Journal article

Playing second fiddle on the road to INTERFET: Australia’s East Timor policy throughout 1999

28 Apr 2013

Though other accounts have critiqued Australia’s efforts to secure a peacekeeping force in East Timor—or have alleged that Australia attempted to prevent this outcome—this article explains why Australia was forced into a reactive policymaking posture, where the need to prioritise the most critical objectives limited possible response options. While Australia could have done more to secure a pre-ballot peacekeeping force, this would have entailed serious risks with low prospects of success. This article shows that Australia’s need to prioritise its relationship with Indonesia constrained its ability to pursue other strategic goals—a reality that is unlikely to change.

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