Hugo Kelly writes:

Today’s announcement that Australian troops will stay in Iraq to protect the Japanese contingent will soak up the headlines. But some more significant defence strategy happened last week when Defence Minister Hill let it be known the government would be expanding the army by 2500 to form “armoured groups.” He set a target date, for what is essentially a major re-armament, of 2012.

The significance here is that it has been unofficially known for some time that the USA expects, in the event of a war with China, that Australia will contribute an armoured division to the invasion of mainland China.

As Australia did not have anything approaching an armoured division, this was not considered an overly likely scenario.

But if Defence does achieve this build up, and scrape together everything they plan to have (and this is Defence, so we won’t be holding our breath) by 2012, then it might just pass muster as at least a mechanised division.

So last week Robert Hill was effectively setting a 2012 re-armament date for a war with China. Wars tend to arrive a few years before the target re-armament dates, so our Defence source advises us to get out of the Shanghai real-estate market by around 2009.