Muscling up to China and 25 years since Srebrenica
Tom Switzer, he and welcome to another episode off between the lines now today on the program will be commemorating the twenty fifth anniversary of Europe's worst massacre since the Holocaust in ninety, ninety, five more than eight thousand people died in Shrimp Nitsa. The town was supposed to be a U N protected safe haven in the vicious civil war that tore Yugoslav apart instead the civilians ended up being massacred by Bosnian Serbs. Were lightning fast with their superior weapons. They easily overran the lightly. I'm Bosnian government troops and the token full civilian peacekeepers. The UN's Valley to protect the civilians inspired Washington to launch unilateral action against Serbia and end the civil war. Would things be the same today now? That's later in the program, but first defense. Last week the Morrison. Government launched a defence strategy and force structure review now the move signals a major shift away from the strategy outlined in the last defence white paper. Remember that just four years ago in two thousand sixteen. It plotted out Australia's strategic costs for the next decade. But that White Paper has as we know been rapidly overtaken by Vince covert China or that now the new review has promised two hundred and seventy billion dollars over the next decade to enhance Australia's defence capabilities with renewed focus on areas like Saba and spice capabilities and the possible development of hop sonic weapons will be fitting aircraft with long-range anti-ship missiles, increasing underwater surveillance and boosting fuel ammunitions reserves. Now, underscoring the seriousness of the shift, the Prime Minister even drew comparisons to the nineteen thirties and the lead up to world. War Two that period of the nineteen thirties. Is Been Something I've been revisiting on a very regular basis and when you connect by the economic challenges and the global uncertainty. It can be very haunting, but is the money too much or not enough is going to all the right places, and we'll do enough to safeguard Australia from China's increasing assertiveness and is rapidly growing military capabilities. What's the role of Australia's diplomacy? And all of this will joining me to discuss this at three distinguished guests. By skill is professor of Asia Pacific Security Studies at Macquarie University Holiday Bites. Thank you good to be here Melissa Conley. Tar is a research fellow at the Asia Institute at the University of Melbourne. Hi There Melissa could to speak again Tom. And Pay. The Jennings is executive director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute. Tom No. Can you talk us through the top of scenarios and potential conflicts that the defense review is preparing us for the scenario that the review is focusing on is one involving a high end conventional conflict, so I've gone to the days of stabilization operations in t more Counterterrorism operations in Afghanistan This document is preparing foresight on onsite conflict. Involving countries that have sophisticated military forces. And, of course, the document doesn't say. I don't think it would be reasonable to expect it to say. That China is the problem. But let me tell you China is the problem that is the now neoplasia competitive that way of thinking about when we think about what's adequate in terms of the topic of military capability we need to have. and to does reflect to change. From past years Tom I recall when I started by defense career, we were thinking much more about the risks presented by Indonesia, and the so called low level in cushions in the northwest. Of course, that's no longer features in anyone's strategic thinking. Really it's about China and the risks that the People's Republic is presenting to all of its neighbors in abroad since in the Indo Pacific region and beyond I cabinet crudely putting it some sites laying the groundwork for fortress Australia US sign. This is preparing us to join a potential use LID. Containment slash war against China for example to protect Taiwan Peter Jennings. I think that is it covers a spectrum of possibilities. One possibility which I think is Epson you were in terms of language of the document is that we might conceivably end up having to face military conflict without being able to rely on the direct combat support of the United States, and that's what leads to discussions around extra stockpiling munitions and fuel insightful. But I think in general terms. Yes, the expectation is that Australia. Through its history has been a country that forms coalitions usually have like minded partners, the share the same types of objectives. And the the plan will design the Defense Force. Really gives us the capacity to do that with Rachel Ellis lecture, example, Japan but also with our traditional ally the United States okay bates skill. You've recently completed a review of China's defense capabilities and its recent military modernization, specifically looking at the implications for Australia Wind you expect the Peo- The People's Liberation Army and its navy. When do you expect them to have the capability to project power as far as Australia annual Pacific knives, well in many respects Tom, they already can I mean they have the long range