From coal miner's son to global defense strategist, Australian Paul Dibb shares his views on Russia, geopolitics and more.

The Hale Report Podcast Episode 40: Paul Dibb on Defense Policy

February 3, 2023

Listen here.

Until recently, have we underestimated the threat posed by Russia, and overestimated China’s capabilities? How and when will the war in Ukraine end? What is Japan’s new role? How has the partnership between Australia and the US grown ever stronger?

I discussed these questions and much more with Paul Dibb, my guest for the 40th episode of The Hale Report. He spent his career studying the USSR and Russia from the point of view of one of our closest allies, Australia. This podcast is a deep dive. I promise you will learn things you didn’t know from an unimpeachable source who has has been on the frontlines of defense policy for many years.

As director of the Defence intelligence Organisation in the 1980’s, Paul Dibb made a permanent mark on Australian defence strategy when he authored the 1986 Review of Australia’s Defence Capabilities, known as the Dibb Report.  That same year, he also wrote a book about the Soviet Union, The Incomplete Superpower.

He then made a very successful transition from spook to academic. He is currently professor of strategic studies at the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre that is part of the Australian National University or ANU in Canberra, which is where I met him more than twenty years ago.

Recently, searching for information about the war in Ukraine, I watched his ANU lecture on Russia, as well as a panel discussion in 2016 when he effectively predicted where we are today. It prompted me to reach out to Paul to discuss his views as well as his decades of experience as a participant in policymaking.

Books discussed in this podcast

2021 / Yale University Press

Collapse: The Fall of the Soviet Union

Vladislav M. Zubok

2021 / Yale University Press

Not One Inch: America, Russia, and the Making of Post-Cold War Stalemate

M.E. Sarotte

This book uses new evidence and interviews to show how, in the decade that culminated in Vladimir Putin's rise to power, the US and Russia undermined a potentially lasting partnership...and shows what went wrong.

By Paul Dibb

May 3, 2022 /The Strategist

China will be watching and learning from Russia’s poor performance in Ukraine

There are at least five military lessons for Xi to learn from Russia’s campaign.

Mar 29 2022 / The Strategist

Putin’s revanchist excuses for going to war

What are the causes of Russia’s brutal war against Ukraine and why have they created Europe’s most serious conflict since World War II? The answer is in the mind of President Vladimir Putin, the only person in today’s Russia with the authority to go to war.

Aug 1 2022 / Australian National University

Why did Russia attack Ukraine and what are its geopolitical implications?

December 2022/ The Australian $

Pentagon sounds alarm on Beijing’s rising nuclear threat

While China’s military build-up has been staggering, there are significant weaknesses that should inform our strategic response.

Nov 21, 2022 /The Australian

Tokyo’s radical defence step-up a timely blueprint

The increasingly belligerent military activities of China, Russia and North Korea have forced Japan to rethink its security posture.

Substack Podcasts