U.S.-Australia Alliance Relations: An Australian View

Posted in Other | 05-Nov-05 | Author: Paul Dibb

Key Points

Australia is America’s oldest friend and ally in the Asia-Pacific region and second closest ally in the world. However, there currently is a debate in Australia about what the United States expects from the alliance and the nature of American power.

Australia’s self-reliant defense posture in Southeast Asia and the South Pacific contributes to mutual security. That posture is strengthened by the U.S. security guarantee and access to U.S. intelligence, defense science, weapons, and military logistics support. The alliance also enhances Australia’s status in world affairs, especially in Asia.

Australia will remain a committed U.S. ally for the foreseeable future. Canberra and Washington share views on fighting the war on terror, dealing with the spread of weapons of mass destruction, supporting democracy, and preventing the emergence of failed states. However, the challenges Australia faces in its own neighborhood have first priority. Maintaining support for the alliance will also rest upon Washington’s success in convincing the Australian public that U.S. policies are both necessary and legitimate and that Australia’s contributions to mutual security are not taken for granted.

Obstacles to good alliance relations could arise if the United States made politically difficult demands on Australia in combating terror, sought military support that forced unacceptable risks, or drew it into a major conflict with China over Taiwan. The greatest potential threat to the alliance may be differing views about the security challenges emanating from a rising China.

Australia is America’s oldest friend and ally in the Asia-Pacific region. The two countries fought alongside each other in World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the 1991 Gulf War, and most recently in Afghanistan and Iraq. The closeness of the two nations today is without precedent in the history of the relationship. Australia is now America’s second closest ally in the world, after the United Kingdom.

The United States has been a crucial factor in Australian defense policy for over 60 years. Washington provides a robust security guarantee for Australia, including extended nuclear deterrence. Australia’s self-reliant defense posture within its own region is immeasurably strengthened by highly privileged access to U.S. intelligence, defense science, weapons, and military logistics support. The alliance with America adds greatly to Australia’s status in world affairs, especially in Asia. But for the first time since the Vietnam War, there is a debate in Australia about what the United States expects from the alliance and about the nature of U.S. power in the contemporary era and what it means for Australia.

This paper offers an Australian view of the alliance with the United States. How robust is it? Are there emerging difficulties and obstacles that are likely to limit future alliance cooperation? How important are domestic political differences in Australia toward the alliance? Will generational change affect the historical rock-solid support for the U.S. relationship? And how can this historical alliance be adapted to meet new regional and global security challenges in the 21st century?

Shared Values, Different Histories

Alliances are not merely the product of rational calculations of national interest.1 They involve shared values, belief systems, and a history of cooperation. Australia and America have long-shared common democratic values and beliefs. The two nations are among the oldest continuous democracies in the world. For a long time, the United States and Australia (along with New Zealand) were the only democratic countries in the entire Asia-Pacific region. Alliances also demand strong domestic political support: public support for the alliance in Australia has been remarkably resilient, even though there has been enormous strategic change over the half-century of its existence. Together, the United States and Australia fought against fascism and communism in the 20th century. Australians and Americans share the use of the English language and inhabit continent-sized New World countries that are ill at ease with many of the traditions and attitudes of old Europe.

There are, however, important differences that arise from history and geography. America’s historical experience occurred within the context of the country’s religious heritage and experience of classical liberal ideology, reflected in both the U.S. Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Religion and classical liberalism, together with the optimistic experience of national development, form the ultimately defining aspects of the American political culture—belief in America’s exceptionalism and manifest destiny. Without a clear appreciation of these concepts, both foreign to the Australian experience, it is impossible for Australians to make sense of America and its behavior in the world.2

Australia experienced neither a war of independence nor a civil war. Nationbuilding in a harsh country imposed a strict sense of limits. To this day, a sense of vulnerability of a sparsely populated, resource-rich continent prevails in the popular Australian consciousness and informs Australian defense policy. The legacy of convicts, drought, and the arid interior created a mindset that was skeptical, cynical, hard-bitten, self-deprecatory, and suspicious of authority. Religion does not play a significant role in Australian politics. And Australia’s sense of nationalism is not as fervent as that of America.

Sheer differences in size should also not be underestimated. America is approaching 300 million people, whereas Australia has only 20 million in a country of about the same area. The United States spends more than $400 billion (USD) on defense, Australia less than $13 billion (USD). America is the world’s only superpower, and its neighbors are not unstable or threatening. Australia’s immediate neighborhood is potentially unstable, and the broader East Asia region carries the risk of major power war, unlike Europe.