missile capabilities to do that? Know as a from a standoff position launched from their own from their own homeland against hours. But what I think, the the new strategy is looking at is really the development of capability over the next ten fifteen twenty years, and that's by the Chinese own own acknowledged calendar that they would be able to by that time of mass, a large enough capability, both in terms of its long range strike, you know striking from their own homeland, but also bill to project. Project Power passed the so-called first and second island change and being a position to more directly threatened through those platforms Australian security. So you know we're talking ten or fifteen year window here and I think given the time it does take to try and respond to develop the the deterrent and defense capabilities for Australia. That's that's you know that's in some ways a short window. for Australia to be mobilizing in reaction Melissa Tali. What's the role of a strong diplomacy and all these well I think it needs to be growl. And one of the concerns when we look at the deteriorating strategic environment is we think all that's a defense problem? And so when the prime minister launches the strategic update with those comparisons with the nineteen thirties. It pushes US toward seeing in purely military terms but we don't just want to say things in that security lands, we want to think about all of the parts about national power projection, so that's diplomacy and development as well as defense I think if if people thought about it I think what we invest in all three strongly, but that's not where it is if you look at federal budget fifty. Fifty nine billion to defense and less than seven billion to diplomacy and development together the lowest point with ahead in our history and I think we missing that opportunity. If we don't take US seriously, the way that diplomacy and development can shape things in the world so I was struck. Today was a defendant looking at the latest poll on what are the major concerns that Australians have at the moment of the top threats in the world and the first five, a role nontraditional that drought, environment, disaster, climate change, pandemics, and downtown, global economy, and those places where you know military spending isn't going to help shape that environment. So we need to have an effect on those. We need to be thinking much more about what we can do in the diplomacy and development to mind Peter Jennings. What would you say in to Melissa's observations? Because they reflect a certain mindset that that perhaps we should be focused more on non state actors rather than say China for instance well, I think all of these you know threats that have to be taken seriously. I'm and simply because we're living in the middle of a pandemic for example, doesn't the climate change is gone away in this no longer going to present a problem to us. I guess what I'd say. Is that the you know the five things Melissa listed? That were in the featured in the low e Poland terms of popular concerns. Are also the things which could. In different ways late to the risks of conflict escalating in the Indo Pacific region generally so You know my my view, please while I would like to see spending on diplomacy increased. While I. Say Development Assistance is being something which is effectively the United soft in of Australian power, and the military is the hot end of Australian power. I think. The message against all of these areas is that we have just been underinvesting for decades underinvesting for decades, so we're we're all. High fiving ourselves at just reaching about two percent of gross national product, being spent on defense, but that is compared to what we spending in cold or years, which was sometimes between three and a half percent in four percent of rustic product. So what we have grown used to Tom I would say is. Free written on the United. States code tiles of security for for decades. We've dramatically under. Invested in the things that we need to do to strengthen Australia's position, not just militarily, but also diplomat. A now. We're rather surprised to hear the news that Gosh the bill is a lot more expensive than we really thought. It was only if you've got that confidence in the US. and. In fact, the whole trump stories, the story of the Americans really big being fed up with the rest of the world, thinking that the US can fund the bill for their security, so we're going to have to do more and I think we're going to have to do it against multiplicity of areas not. Justin sought the defense organization. We'll some scholars such as you want and James Current from the University of Sydney. They say that this document sounds a lot like an acknowledgement that the US might not always be there to help us out. By are we starting to plan for more independent Australian defense posture I think it would be a wise move to keep that option open when you think of the capabilities that the Chinese developing in which do have a direct pose a direct threat to Australia or could do so. In many respects, the I think the types of threats that you might not expect an immediate or even timely response on the part of the United States what I'm thinking here. Cyber capabilities is a huge