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:

Informit: The pure heart of Japan?

The wedding of the Japanese Crown Prince and Owada Masako was, to put it mildly, a state-orchestrated media event here in Japan. Newspaper and television commentaries provided any number of texts, subtexts, and pretexts for astonishment. The media award for idiocy went to the NHK television commentator looking at the parade who said, 'Yes, a number of the people lining the streets have brought cameras'.

Informit: Japan and the coming East Asian explosion [New arms race.]

Informit: Memo to Kevin Rudd: Why are we in Afghanistan?

Informit: Death by sashimi: the survival of the southern bluefin tuna.

Informit: Joint operations

Australia's further integration into US global space-based intelligenceUS Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert Gates swung through Canberra and Melbourne in early November for the annual AUSMIN talks, holding meetings with their counterparts Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd and Defence Minister Stephen Smith and, on this occasion, with Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

Informit: Ready to die for TEPCO?

The series of major nuclear accidents at the Fukushima Number One Nuclear Power Plant that began with the earthquake and tsunami on the afternoon of 11 March this year is, at the time of writing twelve weeks later, unending and uncontrolled. In mid-May the owner and operator of the plant, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), finally admitted that the nuclear fuel cores of three of the six reactors at Fukushima No. 1 had indeed melted…

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…

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: 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: Addiction to alliance war

The wars we didn't know we were having, and their consequences. Australia has an addiction to going to war with its US alliance partner, 'our great and powerful friend', whatever the strategic and human consequences. Australia's armed forces have been at war in operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria-and now unannounced at sea in the Yemeni civil war-almost continually since November 2001, resulting in fortythree dead and several hundred seriously wounded. Many Australian service men and…

Informit: Japan Incorporated: drowning, waving, or considering its options

Informit: Indonesian politics after Suharto