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Strategy (Spotlight Brief 2/21)

30 April 2021
An Australian Army CH-47 Chinook Helicopter from the 5th Aviation Regiment rests on the hard-standing at the 3rd Brigade Combined Arms at Lavarack Barracks, Townsville.

“Logrolling” in Antarctic governance: Limits and opportunities

Source: Polar Record – Dec 20

In this article, McGee, Carpi and Jackson offer two simultaneous areas of consideration: addressing China’s increasing international influence and assertiveness regarding the Antarctica Treaty, and providing a case study in ‘log-rolling’ as a strategic approach. The former is of increasing importance to Australia given we have significant responsibilities and interests in Antarctica. Matters which undermine either the intent or letter of the Antarctica Treaty are concerning. They may require Australian policy and diplomatic attention. ‘Log rolling’ is where members (in this case, China) trade favours to achieve passage of their agenda. While the authors use Antarctica as their exemplar, the opportunities and risks they discuss may also apply to other scenarios. Critically, such an approach can lead to the erosion in norms and strengths of the rules that govern a relationship or institution.


‘Strategy and Competition at the Ends of the Earth’, War on the Rocks, 06 Jan 21

‘The Worrying Geopolitical Implications of Australia’s Antarctic Airport Plan’, The Diplomat, 06 Jan 21

‘With New Gear And Bases, China Is Beginning To Make A Play For Dominance In Antarctica’, Forbes, 23 Dec 20

‘Australia’s Antarctic Frontier: Our Unchecked Indo-Pacific Strategic Faultline’, Land Power Forum, 29 Sep 20

‘Logrolling’, Wikipedia


Small Island Strategies in the Indo-Pacific by Large Powers

Source: The Journal of Territorial and Maritime Studies – Winter/Spring 21

The wars of the Indian and Pacific Oceans throughout history are linked with their islands as much as their continental littorals. Islands offer a permanent foothold in a precarious watery domain, can be used to control swaths of ocean (with corresponding economic and security benefits), or provide access rights. While there is a belief that any future conflict in the Indo-Pacific region will be unlike previous ones, islands retain geopolitical-economic significance germane to conflict. In this article, Scott reviews how major players in the Indo-Pacific (US, China, France, India, and Japan) use islands, including looking at some of the paradoxes their behaviour generates. The author further examines the complication of islands that can appear (by being built) or disappear (through climate change). His findings that islands will retain their importance highlights the need for ongoing development of amphibious and littoral manoeuvre capability by land forces.


‘Agalega: A glimpse of India’s remote island military base’, The Interpreter, 02 Mar 21

‘The Growing Importance of Guam’, Signal, 01 Feb 21

‘Japan could misread US’ Diaoyu Islands intentions’, Global Times, 25 Jan 21

‘Indo-Pacific Island States: Vulnerabilities in the Age of COVID’, Australian Strategic Policy Institute, 27 Oct 20

‘France, the Other Indo-Pacific Power’, Carnegie-Tsinghua Centre for Global Policy, 21 Oct 20

The views expressed in this article and subsequent comments are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Australian Army, the Department of Defence or the Australian Government.

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