20 May 2012

Save $40 bn and get something better

The never-ending madness of 'Australian-made':

IT IS not often that a government has the chance to save around $40 billion by buying the best available product rather than trying to design and build what will almost certainly be an inferior version. Yet Julia Gillard’s government seems determined to press ahead with the immensely complex task of designing and building twelve huge submarines at a likely cost of over $40 billion to replace six trouble-plagued, Australian-designed Collins class subs. Never mind that a high-quality submarine fleet can be bought from overseas for under $3 billion – less than it will cost to try to keep two decrepit Collins class boats operationally available until the future subs are due to arrive in 2025. Despite the political and fiscal damage it is inviting down the track, Cabinet seems unwilling to pull the plug on the project initiated by Gillard’s predecessor, Kevin Rudd.

Question: Who benefits?

Ending Sydney’s law-and-order auction

Interesting article on NSW's new Attorney General, Greg Smith.
Smith claims to be unmoved. “The whole hardline approach against crime has been a failure in many places,” he tells me. “This attempt to make me look softer misrepresents what I am trying to do. I am trying to turn people away from crime. It’s not soft, it’s being more pragmatic.”
Australia spends $11.5 billion a year on law and order, about $511 a year per person. The dubious honour for the biggest spending goes to New South Wales.
Within two years of their release, 43 per cent of NSW prisoners reoffend, compared with just under 37 per cent in Victoria, for example, and less than 30 per cent in Tasmania.
The seeds of Smith’s liberal zeal to change all this go back to his days as a prosecutor, first as an instructing solicitor then as a crown prosecutor. He would respond with scepticism to the hard luck stories defence counsel wheeled out about their clients’ disadvantaged upbringings. Slowly, though, he realised that most people who commit crimes do so precisely because of their backgrounds, including dysfunctional family life and poor education opportunities.

China And The Politics Of Oil

China's options vis-a-vis the all-important resource - oil:

As a rising power dependent on imported oil, China might be said to have three options. First, China could trust that the free market in energy will continue to function. This would imply a belief that unlike Germany and Japan, China will not end up in a conflict that disrupts the operation of the market and involves the interdiction of its imports. Second, China might pursue the military capability necessary to project power and secure its global energy supply lines. The United States currently possesses a blue-water navy and long-range aircraft with refueling that allows it to police the seas and guarantee the operation of international markets. In pursuit of this second option, China’s military, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), would acquire equivalent forces. A third option—call it the indirect approach[2]—would be for China to defend its overseas energy supplies by disrupting hostile alliances and replacing them with a network of well-armed friends or client states along key oil routes. This would raise the costs of imposing an embargo or blockade on China. If Beijing could shape the international environment such that any power contemplating interdicting Chinese oil would have to think twice, then China would not need American-style power projection to secure its supplies.

The spice must flow!

H/t: The Interpreter > Eurasia Review > Foreign Policy Research Institute

19 May 2012

PRC Princeling Kills 2 with Ferrari

Finance Industry type from the PRC kills Singaporean taxi driver and sole breadwinner of a family of five plus his Japanese passenger.