Nature of the Alliance

Smaller powers, such as Australia, have always relied on external aid for the accomplishment of the basic goal of all states: survival. Neutrality and nonalignment have appealed to some other smaller powers. But these alternatives have never appealed to Australians. The policy of a protective alliance “has always been the most obvious weapon for the small power, and the one most employed.”3 But borrowing someone else’s strength can have disadvantages as well as advantages.

For instance, Australia—as the junior partner—is not accustomed to being a frank ally. Although there are extensive bilateral mechanisms for consultation and deliberation on a wide range of policy issues, Australia does not have the record of speaking up in the way that the United Kingdom does. It has been suggested that Australia should speak up and the United States should listen more.4

As Prime Minister Tony Blair has said, the price of British influence is not, as some would have it, that the United Kingdom obediently has to do whatever the United States asks. The Australian Foreign Policy White Paper of 2003 echoes this theme when it states: “Even when U.S. actions do not suit our interests, our strong ties mean that we are better placed to put our views to Washington and that the United States will listen to them.”5 In other words, some argue that the alliance should offer Australia ways to dampen current U.S. tendencies toward unilateralism.

One of Australia’s leading experts on America, Owen Harries, has argued that the great sympathy felt for America immediately after September 11 quickly evaporated and was replaced by suspicion and hostility. He states that after the outrage of September 11, he does not believe the United States could have reacted in any way other than it did. But doing so carried a cost. It forced America decisively along a course of action that:

by emphasizing her military dominance, by requiring her to use her vast power conspicuously, by making restraint and moderation virtually impossible, and by making unilateralism an increasing feature of American behavior . . . [this was] bound to generate widespread and increased criticism and hostility towards her.6

Harries fears this may turn out to be the real tragedy of September 11.

Of course, the second Bush administration has drawn back from unilateralist tendencies, as the recent development of its relations in the Asia-Pacific region—and not least with Japan and Australia—clearly demonstrates. The nature of Australia’s alliance with America is that it is resilient enough to survive perturbations that exist from time to time (as in the Vietnam War), as long as Australian politicians do not wage a public campaign of virulence against the United States—and as long as Washington does not take Canberra too much for granted.

Australian anti-terror snipers.
Australian anti-terror snipers.
Alliance Obstacles

So are there any serious obstacles to good alliance relations between Australia and the United States? That will depend on the nature and scale of U.S. expectations of Australia. Three points are relevant. First, the Australian government has already demonstrated firm resolve in the war on terror. Only a matter of days after September 11, Prime Minister John Howard invoked the Australia–New Zealand–United States (ANZUS) treaty for the first time in its history to come to the assistance of America. 7 Since then, Australia not only has provided combat troops in Afghanistan and Iraq but also has spent large sums of money on domestic counterterrorism capabilities and developed close antiterrorist cooperation agreements with countries in the region, especially in Southeast Asia. Serious obstacles would arise only if America made politically difficult demands on Australia to combat terrorism—for example, under some circumstances in Indonesia.

Second, the United States and others need to recognize that the Australian Defence Force is quite small. The total size of the regular force is scarcely 52,000, plus some 20,000 reserves. The army, which is being used most intensively in places such as Iraq and Afghanistan, fields only five battalions as well as a special forces/commando regiment. The realistic military contributions that Australia can make to alliance operations are what the Defence Minister terms niche contributions. These include capabilities that are in short supply in the U.S. military inventory, such as air refuelling tankers, special forces, certain types of electronic surveillance and intelligence, conventional submarines, and, in the future, highly capable early warning aircraft.

Australia’s leading journalist, Paul Kelly, has described Australia’s contributions to alliance operations as “calculated and ruthlessly cynical.” So, for example, in the Iraq war, Australia sent 2,200 troops, including special forces and commandos, fighter and electronic surveillance aircraft, surface warships, and clearance divers. But they were withdrawn as soon as the combat phase ended. The prime minister then announced that 1,500 troops had to be sent to the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific, which had become a failed state. Failed states can breed terrorism and international crime. Australia’s strategic geography own imperatives, including scenarios U.S. assistance is not expected.

Australia’s military contributions alliance operations, of course, do carry political weight than their modest would suggest. For example, only Kingdom and Australia supplied significant combat forces to the war in Iraq.8 important neither that Australia’s are taken for granted by the United that military support is requested unacceptable risks on what is by any small defense force.

