The Strategic Hubris of “Socialising” China: The Lessons of the PCA Ruling

This is something that I have wanted to write about for some time. When the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) delivered its ruling in August 2016, it left absolutely no doubt that the Spratly Islands are precisely not that, islands! For China, indeed any other state, to claim the Spratly Islands as theirs, and to … More The Strategic Hubris of “Socialising” China: The Lessons of the PCA Ruling

Permanent Court of Arbitration rules in favour of the Philippines case: so now what?

So the Permanent Court of Arbitration has, in the case of the Republic of the Philippines versus the People’s Republic of China, ruled unanimously in favour of the Philippines. As the PCA’s press release noted, “there is evidence that Chinese navigators and fishermen, as well as those of other States, had historically made use of … More Permanent Court of Arbitration rules in favour of the Philippines case: so now what?

Thoughts on Australia’s French Submarine Decision

So Australia went with the French submarine, ending one of the most tortuous acquisition programmes in my memory. The PM’s words suggest several considerations that tilted in favour of the French application: “superior sensor performance and stealth characteristics, as well as range and endurance similar to the Collins Submarine”, “cost, schedule, program execution, through life … More Thoughts on Australia’s French Submarine Decision

Singapore’s defence budget for 2016 set to increase?

This is something that I have been wanting to write about, since the news first emerged, but have been KIVing because I was swamped with other work. On 29 March 2016, Jon Grevatt reported in Jane’s that Singapore’s defence budget for FY 2016 – SGD 13.96 billion – is set to increase by 6.4%, which … More Singapore’s defence budget for 2016 set to increase?

Accept a China-centric Asian Order? Hugh White seems to think we have to

Hugh White, a hugely influential and respected strategist from Australia, wrote this piece which came out in The National Interest on 10 March 2016. His parting shot: “More realistically, we will have to accept some changes in the regional order to accommodate China. We all find the idea of making such an accommodation uncomfortable, even … More Accept a China-centric Asian Order? Hugh White seems to think we have to

Will China – or Can China – Be Reined In?

The USS John C Stennis carrier strike group just ended “routine operations” in the South China Sea. The carrier strike group encountered PLAN vessels during their deployment (1-6 March 2016); bridge-to-bridge communications were described as “professional”, and the entire deployment was conducted without any known hitches. But will this deployment, and other freedom of navigation … More Will China – or Can China – Be Reined In?