Australia, long condemned to the ´tyranny of distance´, now faces the ´peril of proximity´. This is because of increasing uncertainty about the stability of Asian security. As a democratic free-trading middle power, Australia’s main concern is the preservation of the globalised international order. Australian policy makers, however, are unsure of the right course in Asia, whether to focus on developing multilateral institutions or to bolster links with like-minded countries such as India, Japan and the United States. As a result, Canberra is likely to be reactive and supportive of others’ initiatives in Asia, rather than revitalise its past role as a ‘norm entrepreneur’.