Australia has a long history of contributing to distant wars—and suffering wartime losses—but it has not recorded deaths in combat since Vietnam. It be seen what impact significant casualties would have on the Australian electorate contemporary era.

The third issue is how Australians react to U.S. involvement in a major Asia. Memories of the Vietnam War how would Australia respond to another Korea? In the event of North Korean Australia, as a signatory to the United Armistice Commission, would likely in combat operations with the United But they could not include large ground commitments.

In the case of a Taiwan-China conflict, Australia would be faced with a different sort of dilemma altogether. China is becoming a big influence in the Australian economy, having recently displaced the United States as the biggest source of imports and as Australia’s second largest export market. The Chinese ambassador in Canberra talks about a “strategic economic relationship.” Australia’s foreign minister has questioned whether the ANZUS treaty would automatically apply in the event of a U.S. war with China over Taiwan. While there is nothing “automatic” about the treaty, Washington would be correct in invoking it in the event of an unprovoked Chinese attack. Australia would probably be the only U.S. ally in the Asia-Pacific region that Washington could turn to for help with confidence.9 If Canberra said no, that would seriously—perhaps irreparably— damage the alliance.

The Howard government is clearly troubled by the prospect of a conflict with China. Its preferred policy option is to hope that it will never be faced with this call on the alliance with the United States. Managing the key security relationship with its U.S. ally and with an emerging China will be the greatest test of diplomacy for Australia in coming years.

Domestic Political Differences

There has traditionally been strong domestic political support in Australia for the alliance with the United States. A recent survey shows that 72 percent of Australians say that the ANZUS alliance is either very important or fairly important for Australia’s security, and only 7 percent rate it as not at all important.10 The same poll, about which there has been some controversy, found that 68 percent of Australians believe that the country takes “too much notice of the views of the United States in our foreign policies,” with 32 percent saying that they were very worried about U.S. foreign policies and 25 percent being fairly worried. Even so, 58 percent of Australians have positive feelings about the United States, with 39 percent being negative.

What is unclear about this poll is whether these results reflect some disenchantment with the particular U.S. administration at the moment, or whether as memories of World War II fade, the constituency for the alliance needs to be rebuilt. Much more fundamental research needs to be done on this subject before drawing firm conclusions; for instance, there is no evidence that the younger generation of Australians is any less supportive of the alliance.

There has been a problem, however, with the Opposition Labor Party recently. In last year’s general election, the leader of the Opposition proclaimed that he would withdraw Australia’s troops from Iraq before Christmas (before being made leader, he had made insulting remarks about President George W. Bush). The Labor Party was decisively defeated in the 2004 election, and the current leader of the Opposition is noted for his commitment to the alliance and his high-level connections in Washington.

There continues to be strong bipartisan support for the presence of important U.S. intelligence facilities (not bases but joint facilities) in Australia, joint military exercises, and host support for visiting U.S. military forces—including (unlike in New Zealand) nuclear-capable and nuclear-powered warships. There is also strong support for close cooperation with the United States in countering the threat from terrorism. There is, however, no bipartisan agreement on the issue of missile defense and Australia’s potential role in it, which, at present, is limited to scientific research and testing that was begun under the previous Labor Government. And neither political party would countenance the establishment of a dedicated American military base in Australia, for which there would be little popular support.

Other issues that have bipartisan political support include the roles and missions of Australia’s armed forces, which have a major role to play in terms of alliance burdensharing, as well as protecting the country’s national interests, in Southeast Asia and the South Pacific. With regard to military interoperability, it is also agreed politically that the Australian Defence Force’s priorities are (in order of importance) improving interoperability among its own single services, interoperability with U.S. forces, and interoperability with regional forces.

Australia is increasingly reliant upon purchasing high-technology weapons systems from the United States. Australia’s air force is almost entirely equipped with U.S. aircraft, and Australia will probably acquire up to 100 Joint Strike Fighters (as well as unmanned aerial vehicles, such as Global Hawk or Predator). The Australian navy has chosen the Aegis combat system for the next generation of air warfare destroyers and depends on America for assistance with developing the next generation combat system for the Collins submarines. The Australian army has ordered Abrams tanks, but its new armed reconnaissance helicopters are from Europe. The Australian Defence Force is also increasingly reliant on the United States for the purchase of precision missiles. But it may be that Australia finds more relevant and affordable developments in network-centric warfare from Great Britain and Sweden than from the United States. Some areas of European military capabilities are more cost effective for Australia’s unique operating environment.

