This part of the planet is starting to head towards real defence issues with Australia and The States disagreeing on where the future lays with combat and how to prepare. Australia wants to equip the military for more conventional warfare and The States is heading in the direction of more unconventional warfare like with what you're seeing in Iraq and Afghanistan. Already the Pentagon has announced cuts - (see below posting).
The reason this is coming about is due to the massive arms build up China is going through right now and the potential of India with Pakistan heading towards HUGE dramas. That sucker is a nuclear powered locomotive without brakes. Dramas there isn't 'if', but 'when'.
It seems to me that resource defence is gonna be a huge thing in the future with a glimpse of it happening in Iraq at the mo. Obviously it would be unpopular for Australia to take an offensive role in SECURING resources so defence of current resources - (whether they be owned by Au, or others, but accessed by Au) - is gonna be the future role. Pre-emptive shit isn't out of the question though.
China being what it is - (communist, big, not all that concerned about human rights) - are gonna begin to look for more resources to feed the mamoth thing it is. It's just inevitable.
The question is, do we prepare now, or when they're securing the sub-continent?.