The defence of our country must and should be one of the highest priorities of any government of Australia, and a critical bipartisan issue that concerns both sides of politics. With the increasing rise of radical Islamic terrorism and ISIS, the empowerment of a belligerent Iranian state, instability in the South China Sea and a highly militaristic rogue North Korea – the world faces perilous and grave challenges. North Korea has in fact, once again entered the international spotlight with its recent distressing military threats against the free world.
Just three days ago, North Korea marked the 85th anniversary of the North Korean People’s Army with a massive military drill in a strong show of force, described as their “largest ever”, sparking fears within the Asia-Pacific region, the United States and throughout the free world. The same day, the Workers’ Party of North Korea promised “the most brutal punishment” for any provocative actions undertaken by the United States or its allies against the its regime. It is clear that the brutal North Korean dictatorship has but one objective at heart – to oppose and destroy freedom; not only within their own hermit Communist nation, but ultimately throughout the globe.
Threats from an unstable dictatorial regime, controlled by an equally unbalanced totalitarian – Kim Jong Un – should not be taken lightly. Whilst Pyongyang’s hostile rhetoric has been always been an international concern, the growing instability of the rogue regime makes the nuclear armed military power significantly unpredictable, and hence a looming threat over the free world. Just recently, North Korea threatened a nuclear strike against Australia for standing by its defence ally – the United States – claiming that doing so would be a “suicidal act”. Whilst Pyongyang has regularly threatened military action against nations for their support for freedom, it is time to take the North Korean threat seriously.
According to Prime Minister Turnbull’s 2016 Defence White Paper – “longer-range and submarine-launched ballistic and cruise missiles could threaten Australian territory, and shorter-range ballistic and cruise missiles pose a threat to our deployed forces”. Indeed, this concern is echoed by Admiral Harry Harris, the Pentagon’s top commander in the Pacific; and Andrew Shearer, former Abbott and Howard national security advisor – who both warn that North Korean missile development has accelerated significantly, and pose a grave threat not only to the Asia-Pacific region but ultimately to Australia. Shearer even went as far as to argue that Australia needed a missile defence shield to counter the “looming North Korean threat”. As a member of the free world, Australia has thus been thrust into the crosshairs of those who oppose freedom. Consequently, national defence and the safety and security of the Australian people and nation, must become a primary issue for our government. The growing threat and instability of North Korea has dire consequences for the Australian nation and for our brave men and women deployed overseas if their illegal missile and nuclear development programs are left ignored.
Freedom, the democratic institution, and the right and dignity of the individual, has and will always be the cornerstones of the values of our nation. Whilst regimes such as North Korea oppose everything that we stand for as a people and as a country, it has ultimately highlighted the value and fragility of freedom. President Ronald Reagan once said, “freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction”; and he was right – freedom must be protected. The increasing militaristic belligerency of North Korea must now be seen in a much more serious light, and it must be realised that their intentions are contrary to the spirit of freedom, good will and dignity.
The Australian government must take steps to prioritise national defence in light of such hostile belligerency against our nation, and also stand beside our democratic partners in the global community in the mutual pursuit and safeguarding of the peace and stability not only within the Asia-Pacific region, but ultimately throughout the world. Whilst pursuing such an objective, the words of President Reagan once again become relevant in these challenging times – “Let us reaffirm… goodness and good will. Let us work for peace and, as we do, let us remember the lines of the famous old hymn: ‘O God of Love, O King of Peace, make wars throughout the world to cease’”.