Australia's new navy.
Australia's new navy.
Meeting Challenges Together

It is obviously in the interests of both Australia and America to encourage the spread of prosperity and democracy in the Asia-Pacific region. Twenty or more years ago, democracy in this part of the world was basically confined to Japan, Australia, and New Zealand. Now, democracy is the predominant form of governance in the region, having spread to South Korea and Taiwan, to most Southeast Asian countries (but not to Indochina or Burma), and to most South Pacific countries. India, the world’s largest democracy, has removed itself from its client-state relationship with the former Soviet Union and is forging a new relationship with America. But, unlike Europe, the Asia-Pacific region still has communist states: North Korea, China, and Vietnam. The region is also flanked to the north and west by authoritarian and potentially unstable countries, such as Russia, Pakistan, and Uzbekistan.

In Australia’s case, the most serious outcome would be if the democratic movement in Indonesia failed and was replaced with a nationalist Islamic state. Australia must necessarily direct a great deal of its future diplomatic, security, and economic effort to helping Indonesia. That is why the Howard government so generously offered $1 billion in tsunami aid relief last year. It sometimes seems in Canberra that the U.S. Congress does not understand how important Indonesia is, as the world’s fourth-largest country and the largest Muslim state, to the stability of Southeast Asia. The next extreme Islamic threat to the United States might just emerge from Southeast Asia, and yet the U.S. Congress continues to punish Indonesia over human rights violations in East Timor and elsewhere and refuses to restore full military relations until certain conditions are met.11 This is strange considering that America accords major non–North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) ally status to such an authoritarian country as Pakistan.

Given its preoccupation with the Middle East, the United States will look to Australia to take the lead in emerging regional security challenges in Southeast Asia and the South Pacific. This is already occurring in the field of counterterrorism, including intelligence, military, and police force training. Australia has particularly strong relations in this regard with Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and the Philippines, as well as East Timor, Papua New Guinea, and islands of the South Pacific. In the South Pacific, it is important for America to understand that Australia will work closely with New Zealand.

In Northeast Asia, Australia’s closest relationship, as is the case with the United States, is with Japan. Prime Minister Howard says that Japan is Australia’s best friend in Asia and has described Japan as a strategic partner. Australia has had strategic discussions with Tokyo since 1990.12 This relationship includes not only military-to-military and political/military discussions, but also has been expanded to include an annual meeting at the level of foreign ministers between the United States, Japan, and Australia. Japan sent an engineering battalion to East Timor, and Australian troops currently guard Japanese engineers in Iraq. Australia welcomes the decision by Japan to expand the role of its Self-Defense Forces in this way and to take a more active role in regional and global security affairs.

It must be a matter of serious concern that China and South Korea are currently taking such a belligerent attitude toward Japan. This can only help to raise tensions in Northeast Asia and undermine regional security. As important as Australia’s relations are with China and South Korea, the nature of its relationship with Japan is at a different level strategically. Both America and Australia share this view of relative strategic priorities in Northeast Asia.

The current disagreements between China and South Korea on the one hand and Japan on the other contradict the theory that growing prosperity in Asia will lead to the lessening of tensions.13 History is full of prognosticators who have predicted the obsolescence of war because of rising prosperity and increasing economic interdependence.14 It is not credible to assert that there “will be an Asian counterpart to NATO by 2020” and that the “embryonic form of this grand Pacific Rim alliance will be a China-centric free-trade area that appears over the next decade, one that includes India, Australia, and ultimately all of [the North American Free Trade Agreement].”15 Just because China and South Korea are integrating into what Thomas Barnett calls globalization’s functioning core, it does not follow that peace will endure between them and Japan. Other American musings have included the idea that there should be “increased coordination and cooperation among the United States, Japan, South Korea, and Australia” because Asia “is becoming a more integrated geo-economic and geo-political whole.”16 This laudable idea has been seriously undermined by South Korea’s hostility toward Japan and Seoul’s increasing alignment with Beijing.

