News / Asia

Australia's Military Aid to Ukraine Raises Questions at Home

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott speaks during the launch of a student mobility program at a university in Mumbai, India, Sept. 4, 2014.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott speaks during the launch of a student mobility program at a university in Mumbai, India, Sept. 4, 2014.
Phil Mercer

The Australian government is to provide military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine.  Canberra is also offering to join U.S.-led air strikes against Islamic State militants.  Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has previously branded Russia a “bully” over its actions in Ukraine and this week he compared Islamic State extremists in Syria and Iraq to a “death cult”.
 
The Abbott government will now send military advisers to Ukraine, while its aircraft have begun transporting weapons to Kurdish fighters in northern Iraq.  Australian warplanes are also on standby to join U.S. airstrikes on Islamic State militants if needed.
 
But as the conservative prime minister engages in a more interventionist foreign policy, there are fears that he risks overstretching his nation’s armed forces.  They have traditionally been small, yet well resourced and sophisticated. But James Brown, a former Australian army officer and military analyst at the Sydney-based Lowy Institute, is critical of Canberra’s policy in Eastern Europe.
 
“It is hard to understand how a military deployment to Ukraine is in Australia’s national interests, given, as you say, [that] we didn’t have diplomatic representation there a month ago," he said. "I think there is a real danger now that Tony Abbott finds himself over-committed with his use of military force.  He came to power claiming a foreign policy that would be more Jakarta-orientated than Geneva-orientated.  Now Australia finds itself contributing soldiers into the Ukraine - into a European war. It finds itself contemplating contributing significant forces to Iraq and Syria, and all the while we have still got issues in our region that we are responsible for if they flare up.”

The growing list of military commitments has prompted a lengthy debate in Australia's senate over parliament's role in such deployments.
 
Senator Christine Milne, leader of the Greens party, told fellow lawmakers parliamentary approval must be required for any military commitments abroad, to prevent "mission creep." She used as an example the humanitarian effort to help refugees in Iraq that grew into an extensive military operation.

“We have had the prime minister engage in what can only be described as 'mission creep,'" she said.  "We started out with humanitarian assistance, which the Greens totally support, taking water and food and supply drops to people in desperate need. Then it went to [being involved] in a force ... transporting weapons into northern Iraq.”
 
Underpinning Australia’s vocal forays into international crises is its longstanding military alliance with the United States that dates back to the early 1950s.  Analysts say that Canberra has become one of Washington’s key security partners as it seeks to diffuse crises in Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

You May Like

Missouri Town Braces for Possible Racial Unrest

Situation in Ferguson hinges on whether white police officer will be indicted for August shooting death of unarmed black teen; decision could come Monday More

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of 1930s Deadly Famine

President Poroshenko compares Soviet-era ‘genocide’ to current tactics of pro-Russia rebels in Ukraine's east More

S. Philippines Convictions Elusive 5 Years After Election-related Killings

Officials vowed to deliver justice as the nation marked the anniversary of the country's worst political massacre that left 58 dead, more than half media More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: P from: Sydney
September 05, 2014 7:57 PM
After The Russian terrorists shot down a plane full of australian civilians and left the dead to rot why is anyone surprised australia is sending troops. The public is totally on Abbotts side with this and iraq intervention. Plus with iraq we have to stand with America.


by: george from: texas
September 04, 2014 6:39 PM
and russia and putin would love that Ukraine is in their realm of control and their new Union of Willing . EU and world , must must help Ukraine ,Moldova, Georgia before Russia armies overrun all these small and poor nations


by: Simon Vargas from: USA
September 04, 2014 3:47 PM
🇺🇸 To the FREE WORLD, together We STAND, Alone we FALL. 🌈

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Faminei
X
Daniel Schearf
November 23, 2014 4:32 PM
During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video Law Enforcement, Activists in Ferguson Agree to Keep Peace

Authorities in Ferguson, Missouri, say they have agreed with protest leaders to maintain peace when a grand jury reaches its decision on whether to indict a white police officer in the shooting death of a black teenager. Ferguson, a suburb of St. Louis, has been the scene of intermittent violence since the August 9 shooting intensified long-simmering antagonism between the police and the African-American community. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid