It is hard to imagine a more urgent time for the Australia-United States alliance to provide strong and collaborative regional leadership — and to bolster the resilience of the Indo-Pacific across all of its dimensions: from health security and economic development to the balance of military power and strategic resilience. It is equally hard to imagine a more difficult environment for our alliance to concentrate its energies on regional policy. With the United States enduring a pandemic-fuelled health crisis, nationwide social unrest, escalating national debt and a general election in November, and with Australia still tentatively emerging from the first wave of the pandemic, both countries have pressing and politically-charged distractions at home. Nonetheless, our shared national interests in fostering a healthy, stable and resilient Indo-Pacific region cannot be postponed and must be wholeheartedly embraced at AUSMIN 2020.
The United States Studies Centre has assembled a list of ten policy recommendations for the upcoming AUSMIN meeting. Drawing on the expertise of our researchers, including from their published and ongoing research projects, these recommendations combine analytical judgements with new policy thinking in an effort to stimulate bilateral discussion around a mix of achievable and moon-shot initiatives. This collection does not purport to be a comprehensive agenda, but aims to provide a useful contribution to the policy planning process around bolstering the resilience of our Indo-Pacific region at this critical juncture.