priority for the Chinese. We already know what they see the sort of capability. They can wield against Australia and that's not the sort of thing you can expect a kind of cavalry to. Lead the charge from from Washington to come to Australia's defence slowly long range strike capability on the part of the Chinese capability. They already have in which are going to continue to develop. which could threaten Australia down the road now? These are capabilities that I think that Australia's going to have to develop their own defenses for. They can certainly do that with United States, but again it's not necessarily the sort of threat that we would expect some sort of traditional ally joint response not to make it well. Some of are in listeners will email me and they'll say that if Uncle Sam struggles to police. It's own CDs. Melissa. How on Earth Can Uncle Sam Police? The Asia Pacific region in the face of a rising China. What's your sense about us staying power in the next decade or two in look? It's difficult One of the things that strategic update looks at is more threats to the global rules order, and unfortunately the you know, the US is part of that. the US is not along with the strategies interest on things like global trading system, and a number of international issues like global health where we would say you need to be supporting. A Global Response that said I don't think the strategic update will be read negatively in. Washington, it's my guess. it very clearly couched in terms that I think the US will lock about Australia contributing more and having more self. that could be seen as a statement that we think that the US might not have outback, but can also be seen as something that the US has been for for a long time. I particularly liked a few elements of the update things like making sure that we have. You know material ammunition You know that aren't going to be disrupted. Buckle supply trying having more capability eight industrial cut suffering capability here antiques fuel reserves, which is not as long sane as an issue for us, so I mean those are things that are worth investing in. Regardless of US resolve because as we've seen from COVID, we know that supply chain can be disrupted very quickly and easily, and it's worth having eligibilities. Cepeda Jennings bite skill and Melissa Conley Toilet and Melissa. The Pacific step up last year. That realigned Australia's development budget to deal with some of the strategic challenges posed by China in the Pacific Do you think it goes far enough? The step up was followed recently by strategies new International Development Policy Partnerships for recovery, and that's made it very clear that strategies focus should be on the Pacific and also southeast. Asia including. Indonesia and team August. I think that has a very clear statement about what we want. In the region of being entrusted trusted development partner and influencing those societies that we think positive for four region. Again you're going to. You're going to say you. Hear this from me all the time, but again the problem is that we not really making much invasive lunch, so partnerships for recovery head no new money it talked about the massive challenges that covered as as creating for for the for the Pacific, and for for our region broadly, and the only funding announcement was that we're going to repurpose the money. We would have spent on sending Australian. Volunteers in scholarship holders. And we're GONNA use that so I I suppose I. Feel a little bit with all the areas, not actually include district update in that as well that what we've seen through the foreign policy, White Paper and International Development Policy through to to the defense. Strategic Updike is. We talk about how. how? What a time! These these frosty leaving a contested difficult awful environment that we've now got to leave in and the Dow L. Easy Times over, and then we say, and we're not gonNA. Give any new money so I mean the defense announcement is essentially just that we're going to continue to you know, extrapolate out the money that was planned to be spent in the twenty twenty six, and we're going to extrapolate that out to twenty thirty terabytes skill. Do we risk getting into a bidding war for influence in the Pacific? I don't know if it's a risk. If it is a risk worth worth taking. I mean obviously the Pacific region is so extremely important Australia's future. Both for for defense reasons for regional engagement for diplomatic reasons, developing reasons and the like. so It's quite possible that we're entering in a more competitive phase with China in this. SITES WRIST BYTES I'm talking about more the budgetary concerns he because in the wake of the Corona Virus Crosses. There'll be serious limits on how we can spend on these things scholley. Yes, there is and party left to be be developed for that, but you know when you're talking about your own backyard. I mean I I. I don't think it's the kind of country that can simply. Pretended it's by itself getting back pay to Jennings to the region, generally in the rise of what. Angus Campbell is of the Defence Force he's talked about the rise of political warfare, the idea of grey zone warfare things like cyber attacks, economic coercion influence operations that fall