Articles by: Richard Tanter

Author Biography:

Richard Tanter works with the Nautilus Institute and in international relations at Melbourne University. His political work focuses on nuclear-weapons abolition and Australian defence policy:

Response to issues raised in ‘Sub-Imperial State, Australian Dirty Work’

Richard Tanter responds to Clinton Fernandes' review of Brian Toohey's book Secret: The Making of Australia's Security State

Yemen, by Richard Tanter

Australian mercenaries and the shifting sands of Australia–Middle East alliances

Informit: Yemen

Australian mercenaries and the shifting sands of Australia - Middle East alliances. It seems unimaginable that Australia could be involved in the war in Yemen, arguably the world's worst contemporary humanitarian catastrophe, with more than 10,000 dead, one million cases of cholera, and 11 million in acute need of assistance and protection. Or that Canberra could be building towards a military alliance with a Gulf-state dictatorship with deep involvement in that war - the United…

Landscapes of Secret Power, by Richard Tanter

Pine Gap and Menwith Hill

Informit: Landscapes of secret power

Pine Gap and Menwith Hill are the two largest US intelligence stations on foreign soil, the jewels in the crown of the Five Eyes coalition of the United States and Britain (First Parties), and Australia, Canada and New Zealand (Second Parties). Despite this collaboration since 1947 and the more recently deployed fig-leaf term 'joint facilities', this transnational intelligence community is a US-auspiced, -constructed and -directed global hierarchy, closely integrated into US military operations worldwide, and…

Trump: Nuclear Future?, by Richard Tanter

Richard Tanter

11 Feb 2017

Strategically and morally there are only two acceptable positions on nuclear weapons: a commitment to deep arms control and disarmament, or work for the prohibition of nuclear weapons as a prerequisite for their abolition. Trump will oppose both, and in doing so he will increase global support for each.

Informit: Trump chaos to our North?: Where do we stand at the end of US hegemony in Asia?

Through a chaotic m lange of intent, incompetence and cultural prejudice, the new Trump administration will overturn the post-war system of US hegemony in Asia. Of course, that hegemonic regime has been creaking for decades, most obviously in the case of the rise of China, and in light of China's clear determination to have a say in making the rules of the global order. Whatever else Trump does or does not do, his incumbency will…

Our Poisoned Heart, by Richard Tanter

The transformation of Pine Gap

Informit: Our poisoned heart

The transformation of Pine Gap <br /><br /> Australia has two hearts, two potent symbolic centres. One is Uluru, a place of profound significance to Indigenous Australians, and of significant, if borrowed, meaning to many others, offering a promise of reconciliation, of an opening to the future. The other, Pine Gap, redolent with the symbolism of imperial power and threat, is the poisoned heart of the land, pumping toxins into the political landscape, binding us…

Informit: The $40-billion submarines

Almost everything about the Abbott government's project to spend up to $40 billion on twelve new submarines is breathtakingly wrongheaded, hazardous strategically and profligate financially. The process of deciding which country and company will be lead builder is a zigzag without logic born of prime-ministerial survival tactics, secret undertakings given domestically and abroad, and intense lobbying in the shadows by corporations, embassies and different factions of the defence bureaucracy. A typically Australian junior-alliance-partner amalgam of…

Informit: Power asymmetries and Australian hubris

Courtesy of Edward Snowden, the Australian government is discovering that an asymmetry in electronic surveillance capacity does not trump the asymmetry of power between Australia and Indonesia, which geography, population size and importance in world affairs tilt in favour of Indonesia. The revelation that Australia's premier intelligence agency monitored and intercepted the phone calls of Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, his wife and inner circle of advisers has revealed a great deal about the technical…

Informit: Back to the bases

When Barack Obama visited Australia in November 2011, he and Julia Gillard announced a new level of military cooperation between the United States and Australia. The public centre-piece of the 'announceables' from Obama's visit was the planned deployment of a US Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) to Darwin. Less attention was paid to the second part of the Obama-Gillard announcement describing more use of Australian air bases by US aircraft: more visits, more frequently, by…