Friday, May 29, 2009

Raw Fiji spots Affirmative Plans from our Fiji Neigbors - The Australians!!

Hmmm......The Fiji chorus now is "Help is on its way!!!" yippeee!!!
The artcile below will be a worry for Fiji's coup leader & regime. Perhaps they are kicking their heals in Fiji right now...
& maybe those little blipper red lights flickering non-stop when trying to have that peaceful nights' zzzzzzz...& we say to those that are making Fiji so unbearable for the ordinary people;
" Dream on as Every Dog Has its Days.......!!"
Read more..... sas taken from Raw Fiji's blog...
Australian military to focus on immediate neighbours
May 28, 2009
By Stephen de Tarczynski
MELBOURNE, May 28 (IPS) – The Rudd government’s recently-released defence white paper outlines a substantial boost to the nation’s military capabilities and places a high priority on stability in neighbouring countries, including Indonesia and South Pacific states.
After the principal task of defending Australia from direct attack, “our next most important strategic interest is the security, stability and cohesion of our immediate neighbourhood,” says the paper – specifically noting Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and East Timor.
The white paper signals naval, air and special forces capabilities as areas for improvement over the next twenty years.
The build-up to what the Kevin Rudd-led government calls ‘Force 2030’ will include additional submarines, destroyers and frigates for the navy, while the air force will receive around 100 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft.
Professor Ben Reilly, director of the Centre for Democratic Institutions at the Australian National University’s College of Asia and the Pacific, told IPS that the focus on Australia’s neighbours reflects contingency planning rather than pressing concerns.
He says that the government’s philosophy is based on the concern that “our immediate neighbours could potentially become a threat to Australia – not so much from themselves, but if ever they were to be influenced by unfriendly powers.”
One country which Australia has – in the past – perceived as a threat to its national security is Indonesia. The white paper states that, “it is in Australia’s vital strategic interests to see a stable and cohesive Indonesia.”
However, bilateral relations have improved dramatically since 1999 when the issue of East Timor’s independence heightened tensions between Canberra and Jakarta.
Australia welcomed Indonesia’s move toward democracy during the ‘reformasi’ period following the 1998 downfall of long-term dictator Suharto. The mainly Muslim nation is set to vote for its next president in July – with a run-off poll in September if required.
Furthermore, the two nations signed a comprehensive partnership agreement in 2005 – committing to cooperation across economic, technical and security areas. There have also been moves to liberalise trade between the two neighbours, while Indonesia remains Australia’s largest aid recipient.
An indication of the burgeoning bilateral trust and cooperation is the provision of an advanced copy of Australia’s white paper to the Indonesian military, which was also consulted during the paper’s drafting process.
Reilly argues that the transition to democracy in Indonesia has been a boon for Australia’s own security. “This has had huge strategic benefits to Australia because it has meant that we no longer have an authoritarian and potentially unpredictable – and, of course, a very large, populous – state next to us,” he says.
“Democracies are much more predictable in the way they operate because they have to be accountable to voters. It is extremely unusual in the world for two democracies to ever threaten or go to war with each other,” adds Reilly.
Andrew Davies, director of the operations and capability programme at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute – an independent think-tank located in the nation’s capital – agrees that a stable Indonesia is vital to security in the immediate region.
He describes the white paper’s concentration on Australia’s neighbours as a “back-to-the-future” policy.
It resurrects the “old ‘concentric circles’ model of Australian defence at a time when Australia has been involved in wars in the outer of those four circles – the global-interest type wars – since 2001,” Davies told IPS.
The ‘concentric circles’ defence strategy projected a series of increasingly- larger circles around the northern city of Darwin – higher security interest was placed on areas lying within the inner circles – and was popular following Australia’s withdrawal from Vietnam in 1973.
This strategy was largely abandoned under the previous government, which dedicated Australian forces to significant deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan.
But, while the current government remains committed to efforts in Afghanistan, security in the broader Asia-Pacific region will take precedence over issues in far-off places.
Central to this is the rise of China – now Australia’s largest trading partner – whose influence in the region is anticipated to increase as that of the United States, Australia’s most important ally for over six decades, diminishes.
While Canberra enjoys good relations with Beijing, it has expressed concerns over human rights issues in China and remains wary of its extensive military modernisation.
In a speech at a security forum in Washington D.C. last month, Australian defence minister Joel Fitzgibbon stressed that, “Australia needs to have a healthy relationship with China.”
The minister also spoke of Australia’s desire “to work in partnership with China because it is a critical player in ensuring stability in our region.”
But while the white paper also places high value on a stable and cohesive Southeast Asia – “our neighbours in Southeast Asia sit astride our northern approaches, through which any hostile forces would have to operate to sustainably project force against Australia,” says the paper – stability closer to Australian shores is given greater prominence.
The paper warns that, “many South Pacific island states and East Timor will continue to be beset to some degree by economic stagnation and social instability.”
It points to factors such as weak governance – Australia remains highly critical of Fiji’s interim regime – crime, and climate change as reasons for which Australia must be prepared to provide humanitarian assistance or deploy military personnel in the future.
“The development indicators in most of the small Melanesian countries – including East Timor – are all pretty negative. It would be prudent to, at least, plan for the possibility that we may have to conduct humanitarian or other interventions in some of those countries,” says Reilly.
Australia currently has some 650 defence personnel in East Timor to provide security after unrest broke-out in the fledgling country in 2006.
There are also around 140 Australian Defence Force troops stationed in the Solomon Islands – in addition to police and civilian contributions – as part of the Australia-led Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI), whose aim is to maintain order in a country where ethnic violence erupted in 2003.
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