Discussion paper

In the face of historic changes, Australia needs a larger conception of strategy, a richer discourse, and a more searching questioning of the assumptions that underpin the Australian strategic imagination.

This paper, by Professor Brendan Sargeant, explores the new idea of ‘strategic imagination’, a way of understanding how a country thinks about its place in the world. Reviewing the major elements of Australian strategic imagination, such as Geography, Time, Technology and Partnerships, Nostalgia and Borders reveals discordant notes, many elements which have served us well in the past but may not be fit for the reality we now emerge into.

Professor Sargeant argues that the question of how we are to live in the Indo-Pacific in the 21st-century is not first a question of policy or strategy. It is a challenge to strategic imagination. He argues that not only do we need to imagine ourselves into what we might be, but also what the world might be. This poses the question, is our vision of our future large enough to accommodate and respond to the scale of change that we are seeing?

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Centre of Gravity series paper #58