lanes may be left.

I doubt that the USN can actually protect maritime trade on oceans, though. The greatest maritime trade security boost from being allied with the U.S. is probably from them not attacking your maritime trade themselves.

Which leads to my other point; the biggest benefit of being allied with the U.S. is to European countries, Aussies and Kiwis that this way they're not hostiles. You don't need to work against them (much) and you don't need to prepare for your defence against them if you're allied with them (or if you bankroll enough of their think tanks and have some control of their mainstream news media).

The provision of auxiliary troops for stupid wars looks like an outrageously high price for this; peaceful co-existence should be normalcy according to Western civilisation norms, after all.

Maybe the pupils befriend a big bully not because he protects them, but because this way he doesn't bully them?

Then again, I doubt that Mr. Molan has useful insights. His blog text was horrible and primitive. It's typical establishment talk, uninspired, features inaccuracies, primitive thinking and is apparently incoherent. The only good thing about it is the highlighting of operations and maintenance costs, and this will have a very bad aftertaste after tomorrow's Defence and Freedom blog post (which has been scheduled for days already).



  1. I noticed you didn't include this quote: "The US alliance is rightly seen as the most important element of Australian defence, but not if it’s abused to justify irrational reductions in our own defence expenditure, a free-riding strategy which most US allies employ."

    Perhaps because it applies to most other countries as well? Including Germany?
    "I doubt that Mr. Molan has useful insights."

    You doubt that a retired Major General has anything useful to say? You consider yourself more of an expert on Australian military affairs than he is?

    Perhaps you would share with us the highest rank you achieved in your illustrious military career, so others may judge the degree of your inaccuracies, primitive thinking and incoherence.

    1. I skipped that part (among others) because I covered the free rider argument years ago in different blog posts.

      And there's no reason to judge writing based on titles if the writing is available for a direct judgement.
      Experts disagree with each other often, so them being experts does obviously not mean that they're correct.
      I don't even need to claim being expert on anything Australian to criticise a text with so many universally poor remarks.

      He's still playing agent of his former bureaucracy, seeking its budget growth and cherrypicking arguments with a readiness to use stupid arguments as long as they serve his goal. It's a very primitive text, to be expected of top bureaucrats on autopilot, not by an independent thinker.

  2. Arminius:

    Clearly only knowledgable and insightful men only ever made it to flag rank, no fool or opportunist ever achieved that feat, as history well proves.

    Furthermore, by your logic, a text and in consequence the expertise of its author must be judged not by whats written in it, but merely by the social status of that author.

    I have a hunch, Molan would find you to be good company.

    On topic: Its insightful, how a former soldier can so clearly be accepting of a vassal status of his nation to another one. Certainly makes Australias post WW2-history a logical chain of events. Its ironic how he confuses the basic concepts of (informal) vassal states and allies. I wonder, if anybody at ASPI will call him on that. I have a hunch, they may not.

    1. ASPI is a curious think tank. They blog, but with a strange approach; it's more like a discussion forum. I was just disappointed that they would publish such a poor contribution.

      Australia and to a lesser extent New Zealand have fought for London in both World Wars, and it's hard to see how their troops in Europe and Africa furthered their own interests directly. They have a history of being junior allies in exchange for protection by a powerful navy and as a kind of link to the rest of the Western World.
      South Africa did the same, but got rid of this pattern when London did cut the ties because of the Apartheid.
      The Aussies simply replaced Downing St. No10 with the White House during the 50's.
      The Kiwis kind of realised they're already fine if they merely stay friends with the Aussies.
      I can't tell when and why the Canadians shook off the automatic provision of auxiliary troop contingents (sometime during the 50's probably).

      I can't blame the Aussies; the German national security policy is not very intelligent either.

  3. Well, ASPI and Lowy both work that way on their blogs. Its open to contribution from anyone, no credentials needed, and no text can feel entitled to stand apart, with "responses" being encouraged. Which is a good thing, as it considerably broadens the horizon on subjects and insights. I also think, it is a neat alternative to moderating comments in more traditional blog style. But that implies, that on occasion there is a dud to be found in between.

    If the system works, he might get a succinct response. But considering the subject, he might not. Best chance is probably Lowy having a response on their own blog. Sam Roggeveen already had something to say there about the US alliance turning into an unsubstantiated ideology.Alas he seems to be an outside voice, though younger Australians are slowly changing their stance on the issue.

  4. Be allies to a more powerful country is hardly a new thing. Having to send troops to fight in that more powerful states wars is not new either. For Australia they are coming up on a choice soon on being allies with the west asia. Thats the real debate that if not here is surely on the way. New Zealand has already decided to disarm from what I read.

  5. Well, I can honestly say, I am happy to have been proven wrong by ASPI. The Strategist yesterday published not one, but two responses to this nonsensical post. The first one is especially remarkable. If one knows the typical Australian obsession with being polite and non-confrontative in this kind of discussion, it reads a bit like a sucker-punch, esp the last paragraph.