Australian Outlook

Issues Brief

09 Sep 2014
Colin Chapman

President Barack Obama is planning to set out a strategy for containing and defeating the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, in a high-profile speech on Wednesday (Thursday AEST). The speech was heralded in an interview with Mr Obama on the US network, NBC.

In the interview, the president said, “We are going to systematically degrade [ISIS’s] capabilities. We’re going to shrink the territory that they control. And ultimately we’re going to defeat them.”

This may not be enough for the 91-year-old former US secretary of state, Henry Kissinger, who called for an all out attack on ISIS. The Kissinger interview with the London Sunday Times is protected behind a News Corporation pay wall, but the substance can be read in the Times of Israel.

The New York Times argues destroying ISIS may take years. Mr Obama, in his message on Wednesday, will appeal to Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states to support the effort to destroy ISIS – and there are, for the first time, some indications that he may get that support. The Arab League has exhorted its members to participate in the fight against the terrorist group.

Back at home, Australia seems set to buy its new submarine fleet from Japan. The Wall Street Journal reports that the Abbott government may commit $20 billion to the purchase of 10 hi-tech Japanese submarines. ABC Radio’s The World Today followed up the story with a claim that this was a broken Coalition election promise. Telling the story predominantly through the eyes of the South Australian economy, the program made no attempt to assess the technical quality of the Japanese product rated among the top class in the world; far superior to the Collins class submarines it will replace.