In a new book edited by Dr. Michael J. Green of Center for Strategic & International Studies in Washington D.C., the final chapter by Alex Oliver looks at international public opinion towards the US' system of alliances and finds that attitudes have been surprisingly
President Donald Trump’s style of on-the-run Syria policy has once again reared its head, although this time it has been done via press release rather than Twitter. The Twitter announcement of a US military pull-out that he made in December 2018 was gradually walked back after his
It makes good sense for Prime Minister Scott Morrison to look for areas of common interest during his forthcoming state visit with President Donald Trump. His interview with the Australian Financial Review suggests a stronger allegiance: to join Trump’s economic battle with China. This would be a
In the darkest days of John Howard’s pre-Lazarus life, before the triple by-pass and successful political resurrection, one of the many ways he was disparaged as being unfit to be prime minister was the argument that he simply did not have the presence or the bearing to represent Australia
Christopher Meyer, Britain’s ambassador to Washington (1997 – 2003), observed that the United States had one special relationship, and that was with Ireland. The large and politically active Irish diaspora living in America make the relationship special.
Australia’s strategy of urging its
Today’s AUSMIN could hardly be better timed, following recent terrorist attacks, North Korean nuclear provocations, and the weekend’s Shangri-La dialogue. But, as is so often the case with AUSMIN, the danger is the urgent will crowd out the important.
Both Australia and the US find it
In one respect, the symbolism of President Donald Trump and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull meeting aboard the USS Intrepid in New York on Thursday could not be more ideal.
After all, the moment will surely provide the perfect opportunity to showcase an alliance which has always – and
This is an edited version of remarks delivered at the National Press Club in Canberra on 21 February, 2017, in a panel discussion with Sir Angus Houston. The full text can be found here, and a video of the event here.
It is easy to be troubled by Donald Trump and the unpredictability of his
This is an edited version of remarks delivered at the National Press Club in Canberra on 21 February, 2017, in a panel discussion with Rory Medcalf. The full text can be found here, and a video of the event here.
The comfort of post-Cold War US predominance is under challenge on
More details are emerging of the Australian government’s thinking on how to handle a volatile and erratic Trump White House, and how it might repair some of the damage following the now infamous telephone exchange between the US President and the Australian Prime Minister in early February.
Just as modern-day Australia has something of an Anzac fixation, it also has an ANZUS obsession. Both play on national myths, exaggerated foundation stories and a misremembering of the past. Both betray a reluctance to challenge near-sacred shibboleths that in recent decades have become immutable
The impact of US President-elect Donald Trump's intended withdrawal from the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) on Australia could be seen as relatively benign, if one concentrated soley on trade in goods and services.
After all, we have the Australia-United States FTA, concluded in 2004. The
Australian and US military forces have worked together for almost a century. It’s a partnership forged under fire that has evolved into an alliance we should work hard to preserve.
We first fought together in the First World War on 4 July 1918. Under the command and masterful leadership of the
Michael Fullilove is right to argue that ANZUS is bigger than any one individual, even when that person happens to be the US president.
However, Trump's election has already affected the way Australian political leaders think about the alliance. Their disparate responses suggest that we
It got off to a rocky start, but the relationship between Hillary Clinton and former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has become a warm and respectful one that is likely to grow in importance if Clinton becomes President of the United States.
A Clinton victory may see Gillard take on new
The 10th East Asia Summit this weekend promises to be one of the most interesting bits of summitry in some time. This, the last stop on Malcolm Turnbull’s five-nation tour which has included one-on-one meetings with the top three on Forbes' Most Powerful List, is also likely to prove the most
'Should Donald Trump be elected US President, Australia should tear up the ANZUS alliance', leads this article by veteran analyst and political reporter, Daniel Flitton.
He doesn’t hold back:
Malcolm Turnbull or Bill Shorten could be prime minister by this time next year, but this is a simple
Australia and its Navy are in an awkward spot, caught between China and the US in the full glare of a global media spotlight shone on the South China Sea.
Two Royal Australian Navy ANZAC frigates are due to arrive tomorrow in China's naval base Zhanjiang for a port visit, ahead of live-fire
After many months of intense debate inside the Obama Administration, the US conducted a freedom of navigation operation (FONOP) in the South China Sea on 26 October. The destroyer USS Lassen sailed for over an hour within 12 nautical miles of Subi Reef, a low tide elevation (LTE; a feature that was
After marathon talks, the Trans Pacific Partnership has been sealed. The stage is now set for some fantastic battles to get this through national legislatures. I'll leave it to others to count the numbers.
I've written previously about my concerns regarding the TPP, and agreements like it. I won't
Very few people would have been surprised at the Australian Government's announcement that the RAAF will extend its operations to ISIS targets in Syria. The announcement was made in conjunction with the decision to permanently resettle 12,000 refugees most in need out of camps in Turkey, Jordan and
Delivering the 2015 Lowy Lecture in Sydney yesterday, General David Petraeus outlined a thought-provoking grand strategy for 'Greater Asia'.
Geographically, Petraeus defines Greater Asia along a maritime axis from the Mediterranean to the Sea of Japan, but also overland 'from Western Russia to
Now that Congress has provided President Obama with Trade Promotion Authority as we enter the last phase of the TPP negotiations, the treaty seems likely to go ahead. What is left for Australian authorities to think about?
