Journal article

Business as usual? The 2013 Defence White Paper and the US alliance

International relations Business Defence Australia North America


The 2013 White Paper reaffirms the centrality of the US Alliance for Australia. It identifies a number of concrete areas for future cooperation and provides the foundation for developing greater strategic ties with China while remaining firmly anchored in the US camp. It is less clear, however, when it comes to Australia’s future contribution to burden-sharing within the Alliance. Putting actions behind the goal to play a greater role in Southeast Asia will be an important litmus test for the alliance relationship. In many ways, the White Paper reflects a phase of re-orientation in the Alliance: away from operations further afield towards the increasing security dynamics in Australia’s own region. As the future of China’s trajectory—and US-Sino strategic relations—is still very much uncertain, the ‘hedging’ approach taken White Paper’s approach makes sense. What happens if US-Sino strategic relations become more competitive is left to another day.

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