The Asia-Pacific region, despite increasing economic prosperity and the spread of democracy, is likely to present major challenges to U.S. security interests in the coming decade. And none is more important than the rise of an undemocratic China. It is important that Washington does not take its eye off the geopolitical ball here. Before the events of September 11, the Pentagon’s Quadrennial Defense Review was focused on the potential military challenge of a rising China. The concern has to be that Washington is now so preoccupied with the war on terror and rogue regimes possessing nuclear weapons that it overlooks the dangers arising from more traditional security concerns. As Ian Buruma points out, economic success has given Asian technocracies an advantage over earlier forms of dictatorship.17 Within China, prosperity without politics has a wide appeal, much wider than the superficially egalitarian poverty of Soviet-style scientific socialism. America’s democratic allies, who care about freedom and openness, should not succumb to the temptation of believing that we are better off with a China without politics, or organized dissent, or such troublesome things as independent trade unions, opposition parties, or a free press.18

Some Conclusions

Australia will remain a committed American ally for the foreseeable future. There will be no inclination toward a New Zealand (or Canadian) defense posture; Australia’s defense force will not be structured primarily for peacekeeping or peace enforcement, as distinct from conventional military capabilities. There is no evidence that the Australian polity is moving away from firm support for the ANZUS alliance. And should the Labor Opposition come to power in 2007, under the leadership of Kim Beazley, there will be no wavering on central alliance issues. But it must be understood that a U.S. war with China over Taiwan would face any Australian government, of whatever political persuasion, with choices that it would rather not face.

Australia and the United States have close commonality of views when it comes to fighting the war on terror and dealing with the spread of weapons of mass destruction. Our common support for the success of democracy, in such places as Indonesia and Iraq, and for preventing the emergence of failed states, in such places as the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea, establishes the basis for a strong alliance partnership for the 21st century.

There are two areas where drift could set in, however. The first is that the alliance is now heavily underpinned by the close relationship between Prime Minister Howard and President Bush, both of whom will eventually depart the political scene. Maintaining support for the alliance is contingent upon Washington’s success in convincing the Australian public of both the necessity and legitimacy of its policies. 19 The promotion of conservative Christian values, as an inherent part of an American national identity, is a cultural current few Australians relate to. This seems little understood in America. Another point is that Australia should not be seen, or described, in the region as “a deputy sheriff” of the United States. That is damaging. A more apposite label—if one must be used—is that of Kurt Campbell: “Australia has become our Britain in Asia.”20

The second area of potential difficulty in the alliance is over China. Prime Minister Howard states that Asia is poised in coming decades to assume a weight in the world economy it last held more than five centuries ago.21 Central to this is the growing economic mass of China, which is set to outstrip Japan—and perhaps, eventually, America—in economic size. As a regional power, Canberra needs influence in Washington and Beijing. Howard proclaims: “Australia does not believe that there is anything inevitable about escalating strategic competition between China and the U.S.”22 True, but it looms as an ever-present risk so long as there is serious tension over Taiwan.

Even absent the Taiwan problem, history tells us much about the likelihood of tension and conflict between a rising major power and an established power. I have argued that we must not allow our realist stance toward the inevitable emergence of China to undermine our upholding of democratic values and freedom. The strongly positive views of China that currently are held in Australia may shift in the future if Beijing’s growing economic and military influence is felt less benignly across the region.23 But at present the greatest potential threat to the alliance may be the absence of a common approach to Beijing. Dan Blumenthal rightly argues that Canberra must realize that its role is not to mediate between Beijing and Washington, but rather to help ensure that China’s rise is indeed peaceful and that the United States maintains its preeminence in Asia.24

A deeper appreciation is required in Washington that Australia has a significant role to play in securing American interests, as well as its own, in the Asia-Pacific region. Australia has become a more assertive power in supporting alliance interests in Japan. And Canberra now has greater geopolitical clout in Southeast Asia and the South Pacific, both of which are important areas with regard to the fight against terror and failed states. U.S. policy in both regions has been essentially one-dimensional, emphasizing the counterterrorism agenda almost to the exclusion of anything else.25 This preoccupation has promoted an impression that America does not really care about other important regional interests and is giving China an opportunity, especially in Southeast Asia, to gain influence at America’s expense.

In the final analysis, the most critical issue for the security of the entire Asia-Pacific region is the nature of the relationships among the major powers: China, Japan, India, Russia, and the United States.26 Australia relies on a balance of power in Asia in which America continues to play the predominant role. Asia without America would be a dangerous place for Australia.


1 Stephen M. Walt, “Why Alliances Endure or Collapse,” Survival 39, no. 1 (Spring 1997), 156–179.

2 Paul Dibb et al., “Understanding Goliath: on the sources of American conduct,” The Australian Financial Review, July 16, 2004.

3 Robert L. Rothstein, Alliances and Small Powers (New York: Columbia University Press, 1968), 45.

4 John Baker and Douglas H. Paal, “The US-Australia Alliance,” in America’s Asian Alliances, ed. Robert D. Blackwill and Paul Dibb (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2000), 108. General John Baker is a former chief of the Australian Defence Force.