While the TPP draft will come before the Australian parliament for
President Barack Obama finally has authority from the US Congress for advancing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a signature foreign policy of his final term in office. The TPP aims to establish a free trade zone around the Pacific Rim covering 40% of the global economy, while excluding China
China and the US have both been described as countries that consider themselves to be exceptional. China, so much so, that some analysts argue it sees itself as 'uniquely unique'. What this means in China is that most Chinese understand themselves to be part of a culture that no-one else can truly
For a long time American (and Australian) thinking about China has been dominated by a broad consensus that, despite many signs of growing assertiveness, Beijing does not pose a fundamental challenge to US leadership in Asia. The argument goes that, whatever they might say, China's leaders know
Australia's likely decision to become a founding member of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) marks the loosening of America's 70 year command over global governance.
US Secretary of State John Kerry and World Bank President Jim Yong Kim at the African Growth and Opportunity Act
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is close to the make-or-break stage. It will either get US Congressional blessing soon or lose momentum and slip from the agenda. So it is surprising how little public debate there is in Australia about its important ramifications. For an excellent exception, see
Shashank Joshi makes a good case for the importance of Obama's visit to India last month, and against my view that there is much less to the US-India alignment than meets the eye.
My argument is that their underlying strategic objectives remain too different for real strategic alignment. Shashank
America's commitment to security, dignity and prosperity in Asia, facing up to global challenges, and some strong words on climate change – President Obama's just-concluded speech in Brisbane was a hybrid package.
I imagine other contributors will add context to his applause-evoking remarks on
Is culture destiny? Or is geography destiny? These are the existential questions Australians have to grapple with as they ponder their future in the Asian century. As they think over these questions, they would do well to plunge into Peter Hartcher's new Lowy Institute Paper The Adolescent Country
'The provincial reflex', Peter Hartcher's coinage in The Adolescent Country, a Lowy Institute Paper released today, is a neat way of describing the chronic parochialism that has infected Australia public life for much of the past decade.
It is a period, paradoxically, when the shift in global
The passing of Gough Whitlam was always going to be a seismic moment in Australian national life. As Paul Kelly writes in today's Australian, the former Labor leader lived 'long enough to see his life mythologised in the national story'. Debate has and will continue to rage about his legacy, both
Here are three observations on Iraq:
1. Australia does have a core interest in Iraq
One of the arguments already used by opponents of any Australian participation in military action against ISIS is that Australia does not have any core interests in Iraq. Leaving aside the question of whether the
The Prime Minister's unsurprising announcement of an Australian military commitment to the US-led anti-Islamic State (IS) coalition answered a few questions and raised others. I think the justification for military intervention in Iraq is relatively straightforward, but the environment within which
Two months ago, as Prime Minister Abbott's globalist reflexes were becoming increasingly apparent, I offered a perspective from Washington that the US should welcome a more prominent role for Australia on the world stage.
I argued that America's steadfast ally had unique normative, diplomatic and
So, the first-year assessments are in, and it seems the Abbott Government has done well on foreign policy.
Mark Kenny says Abbott has established 'a solid profile as a man of purpose' on the world stage. Michelle Grattan says Abbott 'has shown an unexpected sureness on the international stage'.
An RAAF C-130H Hercules deploys aid to civilians in northern Iraq. (Image courtesy of the Department of Defence.)
There's a lot to be concerned about in the way Australia is approaching the decision to intervene militarily in the civil war engulfing northern Iraq and Syria. There has been scant
President Obama is already being pilloried for his statement, made in a press conference earlier today, that 'we don't have a strategy yet' for combating ISIS. No strategy? This for a terrorist group that his own Defense Secretary described as 'an imminent threat to every interest we have...Oh,
Here's The Australian's Greg Sheridan on this week's AUSMIN talks:
...the two governments committed to establish a working group on integrating their efforts on ballistic missile defence...In time, the US ideal is to be able to track and follow any hostile missile with seamless allied co-
When US officials talk about the US-Australia alliance, they almost always highlight, as President Obama did in his November 2011 speech in Canberra, that Australians have fought alongside Americans 'in every single major conflict of the past hundred years.' This is a fact to be celebrated, but
ISIS's dramatic seizure of Mosul last week has caused much geo-strategic hyperventilation. Commentators are variously predicting the collapse of Iraq and eulogising (once again) Middle Eastern borders as defined by Sykes and Picot. The prospect of the US – and perhaps allies such as Australia
This morning Prime Minister Tony Abbott and US President Barack Obama announced the conclusion of a series of agreements between the US and Australia. Chief among these is the US–Australia Force Posture Agreement. It details arrangements for the enhanced military cooperation measures first
Last week saw the publishing of Robert Kagan's latest essay for New Republic magazine: 'Allure of Normalcy: what America still owes the world'. It is a magisterial contribution that will enter the realm of 'classic' US foreign policy essays.
There have been a number of such essays since the end
It is good to see a widening of the debate on this issue, and Andrew Carr and Peter Dean have done a commendable job of covering the political history of the 2 % of GDP commitment as it has played out in the public debate. It is certainly true that the Coalition exploited Labor's inability to meet
Since 2007, the Defence Materiel Organisation has run an office charged with boosting Australia's defence exports. The Defence Export Unit, as it was initially known, was established with a budget of $34 million. It had a relatively inauspicious start – in 2009 it was unable to conduct its own
The prologue of Rebalancing US Forces, a new book edited by US Naval War College professors Carnes Lord and Andrew Erickson, opens with Barack Obama's speech in to the Australian parliament on 17 November 2011. That single clue should alert Australian readers to their country's importance in America
Ric Smith, Andrew Carr and Peter Dean all present a compelling case as to why a 2% of GDP target for defence spending does not constitute a strategy. But this completely overlooks the target's purpose. The bipartisan 2% target is not for defence planning, it is for alliance management.
Yesterday I had a long and fascinating talk with former Australian prime minister Malcolm Fraser, who has just released Dangerous Allies, his new book calling for a substantially more independent Australian strategic posture.
You can listen to the whole conversation below, but I have also