No matter where you live in Australia, it’s easy to forget the dangers brewing in the world around us. Even the poorest neighbourhoods in our capital cities are secure and affluent compared to any war-torn Third World nation.
But Home Affairs secretary Michael Pezzullo is paid to keep a close eye on those dangers. And he sees them growing.
As the Australian Associated Press reports, Pezzullo warns of seven ‘gathering storms’ that could threaten Australia’s national security.
Pezzullo is worried about the growing odds of a war in Asia between major military powers as well as seeing chemical weapons used in smaller conflicts around the globe.
He also cautioned about the ‘more plausible’ scenario of cyber attacks that could cripple Australia’s economy. Australia’s financial, energy, water and transport systems are all vulnerable.
Pezzullo says, ‘Much more needs to be done in this area.’
Addressing the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, the AAP notes that Pezzullo discussed the threats posed by espionage and disinformation, and by ‘ungoverned’ territories, Islamic terrorism and organised crime.
The chance of a war is higher than the mid-1980s
Radical Islamic terrorist groups, he warns, will keep mutating and evolving:
‘While the defeat of ISIS is to be welcomed, its ideology will fall on fertile ground elsewhere… Worryingly, al-Qaeda would strike again if it could. Of course, home-grown terror cells and lone wolves and returning foreign terrorist fighters continue to be a very high priority concern.’
Most worryingly, Pezzullo stated that the chance of a war between great powers is higher than any time since the mid-1980s.
He said war could break out not by design but through ‘strategic miscalculation’ or ‘operational misadventure’. ‘No rational actor ever seeks a catastrophic war, and yet history tells us that such wars occur,’ Pezzullo stated.
Indeed they have. Let’s just hope the world’s leaders share Pezzullo’s caution.
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