Australia’s strategic doctrine is a consequence of its geopolitical location. Including the Australian Antarctic Territory and the adjacent sea, Australia is the largest country in the world with an area of approximately 27.2 million square kilometers. The military organization responsible for defense is the Australian Defense Force (Adf), made up of the Royal Navy and Air Force and the Army, as well as a number of tri-service units . The Navy is, of course, of prime importance, so much so that Australia is considering maritime military cooperation with India and Indonesia. The Australian government’s defense policies are guided by the 2009 Defense White Paper (Defending Australia in the Asia Pacific Century: Force 2030), a policy paper geared towards the challenges Australia is set to face as its strategic environment and the changing relations between the nations of the Asian-Pacific region. The Book establishes an increase in the capabilities of the Adf until 2030, with a quantitative growth of the Navy, the qualitative enhancement of the Army and the modernization of the aeronautics and intelligence sectors. More generally, the Australian interest coincides with the stability, cohesion and security of the entire neighboring region, which includes states such as Papua New Guinea, East Timor, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu – considered to be among the weakest in the world -, and throughout the South China Sea, on which various disputes are underway whose resolution requires closer collaboration with ASEAN. To finance such an ambitious program, the government had estimated to invest at least 3% of GDP in defense until 2017, to then reduce costs in the following decade. However, in 2014, that percentage stopped at 1.8. For Australia defense and foreign policy, please check themotorcyclers.com.
Australia’s main ally remains the United States, which in 1989 placed the country on the list of major non- born allies. In addition to representing the main suppliers of arms and military assistance to Australia, the United States is physically present through the USPacific Command. Furthermore, on the occasion of the visit conducted to Australia by US President Barack Obama in 2011, the two partners announced an agreement for the deepening of security cooperation, centered on the collaboration between the Royal Australian Air Force and the US aviation and on the training in Australian territory of US Marines, with a view to consolidating the US Marine Air-Ground Task-Force by 2016. Strengthening the partnership strategy with the United States – which has been cemented since the Second World War through cooperation in the conflicts in Korea, Vietnam and Iraq – is now part of the new defense doctrine announced by Obama and expressly aimed at intensifying the US presence in the area of ‘Asia Pacific. From September 2014 onwards, the Australian armed forces are part of the coalition anti- Is -led US operating in Iraq; Canberra has provided aircraft for air raids and over three hundred units to train local troops.
As a demonstration of the importance of cooperation with the Atlantic Alliance for Canberra, the mission abroad in which Australia has committed the most energy and capital is the N ato- led mission in Afghanistan, Isaf, in which more than 25,000 Australian soldiers and spent more than $ 7.5 billion. In line with the gradual withdrawal of NATO forces, the repatriation of most of the Australian contingent took place in 2013. With the launch of the NATO Resolute Support mission, which followed ISAF, Australia kept 400 soldiers on the ground with training tasks of the Afghan armed forces.
Canberra is present with men on the ground in South Sudan, where it participates with a small contingent (18 troops) in the United Nations peacekeeping mission. In Sinai there are instead 25 soldiers included in the Multinational Force & Observers (Mfo) mission.
Energy and environment
About 8.6% of the world’s coal reserves found at the end of 2011 remain in the Australian underground – a level lower only than that of the United States, the Russian Federation and China. The limited internal consumption of the resource (43.8 Mtoe in 2014) compared to production (280.8 Mtoe) makes Australia one of the main exporters of coal on a world scale. However, coal is not a highly strategic energy resource, as most countries of the world meet the demand for this raw material with internal production.
Canberra does the same: relying on a vast supply of coal deposits, it produces energy using a third of its energy mix. Since the combustion of coal releases a lot of carbon dioxide per unit of energy produced, Australia is among the industrialized countries with the highest per capita production of C o 2. Poorly effective – albeit politically highly controversial – was the introduction, in July 2012, of a tax on carbon dioxide emissions that was supposed to bring emissions back to nearly 2000 levels by 2020. A target that has proved ambitious.. In August 2015, the government, more pragmatically, thus announced, based on the values recorded in 2005, a 25% cut in C o 2 emissions to be achieved by 2030. It should be noted that the new prime minister, Turnbull, he presents himself as a strong supporter of action against climate change.
Although Indonesia and Malaysia export more gas to the region, Australia is China’s largest supplier of liquefied natural gas (and second largest behind Turkmenistan). Based on forecasts of 360% export growth, the country is a candidate to become the first exporter in the world. These predictions could be even more realistic if the exploitation of other gas fields found off the Australian coast begins and for which a dispute is underway with East Timor.
Australia’s thriving energy potential leads some analysts to even believe that the country is transforming into ‘ Qatar of the Pacific ‘. Australia also has the largest uranium reserves on a global scale – 31% of the total. In 2013 it was the third largest producer of this raw material in the world (over 6000 tons), after Kazakhstan (22,450) and Canada (9300). Having no nuclear power plants, all Australian production is destined for international markets. Since the uranium trade is a politically sensitive issue, exports are tied to well-defined contracts and the country chooses its trading partners based on assessments of political expediency.
The considerable weight of coal in the national energy mix and the environmental costs associated with its use have opened a debate in the country on the use of nuclear energy, strongly opposed by public opinion, especially after the Fukushima accident in March 2011. In 2014 the share of energy produced through renewable sources settled at 2.5%.