Though analysts and historians will spend years arguing about exactly why prewar assessments of the Russian military proved so flawed, two reasons are immediately apparent. First, Western analysts misunderstood the Russian military’s ability to undertake the most complex operations and the robustness of its logistical capabilities. And second, prognosticators paid too little attention to the basic motivations and morale of the soldiers who would be asked to use the Russian military’s allegedly excellent doctrine and equipment.
Australia’s decision to increase defence spending is hardly unique. Global military expenditure in 2019 reached a new high at US$1.9 trillion. Experts warn of an increased risk of military miscalculation.
Just as concerning, they say, has been the breakdown of traditional arms reduction and containment treaties. The biggest of them NewSTART is due for renewal early next year, but there are concerns a second term for President Trump could derail the agreement.
Dr Nan Tian – Senior Researcher, Arms Control and Expenditure Programme, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
Associate Professor Marianne Hanson – Specialist in arms control and disarmament, School of Political Science and International Studies, University of Queensland
Professor Toby Walsh – Artificial Intelligence researcher and spokesperson for the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots
Associate Professor Sarah Percy – Deputy Head, School of Political Science and International Studies, University of Queensland
Police officers in many western countries now dress like paramilitaries. Special police units are being trained and organised along military lines and issued with military-grade weapons. Is this creeping “militarisation” justified and what are the future implications for the effectiveness of policing in democratic societies?