5 Advancing the National Interest: Australia’s Foreign and Trade Policy White Paper (Canberra: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, 2003), xvi.

6 Owen Harries, Understanding America (Sydney: The Centre for Independent Studies, 2002), 30. Harries was the editor of The National Interest in Washington, DC, in the 1980s and 1990s.

7 The Security Treaty between Australia, New Zealand and the United States of America (ANZUS) was signed in 1951 and entered into force in 1952. Following the reestablishment of peace between Japan and the United States in 1951, Australia and New Zealand sought a treaty commitment from the United States that an armed attack on any of the three countries would be considered an attack upon all. The treaty obligates parties to respond to such an attack in accordance with their constitutional processes. When New Zealand refused in 1985 to allow U.S. nuclear-powered or nuclear-armed ships to enter its ports, the United States abrogated its ANZUS responsibilities toward New Zealand in 1986; however, New Zealand has not formally withdrawn from the alliance. The full text of the treaty can be found at .

8 But the United Kingdom, with 3 times Australia’s population, provided 20 times as many troops to the war in Iraq.

9 It is highly unlikely that Japan, South Korea, or any country of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations would provide combat forces to a war with China over Taiwan (neither would any European country, including perhaps even Great Britain).

10 The Lowy Institute Poll 2005 (Sydney: Lowy Institute for International Policy, March 28, 2005). A more recent poll by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, in June 2005, shows that 84 percent of Australians think that the alliance with the United States is important.

11 The U.S. Congress has restricted security assistance for Indonesia to varying degrees for over a decade. In the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2005, Congress maintained restrictions on the Foreign Military Financing Program and export licenses for lethal defense articles for the Indonesian Armed Forces (Tentara Nasional Indonesia, or TNI). Four conditions must be met before the restrictions (commonly referred to as the Leahy restrictions) can be lifted, including accountability for violations of human rights in East Timor and Indonesia, transparency in the TNI budget, enhanced cooperation in the war on terror in accordance with democratic principles and the rule of law, and financial reforms to deter corruption. Since early 2005, the Bush administration has moved to normalize U.S.-Indonesia military relations including participating in the International Military Education and Training program and lifting restrictions on foreign military sales and eligibility for excess defense articles for nonlethal items and services. See .

12 As Deputy Secretary of Defence in Australia, the author inaugurated these discussions in March 1990. He was accompanied by the vice chief of the Australian Defence Force.

13 See Thomas P.M. Barnett, The Pentagon’s New Map (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2004).

14 See Norman Angell, The Great Illusion (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1910).

15 Barnett, 382.

16 Robert D. Blackwill, “An Action Agenda to Strengthen America’s Alliances in the Asia-Pacific Region,” in America’s Asian Alliances, 114.

17 Ian Buruma, “The Indiscreet Charm of Tyranny,” The New York Review of Books, May 12, 2005, 37.

18 Ibid.

19 Dan Blumenthal, “Alliance takes diverse China roles,” The Australian, May 2, 2005. Blumenthal is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research.

20 The Sydney Morning Herald, April 1, 2005.

21 Prime Minister John Howard, “Australia in the World,” speech to the Lowy Institute for International Policy, Sydney, Australia, March 31, 2005.

22 Ibid.

23 According to the Lowy Institute Poll 2005, 69 percent of Australians have positive feelings about China compared with 58 percent for the United States. Only 34 percent of respondents think the Free Trade Agreement with the United States will be good for Australia, compared with 51 percent who believe that the idea of a free trade agreement with China will be good for Australia. Even so, 35 percent of Australians are very worried or fairly worried about China’s growing power.

24 The Australian, May 2, 2005.

25 See Robert M. Hathaway, “George Bush’s Unfinished Asian Agenda,” Foreign Policy Research Institute, May 13, 2005; available at .

26 Defence 2000: Our Future Defence Force (Canberra: Defence Publishing Service, 2000), 17. This is the Howard government’s defense white paper.

Paul Dibb is professor emeritus at The Australian National University and a former Deputy Secretary of Defence and Director of the Defence Intelligence Organisation in Australia. This paper is based on a presentation he gave in Honolulu, Hawaii, at the June 2005 INSS symposium, Asia-Pacific Democracies: Advancing Security and Prosperity, cosponsored by U.S. Pacific Command and the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies. Questions and comments may be addressed to the Institute at ndu-inss-research@ndu.edu.

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