below the traditional threshold of war. He says we need a whole of government response to it. I, you seeing that whole of government approach happening in Campbell, or is this Manley focus on defense and the spy agency so far Peter Jennings. It probably is focused on the national security agency's Tom. That's not too surprising because you'd expect them to sort of pick up on the risks I. But General Campbell is right. It does need to be all government is. There's a whole lot of things happening there that simply cannot and should not be done by defense organizations. and. I think that realization is slowly dawning. Along as both of the speakers have said that actually ladyship comes with cost of infrastructure is going to play that role, but you know, give you a small example of this we. We have lost the ability to broadcast into the South Pacific and Southeast Asia. In a way that we used to very successfully over over decades to give us the capacity to do that. We're probably talking about you know that. He million a year forty million a year, which sounds a lot of defend. It's nothing if you're in the Defense Department. Let me tell you. But you need to be able to do things like that. To be the truth teller in the region to actually tell the region that there are alternatives to Chinese Communist Party authoritarianism I think that's what's needed with responding to this grey zone on threat. Is Actually to be the truth teller. In this part of the will and getting our system in Cambridge used to that reality to understanding what needs to be done. To starting at different type of conversation with our region. With our own people for that matter that that is a sort of a psychological change which I can see happening, but we're not quite yet. There's a bit of work still to be done to get to that point Melissa. Conley Tyler. Is, just responding on that. I agree entirely with what pitcher saying on on broadcasting. It's a small investment, such a an increasing influence. It should be Brian and I hope that did that's being seen. I think having defense voices. I will help a lot in a banks, seriously I'm but just went. When you ask Tom Balaton host government and what's happening there? There are some really good examples, so for example win. This Pacific step pop started an office of the Pacific was established in that apartment and tried and each job. He's to be that coordinating body, and it's bringing together the. The defense, the development and the diplomacy in a way that he's gone to maximize our influence. and I've noticed this a lot more discussion about that that three. How do you bring defense development diplomacy communities together? I'm involved in initiate the Pacific. Four Day and I think a lot of people not talking about what more we can do for that that joined up coordination to make the most about national instruments by skill. You're an expert on China. The elephant in the room of course is China doing need to be careful not to overestimate China's military strength. What about the weaknesses? Exactly right I mean you have to know your enemy's weakness as well as their strengths in the case of China, they are undertaking enormous reforming organization effort. They're pouring billions of dollars into new capabilities, but there's a lot of things we need to recognize I. Mean One is that the Chinese have not fought a shooting war and more than forty years. They are have no. They have zero experience in high end combat against a serious. Adversary, scenario, so that's not to downplay them, but to understand that they've got enormous obstacles to overcome that day. Themselves acknowledge that they themselves. No, they have to overcome, and that's why we had this window that we've been talking about. A fifteen to twenty years. to try and develop capabilities to get in front of the kinds of things that the Chinese want to bring to bear around. Around, twenty thirty or twenty, thirty, five, twenty, forty, paid-up Melissa to be continued. Thanks so much for being on our in. Thank you, tell my pleasure. Thank you, Tom. That was paid jennings. He's executive director of the Australian strategic pulsing suit by skill professor of Asia Pacific Security Studies at Macquarie University and Melissa Commonly Tyler. She's a research fellow at the Asia Institute at the University of Melbourne. These between the lines with Tom Switzer. Coming next, we're going to replay a version of a segment from between the lines. I 'cause commemorating the massacre of Bosnian Muslims at shredded Nitsa on the eleventh of July nodding ninety. Five twenty five years ago this week. More than eight thousand people were killed by Serb forces. It was the worst massacre. Europe had seen since the Holocaust. Serve softening up Trevor Nature for the army's final push into the town. Town of course was supposed to be a safe haven protected by the United Nations, but the civilians ended up being sitting ducks as I woke Larry. Hollingsworth Remembers I. Myself Feel Devastated and ashamed I was there with them? When we told them that it was a safe haven I watched. Many of these people walk in with the minimal possessions into shreds, knowing that it was a safe haven, and now they're fleeing out because we've let them down, let them down to the