Warriors, war and Mike Pezzullo’s ANZAC Day message

What are the ‘drums of war’ that senior Australian public servant, Michael Pezzullo, can hear? His words have been understood as echoing anti-China warmongering found among some commentators and hinting strongly at the current hysteria around Taiwan. So how did the Australian government deal with a senior public servant stepping into the political limelight in this way?

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Democracy militant: strategic autonomy and Europe’s lessons for Australia

The Europeans won’t join with the like-minded allies massing behind America’s banner of democracy militant. While they will add theirs to other voices standing up for human rights, international laws and norms, and multilateralism, the EU won’t follow Biden’s clarion call into an all out multi-spectrum confrontation with China. Is there a lesson here for Australia?

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Dealing with a China that’s not like us: benign or malign competition?

The Biden administration’s approach to China is shaping up as a continuation of the Trump administration’s “strategic competition”. But will strategic competition with China under Biden mean a shift from the malign competition – where each country seeks to undermine rather than outperform the other – that was typical under Trump towards a more benign competition?

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Biden’s top foreign policy challenge: avoiding a cold war with China

The Biden administration faces a host of difficult problems, but in foreign policy its thorniest will be its relations with the People’s Republic of China. How the new administration handles issues of trade, security, and human rights will either allow both countries to hammer out a working relationship or pull the U.S. into an expensive — and unwinnable — cold war. But there are a number of moves both countries could make to avoid this.

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Pentagon’s China task force to review strategy toward China

In remarks to Defense personnel on Wednesday, 10 February 2021, US President Biden said that a Pentagon ‘China task force’ will, within the next few months, review the US’s “[defense] strategy and operational concepts, technology, and force posture, and so much more”. Recommendations on key priorities and decision points are expected to enable the US to “chart a strong path forward on China-related matters”.

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Taiwan: a ‘wicked’ strategic problem for Australia

For Australia, the question of Taiwan remains a ‘wicked’ strategic problem. The Taiwanese have over time established strong claims for their autonomy. The US has a huge investment in Taiwan’s security, while not denying it is part of China. And defence of Taiwan could see the island devastated, the ANZUS alliance become irrelevant, and Australia’s security lost. Why would Australia go to war over Taiwan?

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