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Friday 18 Aug 2017 | 03:49 | SYDNEY
Friday 18 Aug 2017 | 03:49 | SYDNEY

Things I have changed my mind about this year

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17 December 2008 08:28

  1. The inevitable growth of the Australian political blogosphere: I'm less of an optimist than I used to be. I don't think our political blogosphere will ever match the influence that blogging has achieved in the US. The weight of numbers just isn't there, and our political system doesn't allow for it. But I think the Lowy Institute has shown that with some investment, small institutions can make inroads into territory dominated (or ignored) by big media.
  2. That ballistic missile defence can substitute for arms control: I used to have a theory that if BMD became capable enough, cheap enough and ubiquitous enough, it would move the strategic balance in favour of the defender and thus act as a disincentive for nuclear and ballistic missile proliferation. I now think that's very unlikely, though I remain a supporter of theatre missile defence and believe it can play a part in arms control and crisis diplomacy.
  3. Nation building: This is one I have vacillated on over the course of the year and am still unsure about. One the one hand, the Iraq and Afghanistan adventures have reminded me of the conservative dictum about observing limits to government activism. On the other hand, post-Cold War military interventions of all kinds (I include peacekeeping operations) have shown some success. And where they have failed or are showing mixed results (Timor, Solomon Islands), the costs have not been huge.

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