Australia’s Deterrence Trap
Weekly Newsletters

Australia’s Deterrence Trap



25 January 2024

This week, we welcome Ambassador Febrian Ruddyard to the APLN network. We also share two critical perspectives on Australian security policy, where Brendan Taylor argues that Australian deterrence strategies heighten the risks of inadvertent escalation in the region, and Jim Green and Dimity Hawkins question Canberra’s ability to handle nuclear waste from the AUKUS project. Finally, Huong Le Thu assesses the impact of Asia-Pacific elections on geopolitics.

We also highlight recent activities from our network, including analysis of South Korea’s potential contributions to the U.N. Security Council, the military lessons from the Russia-Ukraine War, a framework to reduce security risks on the Korean Peninsula, Japan’s dilemma regarding nuclear disarmament, and more.

APLN is pleased to welcome our first senior network member of 2024, Ambassador Febrian Alphyanto Ruddyard, Permanent Representative of Indonesia to the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, and other international organizations in Geneva.

Ambassador Ruddyard has previously served as the chair of the ASEAN Committee in Geneva (2023), Chair of the MIKTA Group (2023), President of the United Nations Conference on Disarmament (February 2024), and Chair of the Working Group on Situations of the United Nations Human Rights Council (2022), among others.

See all members

Operationalising Strategic Risk Reduction in the
Asia-Pacific Region: An Australian Perspective

In this special report, Brendan Taylor, Professor of Strategic Studies at the Australian National University, argues that deterrence strategies may, in fact, heighten the risks of inadvertent escalation rather than mitigate them. To avoid falling into a deterrence trap, Australian policymakers must balance their focus on deterrence with greater advocacy for crisis management and avoidance mechanisms.

Read the special report

This report is a part of the APLN Asia-Pacific Strategic Risks project in partnership with the European Leadership Network (ELN). The project convenes government officials, experts, and practitioners from South Korea, Japan, Australia, and the UK to discuss how changing threat perceptions impact proliferation challenges and what policy solutions can address them, including steps to encourage strategic restraint, greater collaboration and carefully honed nuclear risk reduction diplomacy.

The Politics of Nuclear Waste Disposal: Lessons from Australia

Jim Green and Dimity Hawkins explore Australia’s historical mismanagement of nuclear waste. They emphasise the infringement on Indigenous rights, urge legal reforms, and question the government’s capacity to handle high-level nuclear waste challenges under AUKUS.

In addition, they highlight the need for studies, clean-up and monitoring of all British nuclear weapons test sites in Australia in line with the positive obligations in the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW).

Read the special report

This report is part of APLN’s project on Nuclear Disarmament and the Anthropocene: Voices from Pacific Islands Countries. Through this project, we hope to raise global awareness of the shared responsibility to address human and environmental security challenges across the region.

In 2024, Asia’s Domestic Politics Will Decide Its Geopolitics

In this week’s KT Column, Huong Le Thu, Nonresident Fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), envisages how the numerous national elections that will take place across the Asia-Pacific in 2024 are likely to impact the geopolitical landscape of the region.

Read the Korea Times column





APLN has over 150 members from 22 countries in the Asia-Pacific.
Each week we feature their latest contributions
to global and regional security debates.

See all member activities



ICAN Chief Urges Japan to Recognize Nuke Ban, Not Fear U.S. Reaction

Melissa Parke, Executive Director for ICAN, said that the Japanese government should move towards recognising the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), and not fear the reaction from the United States.

Revisiting the Two-State System for Peaceful Coexistence on the Korean Peninsula

Jun Bong-geun, Professor at the Institute of Foreign Affairs and National Security, wrote for the U.S. Institute of Peace and argued that a system mitigating the competition for unification may promote peaceful coexistence between the two Koreas.

[Interview] Accidental Clash on Korean Peninsula Could Touch Off Nuclear War

Chung-in Moon, APLN Vice Chair, was interviewed by the Hankyoreh. He warned that an accidental clash between North and South Korea at the current moment runs the risk of expanding into a nuclear war, emphasising the need for both nations to exercise restraint and caution.

South Korea Begins Two-Year Term as UNSC Member

Eunjung Lim, Associate Professor at the Division of International Studies at Kongju National University, was interviewed by Arirang News. She discussed what South Korea can do to potentially strengthen the role of the UNSC in addressing global issues and talked about other pending tasks for the Yoon administration on the diplomatic front this year, beyond the UNSC and North Korea.

The Military Lessons of the Russia-Ukraine War

Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan, Director of the Centre for Security, Strategy, and Technology, analysed the role played by space-borne assets in the war, especially in surveillance, navigation, and communication. She argued that while space-borne assets have been used extensively by both sides, these alone cannot determine the tide of the war as they are only an enabler in warfighting.

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