Is an alliance conceived as a bulwark against a resurgence of Japanese militarism and which cut its military and intelligence teeth in the Cold War is still relevant to today’s strategic concerns?
The alliance between Australia and the US, underpinned by the formal ANZUS Treaty of 1951, continues to be a central part of Australian defence and security thinking and an instrument of American policy in the Asia–Pacific.
How is it that an alliance conceived as a bulwark against a resurgence of Japanese militarism and which cut its military and intelligence teeth in the Cold War is still relevant to today’s strategic concerns? The answer is partly—and importantly—that the core values of the ANZUS members are strongly aligned, and successive Australian governments and American presidential administrations have seen great value in working with like-minded partners to ensure Asia–Pacific security. Far from becoming a historical curiosity, today it’s not just relevant, but of greater importance than has been the case in the past few decades.
To explore new ideas on how to strengthen the US–Australia alliance, ASPI conducted a high-level strategic dialogue in Honolulu in July this year. Discussions canvassed the future strategic environment; the forthcoming Australian Defence White Paper; budget, sovereignty and expectation risks; and cooperation in the maritime, land, air, cyber, space and intelligence domains.
A key purpose of the Honolulu dialogue was to help ASPI develop policy recommendations on the alliance relationship for government. This report is the product of those discussions.