Australia and Afghanistan

You fool! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders! The most famous…is never get involved in a land war in Asia,

Vizzini in “Princess Bride”

From Breakfast Radio National, Australian Broadcasting Corporation 20 Feb 2009


Hugh White
Visiting fellow at the Lowy Institute, and professor of strategic studies at the ANU

William Maley
Professor and director of the Asia-Pacific College of Diplomacy at the ANU

Major General Jim Nolan
Chief of operations of the multinational force in Iraq 2004-2005


  • It costs more to train a SAS trooper than it does to train a doctor.
  • It costs approximately US$500 000 per year to keep a soldier in Afghanistan
  • The Coalition forces are sourcing helicopter fuel for Afghanistan from Iran.
  • The USA is going to use the port of Riga in Latvia to ship material to Afghanistan. (Try finding a map with Kabul and Riga on the same page.)

The bottom line is that this costing us a packet (half a billion dollars per year), it is a political problem that cannot be solved by military means. (Shame on you General, you should know better.) The country that we are there on the behalf of , the USA, is going bankrupt and by being there we may be encouraging this process. 


I wonder how this is going end? img_0221


On the G20 meeting

The G20 meeting is a step up. At least there is a fairer representation of the worlds population. Not perfect since the EU gets five bites. Countries that should be there that aren’t are Nigeria, Iran, Egypt and Pakistan. The USA will expect that Mexico, Canada, UK and Australia will be in their corner. The EU block will be Germany, France and Italy with the EU itself and some moral support from Turkey. The rest will be factions unto them selves. Russia and Saudi Arabia have common interests. 

The joke is that Australia’s natural allies are Russia and Saudi Arabia. We cannot afford to alienate any of our Asian partners. An interesting time will be had by all.

It does look like China will announce what it thinks the US dollar should be worth. This is going to constrain US policy. This is going to be more important than the presidential reality show that has just finished.