The ANZUS Alliance in an Ascending Asia

Editor’s Foreword

Welcome to a special edition of the Centre of Gravity series. This is a jointly published report with the Centre for Strategic & International Studies.

In 1942 it was said that Australia turned its back on tradition and kinship when it looked to the US. Yet in the early 21st century these words now embody the relationship between Canberra and Washington. The first line written in any Australian strategic policy is the link with the United States. And the US is often able to pencil in Australia’s name at the top of any roll call of support when it looks to act around the world.

The map helps to explain some of this closeness. An ascending Asia compels both to look to the same waterways and common ground. Their ships sail to the same ports, their diplomats flock to the same airports. Yet for all that geography can tell us, it is the common values, ideas and culture that is the real foundation, and the true test of the alliance’s health.

This Centre of Gravity paper brings together four leading experts on the ANZUS alliance and security in the Asia-Pacific. It outlines the view from Washington and the view from Canberra. It details the growth of the relationship, and new opportunities for cooperation. It also highlights the risk of ‘expectation gaps’ that suggest the lack of a common worldview for how to maintain balance during Asia’s ascent.

The authors of The ANZUS alliance in an Ascending Asia are Michael J. Green, senior vice president for Asia and Japan Chair at CSIS, Peter Dean, Senior Fellow in the Strategic & Defence Studies Centre, ANU, Brendan Taylor, Head of the Strategic & Defence Studies Centre, ANU and Zack Cooper, fellow with the Japan Chair at CSIS. Their full biographies can be found inside.

The report offers a number of clear policy recommendations that reflect the different viewpoints of the authors as well as the varying concerns of their countries. That some of their suggestions might be challenging or push each country in ways they may not prefer speaks to the serious questions that have been raised by the authors as they attempt to ensure the ANZUS alliance continues to be foundational strategic policy for both the United States and Australia.

Following in the tradition of Coral Bell, a former fellow at the Strategic & Defence Studies Centre ANU, the authors have set to revive long form analysis of Australia’s alliance relationship with the United States in a way that is both scholarly and designed to be read and engaged with by a policy audience.

The Centre of Gravity series is proud to produce this special edition. While somewhat longer than
our normal format, it directly fits the series main purpose of providing policy relevant scholarship from world-class scholars and thinkers on the main strategic questions facing Australia and the Asia-Pacific. 

Centre of Gravity series paper #23

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