Cecelia O'Brien responds to last Friday's Defence in Depth video:
When I was a young grad student I had a professor who told us that if we had ten data sets and nine of those sets all had the same result, we should then devote our utmost attention to the one data set that did not get the same results. I have always thought this to be wise. Consider our tendency towards groupthink and confirmation bias. There is also that nasty tendency for surprises to pop up. The list of things we never expected is long and recent examples include the collapse of the Soviet Union, the so called Arab Spring and even the state of affairs in the EU. One would have to agree the failure to predict these events is not a minor shortcoming so a consideration of the outlying possibilities is worth some effort.
All of your commentators have identified the contentious relationship between China and the US as being a concern for Australia and the region. I do not hear anyone speaking about an alternative — that the US and China could come to recognise that superpowers have much in common and that both China and the US might serve their national interests better by teaming up. What would be the implications for the region if the US and China worked together? It seems to me that a somewhat contentious relationship between these two countries has the advantage that they balance each other so that neither can dominate the region, which leaves the rest some freedom.
But a US-China that cooperates, that seeks to advance their common interests means total domination of the region. It seems to me that possibility is worth some consideration. We might find two friendly giants much less to our liking.