extent that within dies. About Twenty three thousand women and children were deported, and about eight thousand Muslim men and boys left behind where executed and buried in mass graves. Now, reports from the time described, frightening scenes stiffen overawed from medicines on frontier. Speaking he. Loading some of the children and women into buses, but there's no indication as to where it was buses, going with seen some horrifying streaming, going on women and children going into the buses being taken away from their family This was going on with a lot of crying a lot of panicking. The slaughter had been planned carefully and executed with precision. All the wall Dutch. Pace is literally stood by, and did nothing indeed even when the Serb assault on Srebrenica was imminent. in-command is still rejected Kohl's racetracks. Positions. Pope John Paul. The second declared ribbon Nitsa a defeat for civilization as media reports begins to reveal the scale of the unfolding tragedy. The UN says nine hundred thousand people are still unaccounted for. About some became clear as government soldiers emerging from the forest in central Bosnia, told of horrific massacres at the hands of the Serbs one young. People executing them on spot, but this didn't come out of the blue. By the time this massacre took place the civil war that tore the former Yugoslavia. Repot was heading into its fourth year. More than a million people have been displaced, and the world became familiar with a new term ethnic cleansing. So? Who is to blame for these well? Let's start with the United. Nations from ninety two to ninety, five shrivel Nitsa was the world's first union declared civilian syphon. It was supposed to to her aggression. It was supposed to aggression and set the scene for political negotiations to end hostilities between the Bosnian Serbs, and Muslims, but the UN soldiers in the SIPHONS. They were bedeviled by problems. If you declare an area safe haven in the name of the United Nations. Nations if you tell the people if they are safe in the name of the United Nations you have got to put the troops on the ground, and it's no good for politicians say yes, we go for safe havens, but we're not gonNA put the troops meanwhile the Europeans vacillated and equivocated failing miserably to cope with across at its own back door. America was also reluctant to get involved as then President George Bush senior explained in Nani Nani to. I? Something because I learned something from Vietnam. I am not going to commit US forces until I know what the mission is to the military. Tell me that it can be completed until I know how they can come out. You have ancient rivalries that have cropped up as as Yugoslavia's dissolved or getting dissolved, and it isn't going to be solved by sending in the eighty second airborne, and although on the campaign trail that Ye Bill Clinton pledged to reverse the appeasement of that bushes of Belgrade as President Clinton allowed the Balkans to bleed for three more years. French President Jacques Chirac was moved to declare quote, the position of the leader of the free world vacant. Trinite Sur changed all that having done nothing the before during the mass killings in Rwanda Clinton was galvanized into action, and crucially he cut the United Nations out of the Decision Chine on August thirty Washington led a night bombing campaign against the Serbs the NATO action began early this morning. The harsh light of fires and explosions coloring the night sky. Some people watched the bombardment from their houses, but after more than ten thousand deaths here in the last three years, most Sarajevans had given up any hope of outside intervention. Last night it came on a scale which could yet change the course of this war by the end of not ninety five sixty thousand nine hundred troops, including twenty thousand Americans were on the ground in Bosnia. Pace was declared. The BOEKEN's wars ended only because the US finally acted. He's President Clinton in November ninety five my fellow Americans in this new era there are still times when America and America alone can and should make the difference for peace. The terrible war in Bosnia is such a case nowhere. Today is the need for American leadership. More stark are more immediate than in. In Bosnia in the years since the Mexica Europe inaction was heavily criticised, and the US was held up for its global leadership in particular for its unilateral humanitarian intervention. This is when the US secretary. Of State. Madeleine Albright said America was the indispensable nation, and that idea would fade into the justification of the Iraq invasion in two thousand and three as a war of liberation, but he's a question with the US intervene. If the shrivel Nitsa massacre happened today from the standpoint of twenty twenty, we might ask if the era of US unilateral humanitarian intervention is well and truly over. Well, that's it for this week. Show remember if you'd like to hear the episode again or download segments since two thousand fourteen. Just go to ABC. Dot Net dot US slash aren and follow the prompts to between the lines, or you can listen via the ABC. Listen APP, or wherever you get your podcast. You can even subscribe, so you never miss an episode. I'm Tom Switzer continue next week.