Professor Ross Babbage’s Comment ‘Learning to Walk Amongst Giants: The New Defence White Paper’ is, without a doubt, thought-provoking. If that was the author’s primary aim, he has succeeded admirably. He reminds readers of the profoundly changing ‘strategic tides’ of Australia’s future global and regional security environment, and accordingly suggests a future military force structure to provide Australia with: a far more credible defence capability to help shape a favourable regional security environment and to deter and, if needed, seriously cripple one of the Asian giants were they to grow belligerent, seek to coerce Australia or to strike at vital Australian interests.1 The article has captured considerable media attention,2 given the large size of some of its capability proposals, along with its colourful reference to Australia’s need for a flexible deterrent option to, if necessary, ‘rip an arm off’ a giant, i.e. a major power. As I have commented elsewhere,3 this is a striking turn of phrase that puts me in mind of the Beowulf legend, in which the hero of that name literally tears a limb off a much larger enemy, the marauding monster Grendel.
|Publication status||Published - 2008|